After a long flight cramped in coach, two plane changes (almost missing one of our flights), faking a limp through security checks so my hiking stick wasn’t confiscated and a rather sketch bus ride into the city; We started wandering the streets looking for a hostel to call home for the next few days. This is how we found lodging when we backpacked through Europe in high school and for the most part worked seamlessly. Let me also mention that I am not a planner when it comes to travel itineraries. I like to wander and figure it out as I go, which doesn’t always work out well. Quickly, Heather and I learned that Punta Arenas was more popular than we anticipated and after an hour of wandering down the main streets popping into each hostile only to be told they were booked we began to jokingly suggest that we would just set up our tent in the park in the town center. An hour later and still shelterless, with dusk quickly approaching, we decided to find a coffee shop with wifi so we could find a hostel with a vacancy. After several shots of pure caffeine and a few google searches later, Heather located a room for us at a beach front hostel and booked it.
Feeling accomplished and a bit too proud of our “wing it” skills, we meandered over to the hostel which was a little over two miles away from our Cafe Tost, only to arrive and be told that there was a clerical error and all the rooms were in fact booked. The receptionist, bless her broken english speaking heart, took pity on us and pulled out a laminated sheet of hostels and numbers and called her way down the list for us speaking in exuberant Spanish and only pausing between calls to give us a sympathetic sad puppy eyed face before she called the next number. They were all BOOKED. Heather and I looked at each other and were ready to go find a playground to post up at when the front desk woman offered us the two couches up stairs. Incredulously we looked at her, trying to word a response other than, “why didn’t you suggest that earlier?”
I gratefully accepted and grabbed my pack and headed up the stairs to the loft where two rather plush couches faced a wall of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that opened to a balcony with an unobscured view of the ocean. Holy cow! We got the best room in the place! Heather was already unloading her giant pack, charging her electronics and in general, nesting. Happy as a clam. We ended up crashing on the couch of this hostel for another three days. Hot showers and comfy couches with a view for four nights for about $20 USD total (for both of us). What a gem!
In conclusion, a lack of a plan was a great idea. Procrastination for the win!