Chilling out in Chile

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March 12th 2017
Published: March 12th 2017
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Valparaiso is known as the seaside resort for Santiago with Vina del mar just up the road from there known as the garden city of Chile and host to a big annual festival! We arrived around midday checked into our hostel which was perched up on the hillside in the graffiti neighbourhood. It was pretty cool to look at and there was loads of it to see. We decided to go on the free walking tour to orientate ourselves so headed out down the long stair case to the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately we didn't do the walking tour. No sooner had we got there, I projectile vomited and more millimetres from a dog! A flustered Jo managed to hail a cab and we swiftly returned to the safety of the hostel and headed to bed for the rest of the day!
The next day still not 100% we headed to Vina del mar. We actually managed to do the free walking tour this time without mishap. We learnt lots about the town and yes it was quite pretty. It definitely had a European seaside town feel about it, but if that's Chile's go to beach resort, I'm fairly disappointed. We headed back to Santiago later that day and have to say we were glad we went, but not upset to leave.
Back in Santiago we had a few hours to kill- so what better thing to do than get a tattoo??? No I am not crazy letting my parents find out I have a tattoo on a blog. It was Jo who got the tattoo! Just to reiterate I remain tattoo free!! Jo was an absolute trooper! Her first tattoo a very unique sun and moon design on her ribs. She never bled or cried. Not so much could be said for the seasoned tattooed man laid next to her having Lara Croft tattooed on his ribs.
After a fun filled day we were in bed early as we were back at the bus station the next day to head to a place south of Santiago called Pucon.
***** WARNING another bus adventure*****
So now we have bus travel to a fine art. The bus was meant to drop us in Pucon at 7:15am having travelled through the night. In my usual fashion I was dead to the world asleep as soon as the wheels were moving. So you can understand my surprise when I was very gently woken up at 6am by the bus conductor whispering to me "Pucon, Pucon senorita Pucon". It was a mad flap to gather up our stuff half asleep and get off the bus. It was only after the bus pulled away and we were stood deserted in the middle of the street we realised it was 6am. Ok- we can do this. We'll just go to the hostel and crash in the social space for a bit and then go get food later. So we walked 10 mins to the hostel and anxiously rang the bell and waited. And waited. And waited! Bugger! No one was up, no one would answer the door. So what did we do? We sat down and slept propped up against our bags in the middle of the pavement like any other normal people. This may not have been so bad but it was freezing! We had come in shorts and flip flops from a warm Santiago to a bloody freezing Pucon! After an hour and a bit of freezing our butts off, I had had enough! I declared there must be somewhere open by now that we can grab a coffee in rather grumpily. I walked/stomped to the end of the road (a mere 10 meters) and there before my very eyes was a 24hour subway! A mix of euphoria and annoyance washed over me lol! After warming up and having some food we decided to try the hostel again. We also discovered this time there was another entrance and the bell we were ringing doesn't actually work! Much to the hostel staffs amusement.
Check In and shower later we headed out to make the most of the day (now appropriately dressed too!) We had been told about two waterfalls that were a must see. So we did the first one no problem and we were up for the 1 hour hike each way to the other. An hour later of walking in the midday sun uphill we got to the destination on the map- no waterfall, just a fence. Well I hadn't walked all this way to let a fence stop me! So we hopped over the fence- 20meters in we both looked at each other, once brave now worried that we would be shot at for trespassing so we decided to go back. Luckily we bumped into some others hiking and followed them to the fall. It was beautiful and very high but we decided not to head down to the bottom for a closer look- what goes down also has to come up and we had done enough up!
Heading down was going to be straight forwards until a better offer came our way. A very old man in his truck pulled up along side us and offered us a lift back to the main road (it was 5k away of course we said yes!) I was in the front chattering away to him- this was fine!! Our first hitch hike! Turned out he owned the farm we had previously been trespassing on-oooops! He had another house in Pucon and offered to drop us in the centre of town- Amazing what luck! When we got out in the centre of town Jo was an ashen white colour. She grabbed my arm to steady herself "Lauren he had a massive fucking machete in the back of his car, what the hell were we thinking!" Nervous giggles and why didn't you tell me's later we had survived!
The next day Jo woke up still not well having had a sore throat for over a week now. So we decided enough natural remedies time for some drugs. We found a medical centre and went in- only to have the door locked behind us. After sitting there for a while we realised we were in the wrong place. Broken Spanish and lots of international hand gestures later, we were allowed out and went to the hospital. Having worked in hospitals I was most impressed at their efficiency. We were in, triaged, assessed, injected in the bum and prescription out the door later within 20 mins. We spent the rest of the day checking out the volcanic beach by the lake and went to the geothermal pools in the evening. They were beautiful- literally in the valley of a volcano with the stars and the rain. The best thermal pools I have ever been to and a lovely way to end our time in Pucon.
Full day bus the next day to head back to Santiago- we had a flight to catch this time (spoilt ourselves!)
Alive and well-honest! Lauren and Jo

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