South Chilean extravangaza

Trip Start May 19, 2010
Trip End Jul 27, 2010

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Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Monday, June 14, 2010

14th May – Good morning! Please wake up, it's 8am, you are in Temuco, here is some juice, a cookie and some fruit. After our eight hour bus ride we arrived at our destination. One of the larger cities in the south of Chile and the starting point of Chris’ and my little adventure. We were able to use her uncles car in order to drive further down south. Our first stop was a city called Pucon which is a very famous and popular holiday town in Chile. It is great for swimming and skiing. At it is still fall here and there were small bridges to give pedestrians the opportunity to cross the large water puddles it was not the right time. We drove up to the famous Villarrica volcano and stopped when we were close to the top but when we realized it was better to turn around because it started snowing. The way up and down was on a dirt road through a thick forrest with lots of curves and a off-road feel. Chris is an excellent off road driver and with our four wheel drive vehicle we were able to accomplish the steep, bumpy and full of potholes road. This volcanic sand also makes up the beach from where the other photo is from. SO even though it was neither one of the high seasons I did get to imagine what it would be like in the summer. When we took a break from the rain and the cold outside to sit down in a restaurant with a fire place, cozy large wood balken and delicious food I truly felt like I was on holidays :) 

At night we arrived at Chris’ cousin’s place in Valdivia, which is the Chilean city it rains most at. This was definitely proven during our arrival. As it was dark and foggy I could not see anything about what was around us. A long day of travelling and new impressions! Night night.

15th June - The plan for today was to go to the natural hot springs in Puyehue. This place is insane because after spending time in the hot springs we went to have lunch with chilean wine in the restaurant at the windows which overlook the whole valley. When an eagle flew buy and sat right outside the window to look for prey this was the perfect moment! We went to watch the soccer game in the in house bowling alley from where once again, accompanied by the view we had a cocktail each just to return back to the hot pools after. I added a video to give you an impression also. We figured that this place is either for older couples or for families with young kids because apart from when i filmed, we had the whole outside are for ourselves. You could choose between 37-42 degree hot water and whether you just wanted to swim or get a massage in the water canon area. All in all it was very very relaxing and we needed to blast the music on the way back in order not to fall asleep. Not just because of the pools but also because in the hilly area trucks need to literally be pushed up a hill because they go so slow. But of course that could not frustrate us at the time because - we just spent all day in hot pools in the south of chile listening to eagles. hahaha! super cheesy but true!

Just before we arrived at Chris' family's place where we spent the night we stopped by a chilean brewery called Kunstmann. The slogan was Das beste Bier and the photo that you can see shows the mugs of the "Stammgaeste" - the ones that come there very regularly. Once again it is fascinating how many German descendants live in Chile! 

16th June - I am currently on a bus on my way back to Santiago. It is by no comparison the best bus I have ever been on. This is because it is night time, there is a music playing which you need headphones for so you don’t disturb anyone, an employee just walked by offering water and most importantly – I am laying in a vertical position because this bus has beds!! This is like first class. And as I am not going to be flying first class any time soon this is the best thing ever! To get here it was a very nerve-racking ride because we just couldn’t get out of Valdivia because signs that showed north just ended up leading south and people that said go left and right, straight and right twice did not seem to realize that this would just make us end up at the same place we started at. In addition to the strong smell of burnt firewood coming from all the houses in the street, the smoke coming from it plus the thick fog it took us at least half an hour to finally escape the maze of Valdivia and get on the right track home.

At home tomorrow we are going to get in at 7am when we are going to be picked up by Chris’ brother and then go straight to a place where we can watch the next soccer game at 7.30 am. I have to say, Chileans are crazy about soccer. Even more crazy than Germans. We took a drive through a few small viallages along the coast after stopping at a ford which was used to fight off Spanish ships. Apart from the view and me considering what it would be like to jump down the cliff it was fascinating/scary to think about being a Chilean in the fort, seeing the Spanish approach in the distance and waiting for when one could fire the canons.

- I take best thing ever back. There is a person that snores extremely loud about two rows in front of me. If he was kicked off the bus this would be the best thing ever, but maybe I will just turn my music up higher to overplay the lovely sounds of the child crying in the row behind me. -

Back to the day: We woke up at 7.30am right in time to watch Chile beat Honduras. At this time in the morning, compared to the usual sound of trucks, cars, and people there was nothing to be heard. Complete silence. Everyone was watching TV and following the game. Except the bird that flew into the window first time in a row during the game. According to Christine’s cousin it does it every day. Why? I don’t know. All I know is that the scratches on the window seem to indicate that the bird is either incredibly stupid or very ambitious and determined to break through the glass.

During our tour along the coastline the dominant image of the Chilean way of living outside of the cities became obvious once again. It is a very simple life. There is not a lot of luxury, no excessive house or garden design, no pretty fence or the unnecessary large car parked in front of the house. The houses are small but they are all in different and sometimes funky (pink) colours, the front yards are usually dirt pits but all of them have an incredible view of the water and lastly, most of them have driveways that let any dog park, cemetery hill or the like look like a fun hill to run up and down on. All of this makes me wonder what I really need so much of everything for. I mean I can’t deny that I enjoy the occasional first class bus ride but it is also a sign for that I /we should be satisfied with what we have right this moment because these people basically have nothing but are fine living the way they are. A house, a yard, and a cow laying next to the wall overlooking the ocean ;) (see the photo)
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