Not quite the depths but the shallows of patagonia

Trip Start Feb 14, 2007
Trip End Jul 2007

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Flag of Chile  ,
Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Having failed to make it south in Argentina, our first 'adventure' in Chile was southbound - after staying with Pedro and Ana maria (and their dog and their parrot who can speak more spanish than I can) in Santiago for a few days we boarded a bus (we are pros at the long distance bus journeys by now) to Pucon. Pucon is, according to the guide book which i am so so sick of reading, 'sandwiched between a beautiful blue lake and a smoking volcano'. The last time the volcano errupted was in 1984 but it smokes away all the time. Pucon was very smsll and sweet. We went to some waterfalls and then to the termas (hot springs) which was a little but like watching a group of old people take a communal bath. we didnt stay in for long. whilst we were in Pucon we did a bit of rafting with some 40+ South American business men who acted like little boys the whole time, a few of them jumped in to the river- freezing water so that was a little crazy! very enjoyable and I got the giggles.

we then headed even further south to the island of Chiloe, having heard from various sources that it is a beautiful island and that there would be a chance of seeing penguins whilst we were there. We had to change buses in Puerto Montt which is officially the most disorganised bus station i have ever ever seen. there are more 15 platforms, any of which could have any bus to any destination and there is no way of telling which is the one you need. plus its packed full of locals and popcorn sellers and perhaps the odd traveller so moving from bus to bus is quite an effort. we arrived in Ancud quite late and went to stay in a hostal (more like a B&B really) which was run by an old couple - we suspect that the mrs was a little bit pissed, she seemed quite spaced out. and she was still pissed the next morning when we went to pay. she said she was drinking 'herbal' tea but i beg to differ...
It turned out that most of the penguins had moved on for the winter and that if we were lucky we might see 4 or 5, which didnt sound worth the money you had to pay for the pleasure. So we went to Castro, but after we had taken a look at the palafitos (houses along the sea built on stilts and so partly over the water) there was little else to do.

And so we came to Puerto Varas instead. next to another beautiful lake and with volcan oserno in the distance. yesterday we went for a horse ride in the afternoon which was amazing - really good fun and we got to gallop loads. the tack was a little 'rustic' - reins made of ropes and the sadles felt a little like they might slip round. we didnt have to wear hats (which i loved) and the guide, who was lovely, looked a little like a south american cowboy. whilst we were riding through a little wood i was about to say to Gabbie - 'doesn't this feel so old fashioned' when the guides mobile phone rang... kind of ruined the moment. it would have been even more fun but for an american tag-along called matt who had imposed himself on our afternoon. i know as well as the next person that whilst you are travelling you meet all sorts of people and you have to be tolerant but oh my god that man was irritating!

we are going back to Santiago in a few hours, my bum hurts from riding yesterday so i hope the bus journey wont be too bad! from santiago we are heading north to the desert, where hopefully we will see the sun a bit more.
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