Trip to the South of Finland

Sunset at Sarkavesi lake

Taking the opportunity of Finland hosting the 163rd ESO Council meeting and celebrating ESO’s 60th anniversary we visited the Finnish capital Helsinki during a week in early June 2023 and then undertook a 10-day and 2260 km roundtrip through the Southern part of Finland. We visited the medieval town of Porvoo on the southern coast, hiked in the Repovesi National Park, explored the Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna in the far East, continued through extensive lake and forest areas to Kuopio in the North-East, returned to Jyväskylä in Central Finland, and continued via Tampere to Rauma on the west coast. After an overnight stay at the Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse in the Bothnian Sea, surrounded by nesting seabirds, we continued along the southwest coast and visited the vibrant city of Turku including a small circle trail by car and ferry through the nearby Archipelago.

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Trip to the Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni

In more than 20 years in Chile we had never managed to visit the nearby largest salt flat in the world, the Salar de Uyuni in South-west Bolivia. In January this year we eventually joined a one-week tour with our trusted Photo Trackers. Our round trip started and ended in San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and allowed us to spend a total of three days in the Salar. From our base at the northern end of the Salar, the Hotel Tayka de Sal in Tahua, we could explore the Salar off the main tourist tracks including a spectacular “private” sunset from the top of Isla Incahuasi – the only place where you have a 360-degree view of the Salar. Unfortunately, as it had not rained in the Salar for months, there were only few bodies of water to produce the famous endless mirror-like reflections – but our guides still managed to find a beautiful spot for a colourful sunset and sunrise.

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Sailing the Lofoten


We had planned our trip to the Lofoten already for 2020. But due to the pandemic it had to be postponed twice. In 2022 it finally happened. We first drove some 850 km by car from Tromsø via Narvik to Bodø and then sailed 315 nautical miles (or 585 km) with the S/Y Anne-Margaretha from Bodø back to Tromsø through the Lofoten archipelago. It became a beautiful two-week round trip north of the Polar Circle in the late spring and early summer of northern Norway.

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Trip to Chiloé and Puelo


After our failed attempt to visit Chiloé island during the pandemic in 2020 we gave it another try in December 2021. This time we had no problems to reach the island and to move into our El Palafito cabin which is beautifully located at the entrance of the Paildad sound. The terrace of the cabin allows to observe the wildlife along the beach and in the sea. We really enjoyed long beach walks and the continuously changing light. Our excursions brought us to many of the famous Churches of Chiloé, the Chiloé National Park and the Chaiguata sector of the Tantauco Park.

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Road trip to Visviri


We took the opportunity of the flowering desert in October 2021 for a long 5827km road trip to the North of Chile. After visiting our friends in El Molle we enjoyed the colours of the flowers between Huasco, Bahía Inglesa and Copiapó. Not as impressive as during the previous event in 2017 – but still always amazing to the see the Atacama Desert changing like this. We continued heading North with an excursion to the Pan de Azúcar National Park and stop-overs at the Salar de Llamara, the Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve, and the Chinchorro mummies in the San Miguel de Azapa Valley.

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Visit to Conguillío National Park in Winter

Conguillio National Park

Another trip to one of our favourite parks in Chile, the Conguillío National Park – but this time for the first time in winter. We stayed again at the Sendas Lodge Conguillío – this time in the Volcano Llaima cabin. It snowed several times during this week in August 2021 turning the Araucaria forest and the Conguillío lake into the magic winter landscape we had hoped for.

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Trip to Llanquihue

Volcano Osorno

This trip in October 2020 was our first opportunity to escape from Santiago during the COVID-19 pandemic. We originally had planned to stay on the island of Chiloé. But the island was still protected by a sanitary barrier and therefore unreachable for us. Instead we spent the week at the Llanquihue lake. Our Rucamalen cabin was right at the lake near Ensenada with a perfect view of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. We enjoyed our excursions to the Petrohué waterfalls and the Todos los Santos lake.

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Trip to Mendoza


In February 2020 we crossed the Andes by car to meet friends from Germany in Mendoza, Argentina. We stayed in the beautiful Casa Sur downtown Mendoza. Our trip included visits to the Bodega Tapiz vineyard and two excursions: a hike to the Confluencia basecamp of the Aconcagua at an altitude of 3400m and a visit to the Pierre Auger Observatory close to Malargüe. In Mendoza we enjoyed the beautiful old city centre including a lunch at the Azafrán restaurant and some more wine tasting at La Casa de Vinos.

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