There’s little doubt that this has been the toughest trip to plan of any I’ve put together so far.  It wasn’t even on the agenda until my son Chris suggested it in January.  I’ve finally completed the schedule planning a month after I last paid the trip any attention.  A thoroughly miserable Yorkshire day weather wise helping me over the line.

So what’s the plan?  Well it’s varied to say the least.  And it starts in Milan.  Or rather with a Flybe hop from Manchester to northern Italy to take advantage of around £1,500 worth of savings on the business class fare from the uk.  Even though it involves getting on the same plane in Madrid that we would have connected to had we booked directly from Manchester?  With it so far?

Manchester to Milan;  Milan to Madrid;  Madrid to Santiago.  That last leg being a thirteen hour business class flight that will be by far the longest I’ve ever done.  Until I do Doha to Sydney in November.

Then the holiday commences with a three day city break in Santiago.  A city which recently saw 4 million people without fresh water after mud slides polluted key waterways.

Next is a genuinely thrilling desert experience.  Back to the airport and onto a plane to the Atacama desert for four nights in the world’s driest place.  Salt flats, early morning geysers and other weird and wonderful things.  I’d love to travel into Argentina and Bolivia too but the car rental agreement strictly prohibits it.

Then it’s back to Santiago for an airport hotel, paid for with IHG reward points, before another business class flight the following morning to Easter Island.  It’s an effort to risk being as far away from the NHS as possible while suffering a serious illness!  The stone men in the picture above an obvious attraction.  One outstanding item is the car hire on the island.  I must get it sorted!

Then back to Santiago airport and another flight south to Puerto Montt.  Pick up a hire car and drive around the lakes, volcanoes and nature reserves of the Chilean Lake District before dropping off the car in Temuco and returning, again, to Santiago for a couple of nights.  It’ll be winter too!

Then it’s back to Madrid, Milan.  And eventually Manchester.


I’ve Been Upgraded to Silver!