Van-life in Patagonia

We left Torres del Paine drove through Puerto Natales, where we stopped to fill up gasoline. From there we continued to Punta Arenas.

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Still we try to wild camp (free camping) has much as possible! When traveling in a van it is the easiest way to save money. In November we spend 25 USD on camping, in December 99 USD, in January 35 USD, in February 15 USD and in Marts 0 USD.

There are amazing places to camp!
This is at the free campground Chabunco 15 km north of Punta Arenas (left picture) and by a river 10 km to the west of the town, Comandante Luis Piedrabuena (right picture)

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There are less amazing places!
Camping at a Shell gas station in Punta Arenas

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There is no doubt, that we favor and love to wild camp out in nowhere. Away from the traffic and out in the nature is just the best!

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This day we stopped to see some flamingoes (left picture) at a lake we just happened to drive by

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Other times we love, when we can meet up with other travelers. Here having a BBQ with our friends Ryan and Camille and Alberto (our friend from Santiago de Chile, who we met when during our stay at Travel Camper) and his wife.

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We primarily cook our own food – which is so much easier in the van than it was on the motorcycles (90% canned food), but it is also a lot more fun, because we have the opportunity to be inspired by the local produce. Well here in Patagonia it is a lot like in Denmark. In the supermarket I found canned “leverpostej” (In English “lever pâté”). Oh, I also found fried crispy onions (In Danish “ristede løg”). For lunch, served on one of my home baked pan-bread, it almost tasted like home.

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Breakfast is usually oats with cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, milk and fresh fruit OR we make fried/scrambled eggs for a breakfast sandwich/burrito

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Dinner… well we love to BBQ, but here in Patagonia there is not that many places to BBQ. First the wind can make it impossible, or second it rains down here. So buying a cheap cut of meat or chicken add vegetables, spices and tomato sauce, you get a great stew. Usually the big pot makes 2-3 main meals. Sometime we also add beans to the dish. Ideas for healthy sides: whole grain rice, thinly sliced cabbage (try marinating it in lemon juice and a little bit of salt and pepper), lentils, whole grain pasta, whole wheat bread or just a fresh green salad. So even though we eat the same stew for 3 meals we vary the side dishes, so it is like eating three different meals.

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Chicken curry with coconut milk

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These sign is no joke here in Patagonia!

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We are in “Guanaco-land”

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So why not eat guanaco? In Cerro Sombrero in Chile we stopped at the local slaughterhouse, and bought guanaco meat. The price was only 3000 pesos per kilo (30 DDK or 5 USD)! The meat taste like something in between beef and venison. The meat is very lean and firm, so it was not the most tender meat, but we liked the flavor.

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For lunch we eat homemade sandwiches or leftovers for our dinner. I actually hate to call it leftovers, because we usually cook for 2-3 meals… so it is more like eating planned leftovers. Also making all kinds of different burgers is one of our favorites. It is just very simple and easy. This is how we do it: (1) keep it simple, (2) by local produce and just a little at a time, (3) buy the cheaper cuts of meat, (4) cook for 2-3 meals when making stew, (5) use the cheaper cuts of meat instead of cold cuts, because it is cheaper and (6) cooking your own food is cheaper than eating out, and more healthy.

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Usually we are not close to any movie theater, so relaxing to a movie in Lance, while enjoying a pot of freshly made popcorn is a treat. The other evening we enjoyed cheap red vine with cheap cheese and chocolate while working on editing pictures and writing on our blog.

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This is still one of our favorite desserts “the chocolate balls”, here Esben is working on crushing the “knot offs” oreo’s

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Also taking care of Lance is important. We don’t really wash him, but we keep him clean inside. This time he got new break pads and disks (in the front), and the rear breaks were looking good.

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One day this happened… I rolled down the window, and I couldn’t roll it back up! We took the door apart, and the glass had slid on the inside of the rubber sleeve, that usually keeps the glass in place. We had never fixed something like that before, but since the temperature is about 5 Celsius, we didn’t wanted to drive with the window down. After loosening a few screws we could angle the window back into the rubber sleeve. We never found out how it happened, and it hadn’t happened since (“thank God”), but now we know how the window work.

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One more thing the rubber sealing at the rear hatch was not thick enough, so dust or rain would leak into Lance at the bottom. To find a rubber sealing that fit, we went to Esbens favorite store – the rubber store, also called “Gomeria” here in Chile. All the stores here are specialized, so it is impossible to go to one place and get everything. It is the same when we have to go to a mechanic to get some work done on Lance. When Lance had trouble starting “Lance had trouble getting us to Argentina”, we had to go to the electric mechanic. It was the same when getting new breaks, we when to the break mechanic. In the right picture you see our friend Ryan at the break mechanic.

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It is always a challenge to find the right place to go, but when you finally find it, they can help you 99% of the time. Lance are ready for a lot more kilometers on the open road here in Patagonia.

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