We cross the road from the Holiday Inn to the airport. The thicker air of the capital almost edible compared to the freshness and clarity of San Pedro de Atacama and Rapa Nui.

An almost familiar wander through Santiago Airport’s departure hall. I managed to leave my belt and boarding pass in the security tray, rescued by fellow passengers advising me in excited Spanish!

Into the VIP Pacific Club Lounge for breakfast. To discover it was heaving and we didn’t have two seats together. Doughnuts, coffee and some chocolate flavoured cereal went down well and Chris was eventually able to join me from his dark corner in a different room as another family headed for their flight.

With the lounge next to the gate we were able to join the boarding queue late. As we were flying to Puerto Montt it was a bit of a shock to see Punta Arenas as the destination at gate 28. Closer inspection of the monitor showed “via Puerto Montt” as a routing.

A first! We’re flying on a plane that drops people off before moving on to its final destination. It sounds like we’ll have to get off sharpish on landing. The excitement levels are close to getting on a Northern Rail train from Manchester to Leeds with a ticket to Stalybridge.

It seems that in the booking process I splashed out on exit row seats. The extra legroom, while nothing like yesterday’s business class extravaganza from Rapa Nui, is welcome after our last flight on the budget airline Sky involved rather cramped conditions.

The Chilean Lake District awaits. A series of hotels with no breakfast service. A plan to buy coco pops, milk and some cardboard dishes! We already have plastic spoons borrowed from an airport lounge.

The climate further south appears to be similar to a mild UK Lake District winter. The driving demands limited compared to previous motoring trips. Hotels slightly quirky. And scenery like Windermere except with volcanoes and bigger lakes.

This was probably the part of the trip that interested me most when I booked it. After Easter Island and the Atacama Desert I think it’s going to take third place in my affections. Perhaps our limited understanding of Spanish will need more use in the less touristy south …

Chris is successfully insured to drive by Avis.  No charge.  Take it away son!

Flight Seven: Farewell Rapa Nui Hello Holiday Inn