A trip along Chile’s National Route 7, the Carretera Austral, takes us into the stunning wilderness of Patagonia – a place that many German emigrants chose as their new home almost a century ago.
The Carretera Austral is straddled by mountain ranges, primeval forests, fjords, volcanoes and a huge ice field. It has taken decades to carve its way through the almost impassable terrain – even now a lot of traffic is forced to take a detour across the border into Argentina. The military dictator Augusto Pinochet made the construction of the road a national priority in the 1970s, sending thousands of soldiers to the region to work under the most adverse conditions. One of the last surviving members of Pinochet’s junta, former military police chief Rodolfo Stange, talks about the road’s strategic importance for the regime.
German marine biologist Vreni Häussermann tells us about a catastrophe in one of the Patagonian fjords – an event that underlines how economic expansion along the route has adversely affected the natural environment in southern Chile. On our journey we meet descendants of German emigrants who found a new home in Patagonia’s remote vastness after the First World War. An insight into the past and present of this unique region.
A morning shot of Fairy Meadows and Nanga Parbat. » Photography by Imrankhakwani
» 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level
» Located on the border between Nepal and the autonomous region of Tibet (OpenStreetMap / Google Maps)
» First summitted by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953
» Also known as Mount Godwin-Austen or Chhogori
» 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level
» Located on the border between China and Pakistan (OpenStreetMap / Google Maps)
» First summitted gy Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni in 1954
» Located on the border between Nepal and India, approximately 125 kilometres from Everest (OpenStreetMap / Google Maps)
» At elevation of 8,586 metres (28,169 ft), it is the second highest mountain in the Himalayas
» First summitted by Joe Brown and George Brand in 1955 Continue reading
One year of travel, nine countries, countless hours on busses, motorbikes, and cars. Hundreds of thousands of images taken. 30TB of data used, 5 months of editing. The time-lapse film features South America like it has never been before with images from Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.
More about this project, including BTS videos, at Morten’s website.
When flights to his native Argentina were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, 47 year-old Juan Manuel Ballestero devised an ambitious plan to be with his parents » to single-handedly sail his small 29 foot Ohlson 29 from Porto Santo, Portugal, 12,000 kilometres across the Atlantic ocean, to Mar del Plata, Argentina.
What do you do when you’re prohibited from international air travel but can’t fathom being away from your aged father? Sail 12,000km across the Atlantic, of course.
Juan Manuel Ballestero lives on the small Portuguese island of Porto Santo. When Argentina cancelled all international flights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he reasoned that the best alternative to reach his 90-year-old father was by sailing. Ballestero‘s voyage from Port Santo to Mar del Plata took 86 days. He arrived on June 17 to a celebrity’s welcome.
So he said he loaded his 29-foot sailboat with canned tuna, fruit and rice and set sail in mid-March.
“I didn’t want to stay like a coward on an island where there were no cases,” Mr. Ballestero said. “I wanted to do everything possible to return home. The most important thing for me was to be with my family.”
Sailing across the Atlantic in a small boat is challenging in the best of circumstances. The added difficulties of doing it during a pandemic became clear three weeks into the trip.
On April 12, the authorities in Cape Verde refused to allow him to dock at the island nation to restock his supply of food and fuel, said Mr. Ballestero.
While he didn’t get to celebrate his father’s 90th birthday in May, he did make it home in time for Father’s Day.
Going back to certain places, they find it disappointing. “Now it is very difficult to enter the countries, many closed borders, many procedures,” protested Emil assuring that before, that did not happen. For her part, Liliana considered that in South America “there are a lot of people, tourists, buildings. There is a lot of garbage… people don’t care about the environment, and that hurts us ”.
However, there is something that does not change for them: people. Despite the many crises, wars and hardships, “the people are still just as friendly and happy as the first time we came.”
My adventure in Patagonia has been an incredible one, primarily for the vast landscapes and diversity of the region’s scenery with glimpses of every season within a period of just 13 days.
Guided by a National Geographic Expeditions Leader my time there was spent hiking, filming and shooting the time-lapses now used to create to this short film which has been graced by a stunning instrumental from musical geniuses. Please allow me four minutes of your time and turn your sound on.