Pucon, land of volcanos and more lakes

Trip Start Jan 03, 2007
Trip End Nov 03, 2007

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Flag of Chile  ,
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Please forgive the fact that im a month behind here, either too much going on, or crappy computers. Anyway, im hoping to get back to speed over the next few days, and i hope not to forget anything too important. By the way, if anyone wants any full size photos they have seen here then just drop me a message and ill try and sort it out.

So, after Bariloche I crossed the mighty Andes. To be honest it wasnt quite as awesome as id expected, but still really cool. I was travelling with a couple of Aussie guys, but we soon went our separate ways once weŽd arrived. I went for a hostel out of my lonely planet book which said it was a great place to meet people, and really great to hang out. Sadly for me, it must have been a bad week as I didnt meet too many nice people, the bed was a whopping 8 quid a night, and it was all a bit pretentious. Nevertheless, I stayed in Pucon for 5 days, during which time i:

Climbed the Worlds most active volcano.
Sunbathed by and swam in a lake.
Went white water rafting.
Watched the ending of some kind of important cycle race.

Out of these, climbing Volcan Villarica was the most awesome thing I had seen or done so far. The day started at 7am, a group of 6 of us (plus a guide ) took a car to half way up, then took a chair lift a bit further, then began a painful 4 hour uphill struggle. It began on loose rocks and gravel, but before long had moved onto the glacier. They had provided us with decent overalls, an ice axe, and the most uncomfortable and heavy boots ive ever seen (i might as well have been wearing waders). So we zig zagged our way up, above the clouds, to the summit which was about 2800m (not massively high by Andean standards, but enough for me).
When we got to the top, very breathless, I took in a lungfull of volcanic fumes (reminiscent of sulphuric acid when i was at school). This almost sent me rolling back down the hill, but i managed to stay put, and was treated to the amazing sight of a huge crater in front of me, and an astounding panoramic view on the other side.
Somewhat surprisingly, there was no protective barrier (probably because firstly this is S America, and secondly because every time they build something p there, it erupts and destroys it), and i had to be pretty careful not to slip over the edge where i would surely have suffocated. Anyway, the photos should do it more justice than i can. On the way down, we strapped something around our waists and slid down the glacier in a kind of human bobsleigh style. Much more fun than the ascent!

That was a saturday, and i was hoping for a big night out, but come 9pm i was already fast asleep! I couldnt walk the next day...

The rafting was also good fun, apparently it was a Grade 4 river, but i thought it was pretty tame. There are photos online at

The cycling photos arent so much of the cyclists, more of the... well, you can see for yourselves!
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