There are few places as grim as Puerto Natales out of season (ok, not including Blackpool or Skegness out of season... no, think of it, at any time of the year).
Bitterly cold, a blustery wind coming of the icy waters, and heavy rain that tries to turn to snow but doesn't quite do it. The town is a ghostly place in late April. The majority of visitors to Torres del Paine have passed through here and long gone, further north to sunnier places. Restaurants are empty, tour offices are closing for the winter and the town has the feel of a place that is getting ready for hibernation.
We had arrived from Torres del Paine, one of the few visitors to remain in the town for the night before heading up into Argentina on the morning bus. Our room was poky and we didn't fancy returning there until it was time to sleep, so after an early dinner we braved the wind and rain and wandered through the streets looking for somewhere warm to while away the evening. It was after a few moments that we came across Patagonia Dulce.
Warm, welcoming, nicely busy and with the most heavenly smells hitting us on stepping through the door, that feeling of landing on your feet has rarely been stronger! We decided instantly to make an evening of it, and ordered the works; hot chocolate to start, chocolate cakes, a sample of their home-made chocolates, some chocolate ice-cream, and of course another hot chocolate to finish the evening before we braved the storm again.
What can I say? Yes, we felt full to bursting afterwards. No, I wouldn't have been able to look at another chocolate after we'd got up from the table and waddled out of the door. But as an experience in binge eating for a couple of chocoholics it's hard to beat. And the extra fat comes in handy in protecting from the cold of course!