Published: January 8th 2009December 30th 2008
Day 639 (28.12.08)
After a pretty uneventful bus ride of sleeping, reading and a bit of Harry Potter, we pulled into the bus station in Puerto Varas by mid afternoon. As a former German Colony, Puerto Varas has maintained a very different look and feel to other towns in South America. The architecture is the first and most obvious difference with coloured shingle clad buildings lining the streets giving it a very 'German Mountain town' feel.
Walking into town with no real decision on accomodation having been made we stumbled upon Hospedaje Ellenhaus, a cheap but comfortable option with all the facilities we needed.
With our bags in the room we went out to pound the streets and see what this little town had to offer. As we walked through town it was obvious that it had a real sense of community and showed this in the christmas trees and decorations that adorned the plaza and surrounding streets.
Reaching the lake we were treated to a stunning view of the two prominant snow capped volcanoes in the area over the other side of the lake (albeit a little marred by some persistant cloud).
Another must see
landmark in town is the striking German inspired Iglesia Del Sagrado. Standing atop of town this is the most imposing building in the area. Well worth a gander.
From the top of town we walked some of the quieter streets above town to get a better feel of how German things were here before meandering back to the Plaza. Wanting to get into the swing of the town and feeling a little parched we stopped in at a pub called KUNSTMANN (doesn't get more German than that and maybe we're immature but we couldn't resist a little snigger at the name!) on the plaza for a stein of beer and some cake. Superb.
A quick stop at the supermarket for dinner and we went back to the hostel to make a feast and kick back in front of some telly. We happened across the final of the World's Strongest Man (Chrissie's favourite!), the action of which thankfully crossed the Spanish language barrier. An awesome find and another Christmas tradition met!
Day 640 (29.12.08)
Planning an earlyish start and failing miserably, we got ready for a day walking in Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales. Situated about 50kms
from town we caught a local bus out past the lake and between two of the areas volcanoes taking in the pretty amazing scenery on the way.
The morning had been pretty overcast and miserable, but as we drove out the sun started to break through and by the time we arrived at our first stop the sun was beating down on us, good job we had that little lie in! Getting off the bus at the Saltos De Petrohue (waterfalls to you and me) we went in to get our tickets having to stop and douse ourselves in mozzie repellant on the way - loads and loads of bugs!
Doing a walk around one of the trails we managed to miss the crowd from a tour bus that had just arrived and stretch our legs for the first time in a while (Christmas dinners and wine catching up on us). Reaching the falls themselves, we found a fantastic view up the valley with icy turquoise water cascading down. The only drawback was the annoyance of a few big bee-beetle looking things which was a little frustrating but not too bad when you swatted them away.
on another local bus and we made it to the end of the road at Petrohue. Here there are a couple of options. You can get a small boat across the river outlet to the camping and restaurants on the other side, you can get another boat across the lake to much longer trails and camping on the other shore or our option of a 12km trail to the base of the volcano. Unfortunately as we started to walk around the lake which is ringed with imposing and occasionally snowdusted peaks the numbers of the previous annoying bee-beetles intensified and became such a frustratoin that it was making the whole walk rather unplesant. Cutting the walk a little shorter than planned we turned back and made our way back to Petrohue and the bus home.
Spending the afternoon on the beach with our books we wiled away our time with no annoying flying things.
Day 641 (30.12.08)
In true random Hayward fashion, we had decided it would be a great place to get up and see sunrise over the lake and Volcanoes so had set our alarm for -stupid o-clock- in the morning. Our plans were however
thwarted when we were heading out the door of our hostel and found the front door locked and bolted like Fort Knox and we couldnt get out - bugger. Back to bed and with our incredible sleeping skills managed to sleep through until gone 10. Nice.
A bit of internet and jobs later and we were on our bus, next stop Bariloche in Argentina. With the number of border crossings racking up (especially in South America) we are starting to get a little worried that room for stamps in our Passport is dwindling.
The journey across took us through some beautiful lake and mountain landscape and before we knew it we arrived at our destination. We teamed up with Kate and Henry a couple of Brits from the bus, grabbed a cab and found a place to stay. The best way to celebrate being back in Argentina was of course another steak dinner so after a quick trip to the supermarket we all tucked into an excellent meal.
There are more photos below