The Lovely Lake District

Trip Start Jun 09, 2010
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Trip End Jun 10, 2011


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Where I stayed
Casa Molina

Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Saturday, February 26, 2011

We enjoyed the Lake District of Chile for almost a week. It is a beautiful area, with lots of tourist infrastructure, beautiful scenery, and outdoor activities galore.  Maybe we'll buy a summer cottage here.  If only it were a little closer to home. 

Monday

We woke up this morning feeling totally refreshed after a long sleep in a very comfortable bed.  We looked out our window to admire the spectacular view, but unfortunately, it was cloudy.  We checked out Puerto Varas, a cute town on the shores of Lago Llanquihue (pronounced yan-kee-way).  The area was settled by German immigrants, so there are many German style buildings and plenty of opportunities to eat kuchens and tortes.  We opted to try the empanadas (meat filled pastries) at Danes.  Meat + pastry = good

Tuesday

Another cloudy day, but we decided to get outside and try to see Volcan Osorno.  It was about 1.5 hours drive along the shores of the lake.  A beautiful drive, except for the major road construction.  We reached the base of the Volcano, and then started on a very steep road which zig-zagged up the side of the mountain.  We got into the clouds, and by the time we reached the visitor centre the visibility was approximately 1 meter.  So much for the spectacular views.

After talking to a very helpful park ranger, we headed to the Solitario hike.  It started off through a temperate forest, not unlike home.  The ground was definitely volcanic, with pumice galore.  Eventually the hike opened up into a huge, open valley.  The clouds were starting to lift.  We were hopeful that Osorno would show itself.  And eventually, it did!  The hike was worth it!

Wednesday

Paul made good use of our free wi-fi at Casa Molina, using it to secure FRENCH OPEN TICKETS!  We’re going to the semi-finals.  Woo hoo. 

We had a relaxing morning, enjoying a delicious breakfast at Casa Molina.  Then we took a drive up the road, along the lake in the opposite direction as yesterday.  Our destination was Frutillar, a colonial German town.  Of course, we had blackforest torte on a patio overlooking the lake.  We had lunch at CapPuccini’s, a cafe in the new Opera house (southernmost opera in the world).  It is literally on the lake, with views of Volcan Osorno. 

After lunch, we went to the museum, a replica of the first buildings in the town.  It included a working water mill, and a blacksmith where we got a lucky horseshoe.  In the afternoon, the clouds lifted and we had amazing views from the pier in Frutillar, and then from our room at Casa Molina.

Thursday

It’s sunny!  Sadly, we said goodbye to Casa Molina to move to a hotel in town.  Lucky us, Casa Kalfu was also fantastic so we weren’t sad for long.  And only 5 minutes from the beach.  We spent the afternoon working on our tan along with the rest of the town’s population

Friday

Our final adventure in the lake district (and boy was it an adventure) – kayaking!  Our tour company picked us up at 7:30 am, 10 minutes early.  Luckily, our host at Casa Kalfu had some spare travel mugs to lend us, so we enjoyed coffee on the drive.  It was quite a drive out to the Cochamo Valley, first along the lake towards Ensenada, and then south along a dirt road.  It took almost 3 hours to get to Lake Tagua Tagua.  But wow, what a place to kayak.  The water was a beautiful aquamarine colour, and in the morning, we were blessed with calm conditions.  Our guide Andres assured us that the wind would pick up later.  We paddled the length of the lake, admiring the steep mountains that framed the lake, and then a beautiful waterfall.

To get to our lunch spot, we bushwacked through blackberry bushes (ouch) and up a very  steep slope.  At the top, we were rewarded with a beautiful view and a wild cherry tree.  Not bad! 

As promised, the wind really picked up in the afternoon, and we had quite the adventure trying to get back across the lake.  The waves were so big that they capsized one of our travel companion’s kayak.  Twice!  So we resorted to beaching ourselves and dragging the kayaks across the beach.  Good thing I married a mule.  He was a good kayak puller. 

The adventure continued when we missed our ferry.  So, a 2 hour wait for the next (final) crossing.  It was quite a day.  We finally made it home at 10:30pm.  Chileans eat late, so we did find a great Italian place that was packed and happy to serve us at 11pm.  What a day! 
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