The long and winding road to Pucon

Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of Chile  , Araucanía,
Friday, May 11, 2012

On our second day, we had to dirve 600km to reach our overnight stop. That's a lot of driving. We left at 8am, and headed to our main stop for the day; a town called Santa Cruz. There we visited the Colchagua Museum, which is basically the private collection of a Chilean businessman named Carlos Cardoen Cornejo. His some of his business however, was quite dodgy, so he's now not allowed outside of Chile. However, he's very popular with Chileans, and has put a lot of money into the town of Santa Cruz, especially after it was damaged by an earthquake, and the majority of it had to be rebuilt. 

Anyway, over the years he's collected lots of weird and wonderful artefacts, most of them do with Chile's history. So we went in to see his vast collection. It was quite strict security, and no photos! So I'll describe some of the best objects. There was loads of different rooms, all about different time periods of South America's history. So ranging from the earliest people, to the colonialists and the most recent wars. Some of my favourite things were: shrunken heads of missionaries that were found in the jungle, child mummies, which are 3000 years older than the Egyptian mummies. The skeleton of a giant sloth, which huge! Tons of clay pottery made by the ancient local people, some really weird ones too, but the colours and decoration were amazing. A whole room dedicated to jewellery, which examples from all the different peoples. There was a room dedicated to gauchos (South American cowboys), which saddles and spurs. There was even a stuffed horse, who apparently won loads of shows because he was the best example of a Chilean horse. He was a handsome beast.

There was a whole garage filled with cars, including the first car that was brought to Chile, a Ford. He even had a F1 car. As well as a car garage, he had a garage full of carriages, including one as big as a tank, that was a funeral carriage. But it was the biggest carriage I've ever seen, I don't know how any horse could pull it! 

There was a weapons room, filled with these amazing Spanish guns, with really intricate decoration. One thing which was interesting, but that I didn't like was a case of Nazi things. A gold and ivory gun, a Leica camera with the swastika on the front. Lots of flags and things. A tad unsettling. 

So tons of fascinating things. There was so much to see, it was amazing that one man had collected it all. After that it was back on the bus, for a day of solid driving, except for toilet stops, all the way to Pucon. We finally arrived there at 10pm in the evening, so a long day. We all dumped our stuff, and were so grateful to be off the bus! I was also very happy because the hostel had two resident Newfoundland dogs! 

 That night I went out for a nice dinner with Rob and Judy from my bus, before crashing in bed. The next day started out rather chilled. We woke up late, and the weather was fantastic, with some awesome views of the Pucon-Villaricca volcano. A few of us went out for lunch, which was nice. Pucon is a really pretty little town. Lovely architecture with lots of wooden buildings. Then in the afternoon I went out riding just out of town. It was me and a french family, who I came to dislike as they wouldn't stop hitting their horses with sticks. But we had a good ride. My horse, Moreno, was beautiful and very responsive. I'm getting quite good at riding South American/Western style now, it's pretty fun! We even stopped and walked down to this huge waterfall, which was amazing. 

Then in the evening the hostel had an amazing Chilean barbecue for us. We had juicy chorizo sausages, tender pork and beef steaks, and chicken, all smothered and cooked in salt. It was the tastiest BBQ I've ever had. We ate meat and nothing else, in typical Chilean style! We had a great evening, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, partly thanks to the nice Chilean wine!     
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