From Salt Planes to the Volcanoes

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, March 27, 2005

After saying goodbye to the rest of the guys in our tour group we crossed the border into Chile and visited the small town of San Pedro de Atacuma then went to Calama (a town about 2 hours on from there). As we wanted to head as far south as possible before it got too cold we headed to Santiago de Chile on a mammoth 22 hour bus ride. In Santiago de Chile we didn't really do much except relax and be pampered in the gorgeous hostel (Happy House) we stayed in. It was so beautiful with fantastic high ceilings, perfectly decorated and even had a sauna you could use. The people there were so friendly and it was someones birthday whilst we were there so we had plenty of red wine to celebrate that!! We also visited the fish market and had aballones and bought some squid to have for tea.... so great and so cheap (compared to home). After leaving Santiago de Chile we went on to Puçon (in the lake distict) and stayed in a nice, friendly guesthouse where we met Kathrine (a lovely German girl). Yesterday we decided to climb the Volcano (Villarica) which was tough going but great fun (even though the boots hurt a lot!!). We had to climb up through the snow and had a ride on a chair lift at one point... we wished we had our snowboards with us!!! Once we arrived at the top you had a gorgeous view of other snow capped volcanoes and all the mountains and lakes surrounding.. it was fab. The best part of being at the top was the lava that kept spurting out of the top.. so much so that it scared the 100s of tourists taking pics at the top that they ran away. No real danger though but it was amazing to see a volcano erupting right before your eyes.. cool!! After we had climbed the volcano we got to slide down the snow through toboggan runs (a lot easier than climbing up!!) which was really good fun and although we had ice-picks to stop ourselves in the snow there was no chance of stopping at the speed you slid down. We spent the evenings in Puçon chatting with Kathrine over bottles of red wine and had a lovely time there. Today we crossed the border into Argentina (our 15th country) and were treated to spectacular views of the countryside including monkey puzzle trees, snow capped Volcano Lanin and lots of gorgeous green mountains.
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