Days 75 – 78 – Puerto Varas + Chiloé

80% of our trips so far have been by bus, and our latest journey from Valparaíso to Puerto Varas was no different. The 12h night bus was pretty comfy as far as busses go, but not comfy enough to stop us from daydreaming about the bed that awaited us in Chile’s lake district. Upon arrival at 9am, we plonked our rucksacks on our shoulders and found our way to our pre-booked hostel. Shoulders tired from the mass of rocks we’ve accumulated over the past 3 months, we gently knocked on the door. And knocked again. And a little bit louder. And one more time. Nobody was in. Since when are hostels shut in the morning? We waited, knocked, telephoned – nada. After this excellent start to the day we made our way to town in the hope of finding breakfast and wifi. 4 coffees, a stern email and numerous phone calls later we eventually got through to the hostel, but by then were so annoyed we decided to kindly give them the finger and find a new home. Best call ever. We soon stumbled across a backpacker’s hostel,  Casa Pistacho, run by 2 of the loveliest girls, with the most amazing views, excellent kitchen and communal spaces, and (bonus) it was even cheaper. It was so cosy and well-equipped we spent every night indoors cooking for ourselves, playing cards and sharing stories with other travellers. It was homely and we were happy to have found it. 

Puerto Varas is a charming little city at the foot of two majestic snow-tipped volcanos and wrapped around lake Llanquihue. German influence in this area is very high, demonstrated by the wooden chalets and popular German cuisine (including amazing kuchen / cake); which is why the town gives off an Austrian ski resort kind of vibe. With such inviting landscapes the opportunities are endless, but with only 2 days to play with we had to be strict and selective with our agenda. But seeing as selectiveness is not one of our fortes we decided to rent a car and see it all instead. Our little car cruised us around the 250km loop giving us the chance to see some lovely little towns, view points and nature spots along the way. 

In our time here we saw and touched 2 volcanos, walked in volcano lava rivers, ate a sandwich under a volcano, drove up a volcanos, and took many many selfies with the volcanos. We also saw famous Petrohué waterfalls that looked like ice-cream, walked through forests in search of lagoons, and broke the soles of our socks by hiking on sand. Luck was on our side both days as what’s usually a rainy town turned out to be sun-filled and warm(ish), perfect for immersing ourselves in these glorious lands of mountainous lakes. 

Our next stop is going to be Coyhaique in Patagonia but figuring out how to get there proved to be harder than expected. We’ve been comfortably successful in organising our trips in every country, but suddenly in Patagonia things seem to be a lot slower and a lot quieter. Luckily a fellow traveller gave us a few tips and suggested we get there on an overnight ferry which left from Chiloè, a little island just south of Puerto Varas. We arrived on the island in the morning and explored Ancud, the town we were staying in, in about 20 minutes. Memorable things of Ancud are: the smell of seaweed, plastic flowers sold everywhere, the burning sunset, and curanto. The latter is a local dish and,  because we’re brave travellers always trying to blend in with the locals (yep, with our blonde hair and blue eyes), we gave it a shot. We found a restaurant and, without really knowing what to expect, got served a portion of curanto. Described on Lonely Planet as “a soup of fish and meat” we were somewhat disappointed when we saw a plate covered in clams, boiled meat and splodges of grey splodge. Neither of us like clams or splodges, so we basically only had the boiled chicken. We eventually found out that the light grey splodge was an overcooked huge gnocco and the dark grey splodge was boiled mashed potatoes. We somehow survived. 

These past few days have been filled with hearty nature and a lot of homecooked food, two things which we’ve learned to appreciate so much more during this trip. Now looking forward to our next step: volunteering in a farm in Patagonia. 

Ciao for now! X

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