Cruising Lago Todos los Santos

Trip Start Feb 26, 2012
Trip End Apr 02, 2012

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Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Monday, March 12, 2012

This morning before 7 AM we heard dishes rattling in the kitchen below. The Mapuche lady who comes to help Pauline run the B&B had arrived!  Indeed, she had the entire weekend's worth of dishes to face upon her arrival-WOW-not many employees in Canada would accept that!  When we got downstairs she had them all cleaned up and breakfast ready.  Pauline told us that this lady lives in the next town over and takes the bus to the end of their road and then walks the 3 kms to their house each day except Sunday which she takes off.  She and Leila were having an ongoing conversation in Spanish.  Leila was quite proud that she was off to "school" today and spent about an hour before her actual departure walking around the house with her huge backpack on!

Our second attempt to get good weather to do the boat trip across Lago Todos los Santos, and while it is not perfect, we decide to go anyway.  As we headed out the door Pauline told us that if we had any trouble today or changed our minds about dinner, to just ask anyone to send her a text message….she said that this is common in Chile, the locals will send texts for visitors….now that is nice of them!  We arrived at the departure point for the boat trip in good time and parked the car in the paid lot (for $10 in the middle of nowhere) instead of risking parking on the other side of the fence in the free area….we have been warned so often about car and content theft that we are getting a bit paranoid. 

There was an interesting mix of people on the boat trip……some local Chileans who obviously use it as transportation and tourists who are just out for the day, and then there are tourists who use this as the first leg of a trip which includes a total of 3 boat rides and 3 bus rides to get to Bariloche, Argentina.  If you have seen the movie Motorcycle Diaries you will recognize this as the trip Che Guevara took from Argentina to Chile.  Today our boat goes directly to the other end of the lake about a 2 hour ride, but sometimes they make several stops along the way.  This lake is in Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales, with approximately 180 privately owned properties around the lake and with 85 school age children.  These children go to a boarding school at one end of the lake and on the first trip each Monday their parents row the kids out to a designated spot on the lake and the boat we are on picks them up and then drops back off to their parents in their row boats on Friday afternoon-now that is a ride to school that not many kids can claim they do!  The big boat will also pick up any of the Lake residents and transport them to their destination at no charge…..this was an arrangement made with the government when the area became a National Park…….too bad we can’t get that arrangement going on Georgian Bay!

The ride was lovely.  We were on a very stable power catamaran which was 32 meters long and had seats of the style found on an airplane.  There was of course an area to buy souvenirs and a coffee shop.  We did have a coffee but the Chileans started drinking the ubiquitous red wine by 11 AM!  The lake was beautiful-an emerald green color with thickly forested mountains all around the edge with volcanos in the background.  It was a very relaxing ride.  And we were so fortunate, as this time the person doing the commentary provided an English version too!

Once we reached Puerto Peulla at the other end of the lake, we walked around a bit and then settled ourselves at the Hotel Natuera for lunch.  We had very nice fish and vegetables in the beautiful dining room overlooking the wetlands with the lake, mountains and volcanos in the background.  It was raining after lunch so we just moved to the large lobby area, complete with a huge fireplace and sat to wait for the return trip.   On the way back we chatted a bit with the couple in front of us…….she spoke to us when she realized we were speaking English.  They were coming from Argentina on the 3 boat, 3 bus rides route.  They were from Connecticut but when I said to her that I thought she might have been from New York by her accent, she indicated, in the nicest of possible ways, that that was considered insulting to be told your accent sounded like that of a New Yorker-who knew! (She did admit though that she had lived in NY for nearly 40 years). They were spending a month traveling through South America.  Unfortunately, the weather was quite overcast and she was disappointed to miss seeing the volcano tops. 

We arrived back at the car and decided to make one stop on our way back to Casa Ko’-at a waterfalls, Saltos de Petrohue ….very nice and one of the must-see stops in this area of Chile. Funny thing at the gate as Bob finished paying the entrance fee the attendant held up a calculator with 6.5 entered on the screen and then drew his hand across his throat. We took his meaning to be the gates close at 6:30, it was then 6:25. We did a fast trot down the 500 meter path.

Back at Casa Ko’, Pauline advised us that she had invited friends of theirs to join us for dinner.  Very interesting evening, as the woman (originally from Massachusetts but now lives in a house on the same mountainside as Pauline and Raf) is a writer for the Lonely Planet series of guidebooks.  She specializes in writing about Patagonia.  We had a lively discussion on many topics, including of course the US Republican race.  She keeps up to date on the goings on in the US by listening to NPR (National Public Radio) online and misses having political discussions.  She had brought the dessert….we weren’t sure what the fruit was but it was a delicious cross between a crisp and a pie-yummy!  It was a fun evening and that was another day in our Chile experience!
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Candace on

Just got caught up on reading your blog. You are doing a fantastic job, and, as usual amazing pictures of everything. What a fantastic trip!

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