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The Lake District

Chile Style!

rain

We were pleasantly surprised when they gave us food and drink on the bus, we hadn't been expecting that. Although sleeping in a chair cannot compete with a bed the journey wasn't too bad and we weren't completely exhausted when we arrived in Puerto Varas fourteen hours later. Which was a good thing because we had a bit of a walk with our packs to reach Erika's Hostel which was in a residential area on a hill above the town and Lake Llanquihue on which it sits. The town itself has an obvious German influence and feels a lot like a ski resort which is helped by the snow capped mountains and volcanoes which surround the lake.

Erika is a very sweet, little lady who doesn't speak a word of English and with us speaking very little Spanish there was quite a lot of gesticulating and smiling. It all ended with us being shown to an immaculate room in the eves which were clad with highly varnished wood. It was certainly one of the most comfortable and homely rooms we had on the entire trip.

After settling in we walked down in to the town to have a look around and find some lunch. Ever since leaving the Gold Coast the sun had been fairly elusive and we were having to get used to colder weather again. Walking round Puerto Varas was quite chilly although the sun did come out a little and we managed to get some unclouded views of the mountains which framed the deep blue lake.
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We ate pizza for lunch and then hit the supermarket to stock up on supplies for dinner because eating out in Chile is too expensive, well everything is too expensive really so we have tried to minimise costs where possible. We then returned to the hostel as we planned to visit a nearby lake the following day.

We were in for a real treat when we entered Erika's living room the next morning for our breakfast. It was a great spread; tea, coffee, juice, bread, butter, jam, cheese and even some lovely little coconut covered cakes. Between mouthfuls we tried to communicate with Erika about where we planned to go that day, which was Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales and how to get there. It involved pointing at a map quite a bit but we were both getting better at understanding what people were saying, even if we couldn't respond much beyond nodding or shaking our heads depending on what was appropriate. However just as this form of primitive communication had gone about as far is it could, Filippe entered.

We never fully established how Erika and Filippe knew each other, I think maybe he was friends with one of her sons. He lived in Santiago now but was on holiday and had been climbing some mountains which is one of the many things we discussed with him. I think we sat there chatting for over two hours. He tried to teach us some Spanish and gave us advice about where we should and should not visit. One of the places he suggested we didn't bother going to was our planned destination for the day. Apparently it wasn't worth it and within twenty minutes we would have seen all there was to see. This advice did match a review I'd read on the internet and looking outside at the wet, windy weather we decided to listen to him. His next pearls of wisdom, in hindsight, we probably should have disregarded. We had planned to find some way of getting to the south of Chile and in to Patagonia. This would have involved taking a boat as as a large portion of the bottom half of the country is just a collection of islands which make up the fjord lands. Fillippe adviced against this though as he said boats were not frequent at this time of year and the weather was going to be bad for the next few days. Instead he advised that we catch the bus to the Argentinian town of Bariloche, then catch a bus down to El Calafate and then on to Puerto Natales. From there we could visit Torres Del Paine, the national park which was our desired destination. Little did we know how long it was going to take for us to get there.

We said goodbye to Fillippe as he had to begin his 10 hour journey back to Santiago and we had a bus ticket to buy. As we trudged in to town we battled against the driving winds, the mountains now completely obscured by cloud. Having purchased our tickets for the following morning we went to have a look at the Catholic Church which was built by the German Jesuits.
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Apart from this and the general prettiness of the town there isn't a lot more to see or do in Puerto Varas itself and with the weather not helping we concluded that we would buy food from the supermarket and then hide indoors. I definitely had some blog writing to catch up on, as always!

The next morning we woke up, enjoyed another lovely breakfast, said goodbye to Erika and made our way to the bus. Today we would be entering our thirteenth country, Argentina and we were both looking forward to it.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 15:00 Archived in Chile Tagged round_the_world

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