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Published: November 12th 2008
My arrival in Valdivia began with another potential accommodation issue. My check in at the hostel was vague. It took a while for someone to answer the door and the guy did not seem to know what he was doing when checking me in. I was not given a key to my room. It was not a confident start to my stay but, hey, it was only one night. I learnt later when returning to the hotel later on that the guy only started the job that day hence the vagueness was explained. The owner, Lio, reissued another invoice as the one previous was written out wrongly. Lio made my stay at the hostel very enjoyable plus I had an empty dorm room to myself, my own breakfast table and meeting Ramona, the hostel´s pet rabbit who is so cute! Despite the noisy group from Tierra Del Fuego, whom Lio complained how messy they were and he even provided house rules, I slept well for the first time on my trip and the bed was so comfy. I did not want to get up!
Valdivia´s life centres by the river, which is very true. The first night, I had a
wonderful meal at a fish restaurant and did plenty of people watching there. There was some sort of religious (Christian) festival going on by the river hence a lot of atmosphere and passion. The following day, I had a wander around the Mercado Fluvial and some owners were more than happy for me to take photos when I sought permission. I even offered to tip them but they refused. I took a couple and felt it was very kind of them for allowing me this opportunity.
I visited the Museo Historico Y Antropologico across the river. The museum was very interesting and presented how the German colonisation began in Valdivia and beyond in Chile. There were presentations of Lord Cochrane´s exploits in securing independence just not for Chile but in Peru, Brazil and Greece. He is remembered for that by the countries´coats of arms on his tombstone. There were displays of the Mapuche culture.
I rode on the river. I struck a deal in broken Spanish with one of the vendors who were touting for sales but in vain as many did not seem interested in riding on the river. Hence, I had to wait a bit to
see if there were other people joining the boat as the minimum number is two passengers. Eventually, a tour group joined me. They were stopping off at Isla Tegra whilst I would stay on and return to Valdivia. Jorge, member of the boat crew, gave me a personal commentary in broken English and Spanish about Valdivia, the rivers, the consequences of the 1960 earthquake and Tsuami (still you can see the devastating effects of the vegetation especially with the trees), the German Colonisation and Valdivia´s industries and economy (past and present). It was very interesting and informative stuff and he was in receipt of a well deserved tip.
Later on that day, I had a very eventful journey to Pucon!!!
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