Chilean Lake District Pucon, Bariloche (Arg) + Puerto Montt

Part 3 of 7

31st October 2000

The Beautiful South

This is going to prob'ly be a dull e-mail, but I need to do a travel log update. It's been a frantic 3 weeks heading up and down Chile and Argentina, but it's been unbelievably fantastic. Quite frankly, it was simply a frantic but fantastic time !

My last known whereabouts was leaving Santiago for the South. Well I travelled half a continent going to the following places :

Chillian (10 hour bus journey) The Lonely Planet book describes this place as 'a cute little stopover on the way South' ......... my description is ....... a complete and utter shit hole ...... the highlight of my over night stop was being wolf whistled by a bunch of schoolies (aged 14 at the most).

And the hostel was a hovel ..... there was a camp Chilean twat in hostel.

Needless to say I got the rock out of there, on the 7 am bus and arrived in heaven !!! A place called ......

Pucón (9 hours). The hostel was called La Tetera ..... The Tea Shop ...... surprise surprise they served Tea !!!!

But no ordinary tea ....... Tea with oranges, caramel, and a bottle of your best vino ...... caned that instantly, well with a delicious mushroom pesto spaghetti meal.

That night I met an American couple (they have possibly restored my faith in Americans !!!). We arranged to do a walk through a park the following day.

Walking, Rafting and Resting:

It wasn't really a walk (through Parque National Huerquehue) .. it was a major league trek through the mountains !!! Stunning views of lakes, mountains and volcanoes.

Oh yes Pucón has a near to popping Volcano over-looking the town, lava to town destruction being 7 minutes.

The following day (the group having grown to 7 or 8) we went snow walking up another mountain ....... near vertical snow slopes using flipper / trampoline style shoes with spikes.

We climbed this mountain to get a stunning (a word better then stunning is needed really) view of 3 volcano ...... awesome.

The climb back down was a tad dangerous, going up I slipped about 15-20m only saved by a tree !!!

The next day we tackled the rapids ..... white water rafting ..... cold or what ...... but we soon warmed up when we trekked off to the hot water springs with an assortment of wines, and "pina coladas" (shite spelling).

We only smashed 1 bottle in the water .... whoops ..... we cleared up most of the glass, covered the leftovers up we gravel and stones !!

Zig-zagging down the country

We then set about zig-zagging our way down the country. It's hard to describe the journey without a map but basically we travelled about 45 miles south. However to do this we had to take 5 buses !!!

The route being Pucon to Villarrica (20 min); to Loncoche(1 hour); to Conaripe (1.5-2 hrs); to Papa New Guinea .... Panguipulli (I'm shite with the names of places) (1hr); and finally to Hong Kong Fuy ..... Puerto Fuy (another 3 hours).

In UK terms, Notts to Birmingham via Derby, Newark, Stoke & Leicester (in that order) .......
"ho hum" as we said at the time ...... the bus company was called Hua Hum Buses !!

Puerto Fuy The town, a little village of 250 people, was at the base of a what used to be a river but when Volcan Choshuenco erupted the lava flow blocked the river and made a lake .... so we decided to go for a boat ride.

When we got to the town we discovered that the only hostel was only half built ..... panic mode set in ... but then the bus driver said we (all 8 of us) could kip at his niece's house ....... cool ..... where's the house ..... he parked right outside it ..... convenient !!!

It only cost us £2.50 a night and that included breakfast. My Spanish is still pretty poor, but I've sussed out how to get us all pancakes for breakfast ....... pretend to fry, then lob one in the air .... it worked at treat .... until I discovered that the Spanish for pancakes is pancakas !!!

The reason for our venture here was to go on a ferry ride along the lake (Lago Pirehueico) apparently beautiful views of the lake and volcano, which it was. But the highlight of the journey was Alfi the Goat !!

At the Argie boarder there was a goat, which barged around us eating all our biscuits ..... you prob'ly had to be there !!!

Anyway I also bought a goat's wool, bobble hat made from Alfi's very own wool ! I also bought a chocolate biscuit called Alfi .... hence the name !!!

Currently writing this at altitude 2500m (a place called San Pedro, North Chile) having been 5000m this morning .... hence the utter drivel !!

One of our travelling companions left us at this point, so basically we'd spent 7 hours on various buses, an overnight stop in an attic room, a 3 hour ferry ride to the border to .... wave goodbye to someone, buy a bobble hat and a chocolate bar !!!

Alfi hat with orange shades looks well cool though, worth it just for that !!!

Next stop ... Papa New Guinea ! We traipsed back to Papa New Guinea (Panguipulli) for a meal : Chilli dips with nachos, chilli con carne, and tiramisu ice cream with pina-colada poured over it ..... and several bottles of wine ..... the perfect meal !!!

Travel Disruption

I had big plans of a 6 hour bus journey to my most southernly point of my trip (Peurto Montt) ..... but then I was confronted by fuel road blockades. Basically I spent 2 days travelling to 2 towns (Valdiva and Osorno), which should normally have only taken an hour and a half ..... ho hum !!!

De-tour

Due to the blockades I headed into Argentina with a lad (Will) from Northants and his girlfriend (Karen). We headed off to a place called "Ruebens Barachello" .... Bariloche ..... for steak 'n' cake !!!

The journey going over the Andes was spectacular; we drove through a National Park (Puyehue). The park had been commandeered by a military geezer during the Pinochet era.