Inspires the unexpected...
Meet our new dog friend
After a 5 hour train ride through the Chilean countryside and a brief overnight stay in Chillan (just long enough to visit the town fruit market and watch "Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold" in our hostel), we were on our way to the lake district. We arrived in Pucon on a beautiful sunny afternoon (after a sleepy 6 hour bus ride) and were immediately struck by the sweet charm of this little town. It has a bit of a Breckenridge or Frisco, CO feel - cute main street, lots of shops and restaurants, and some late season ski/snowboard bunnies wandering around in their gear. Rising above it all is Volcan Villarrica, a snow capped active volcano that last blew its top in 2007. We started our visit by shopping around for the right hostel,
settling on "Backpackers" as it was the cheapest and was full of rowdy, well, backpackers (surprise!). By the next morning we had decided to move across the street to Hostal Victor, which Eli negotiated for the same price and which was roughly 300 times nicer.
Highlights of Pucon itself included an amazing meal at cafe/pub Trawen, and some pretty stellar sunsets over Lake Villarrica. Wednesday we bussed over to nearby lakeside town Lican Ray,
where we hiked around the peninsula and marveled at the stunning, glassy Calafquen Lake. We found ourselves being followed by two pups on this walk, a little red headed spaniel with an impressive goiter and a sweet, sad-eyed mutt. The former was an endless ball of energy, the latter a loyal and steady companion. By the end of our walk we were reconsidering our policy on dogs and even bought some bologna for one of our new friends (red-head had bounded off home by then) as a thank you for being our tour guide.
Thursday we got up early and went to Parque Nacional Huerquehue, and set out on a 6 hour (uphill) hike to a beautiful trio of lakes. This park is amazing, enormous (we saw about a tenth of it), with the best kept trail we've ever seen and so much varying vegetation, 2 waterfalls on this hike, snow at the top, and these incredible lakes. You can follow us (or at least Eli) on our hike by clicking on the photo at right and continuing through the album. To relax after our lengthy day of fitness we took advantage of one of Pucon's other attractions, the natural hot springs ("termas" in Spanish). We went to Los Pozones that night, and soaked our tired muscles in the natural stone pools under the starry sky.
Wiped out from our hike, Friday was spent napping and editing photos, although we did make it out for some artisenal cheese. Turns out there are a ton of German immigrants in Southern Chile - kuchen is another a popular treat here. We also finally took part in what seems to be Chile's national snack - the COMPLETO. Its a hot dog with guac, tomatoes, mayo, and various other possible toppings. We have decided to reserve judgment until we can compare the Pucon completo to some other towns' offerings. Nothing like holding a country wide hot dog eating contest...
We continue our journey south tomorrow, thanks for tuning in and we send best wishes to all of you!!
To view all 32 photos in this entry please selects "view all photos" or "view as slideshow" above, or click on any photo to continue through the full album.