Chilean side of the lakes

Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 13, 2012

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Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Friday, December 17, 2010

17th Dec. cont.

The journey from Bariloche to Chile crosses the Samoré Mountain Pass which is so beautiful and had snow on the ground, I didn't know which side of the bus to stay as each corner bought another fantastic view. The borders went without a problem even though the Chilean one was very thorough but nothing invasive and it didn't´t seem to matter whether you tick the declare box or not. We arrived into Puerto Varas at around 9pm and even though the bus stop was the other side of town it didn't take us long to walk to the hostel, which was up a few stairs from the main road. After we checked in we went in search for dinner and an ATM. We found a BB VA bank and for drawing out $200000 Chilean pesos (£268) they wanted to charge £3.50, in Argentina there was a limit of $1000 pesos (£160) and they charge $16 pesos for our master card. So we looked around and there was a the Banco de Chile where we found that if we use our visa debit card we didn't get charged. With a wallet full of Chilean funds we headed to a recommended restaurant called Danes and shared a massive steak and cheese sandwich (Russell you would have loved it as the cheese was as thick as the roll). With our now full bellies, we headed back to the hostel for a cup of tea and then bed.

18th Dec.

Had a nice lie-in and went down to breakfast at around 9.30am where we had cereal, yogurt, bread and jam, and we soon noticed that we were alone, every one else had checked out and we had the place to ourselves. After breakfast we went for a stroll to the lake and to check out the town for bus company's and the supermarket for some supplies. We headed back to the hostel for lunch where we had a nice freshly baked bread roll (still warm) and a nice hot bowl of soup (one of our tomato packet soups we've been carrying around since we left the UK). We have noticed that it is much colder on this side of the Andes even though we are at the same level as Bariloche. Unlike all the southern Argentinean hostels that were centrally heated (and too hot), this one is not but has a very nice wood burning stove in the kitchen, a big fire place in the living room and a nice pot belly heater in the landing outside our room. After lunch we did some planning for the next leg of the trip and decided to stay an extra day here to relax and then head up to Pucon on Monday. We went for another stroll to get some air and bought some chicken and veg for dinner which we threw together with some mushroom soup and for dessert we had cream cakes that Damion (hostel owner) offered us from the fridge, yum! The rest of the evening was spent watching Robin Hood and then off to bed.

19th Dec.

Got up at 9am for breakfast then headed into town to book our bus ticket but the ticket office was shut, we hope it will be open later or we'll have to buy it in the morning. So we headed up to Parque Phillipi which has a view point at the top of a hill not far from the hostel. On the top was a big white cross on a monument and next to it was "Canopy" an extreme sports company that has zip wires all over the place leading to the bottom, but the latter was closed down so unfortunately we couldn't have a go! We were tempted to try it with my trouser belt (like they use in the movies) but thought better of it and just enjoyed the view of the town and part of the lake. Once we got back down we went for a walk to check the other side of town out and we gained a new friend, a stray dog kept following us. Every turn we took he followed, he even followed us though a small park at the bottom of a church that had lots of locally sponsored trees decorated in Christmas decorations. We thought we'd loose him when we turned round at the end of town to come back but he kept on following. He got a little confused when we cleverly split and he decided to follow me (obviously the weakest link) and even hiding behind a parked car didn't put him off, he just waited then when we headed off together followed us some more. At 1pm the bus ticket office opened and we bought our bus ticket, with our new friend (littlest hobo we named him) waiting outside. We headed back to the hostel for lunch with hobo closely behind and when we got there Damion shooed him away as he wouldn't leave us. Some more people arrived at the hostel so our reign on the place was gone but it was nice to meet new people and as we were leaving in the morning we felt better that Damion had some one else to look after. Later we went for another wander round the lake and then we headed back to Danes restaurant and had a Pichanga, which is a massive plate full of chopped up steak, sausages, tomato, gherkins, olives and covered with chips, melted cheese and egg on top. It was so nice but far to much so we kept some in a doggy bag to heat up later. Suitably stuffed we headed back to the hostel for a good nights sleep.
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