Drying off and warming up in Chile

Arrived in Santiago safe and sound, H met me at airport and we took a TurBus into Santiago and another straight out of Valpariso where we chilled out for a couple of days as I slept through jetlag. In our more active moments we wandered around the old town, taking funiculars up the steep hills and enjoying beers with splendid views of the bay and slightly mouldy gateaux in faded glory tea rooms.

Left Valpariso by TurBus on Monday, at 6.15am and arriving here in Pucon on the shores of Lago Villarica at 20:30, seeing, but not stopping in the fablously fertile Central Valley. Great views of the snow capped Andes en route too.

H and I are just drying off after a great day’s hike in Parque Huerquehue (and i’m not even going to try to pronounce that!) just outside Pucon, with our Politur guide, Juan. It was a great hike, fantastic scenery en route to and surrounding the the three lakes – Lago Chico, Lago Toro and Lago Verde – which looked splendidly mysterious in the clouds, and the waterfalls were in fine form. The route climbed through the forested covered hills – loads of different trees, including 1000 year old monkey puzzle trees.

That said, we did return drenched and muddy – boots are drying out at the foot of our hostel’s fabulous wood-fired stove. The hostel, eco-friendly ‘ecole!, wins additional brownie points for it’s veggie restaurant where we’ve eaten every meal since we arrived. Delicious, and plentiful portions too.

It’s been raining ever since we arrived here in Pucon…. and that means we’ve not even seen the celebrated volcan Villarica – I’m going to have to fib to Barney….. there are tourist agencies here which run climbs to the top…. but seeing as the whole thing’s been in cloud for the past 3 days, so we’re not hanging around for our chance of a clear day.

Talking of which, our travel plans have firmed up a bit:

Tomorrow (Weds): bus to Valdivia
Thurs: bus to Puerto Varas
Fri: lake ferries in the shadow of Volcan Orsorno
Fri/Sat: travel to P. Montt.
Sat (hopefully): ferry from P. Montt to San Rafael glaciar and back up again (4 nigths , 5 days, although i fear we’re looking at the more expensive Navimag accommodation….. with a price tag of several hundred dollars. eek!)

then Chiloe, and then a flight from P. Montt down to P. Arenas and Patagonia!

Having a lovely time!