Friday, 14 December 2012

Penultimate blog 2012

Hello everyone and greetings from Pucon in central Chile, an area of lakes , mountains and volcanoes  This morning it looks like the English Lake District  low cloud, cool and we have had rain in the night!!

Yesterday was beautiful sunshine and Villarica, the snow-capped volcano looked magnificent  although apparently not so good on the surface, too icy and slippery for people to climb to the top..........not us we were searching for accommodation for Christmas.

We left Santiago , after a lovely week, in what has become  one of my favourite cities, It has a bit of everything, culture, classic architecture  parks and green spaces, vibrant food markets and a good travel infrastructure. We soon got the hang of the metro and used our Bip cards like the locals.......saves queuing for tickets each time. 

We left on Saturday morning and got the train to Chillan, not a bad journey but the buses are more comfortable!! Chris was decidely unwell after beers, Chinese food and red wine........he looked like death and got little sympathy. We planned to overnight in Chillan but what a strange place, just a small town and it either had grubby hostels or expensive empty hotels and no concept that lowering the price might get some guests. In the end we found an okay hostel  with a shared bathroom, but only one other guest and we ate some more Chinese food and hit the sack.

We were up bright and early Sunday for our bus to Temoco, but first had a fried ham and egg sandwich in the cafe next to the bus station.........I just imagined it was bacon...... It was full of locals some of whom were just coming back from a night out and were having their sandwiches and chips!! We swopped bus terminals in Temoco and got a little minibus to Pucon. Chile doesn't have one terminal for all of the buses together, each company had their own, makes for more difficult travelling but we managed.  

We had booked a hostel and it was 2 streets away. Its a lovely homely place, the staff are great and there is a big shared kitchen. It is really helping keep our costs down and allowing us to eat the food we like to cook rather than limited or very expensive restaurant choices. Villarica volcano looms above town and the lakeside is very pretty but sadly there is no place to sit and watch the sunset with a cocktail!! After our travelling we ate out on Sunday night and pigged out on another plate of was delicious, tastier than Argentina!!

We have been out and about on the local buses, we walked about 8 k the other day, visited a village closer to the Argentinian border. Wednesday and yesterday we spent looking around Lago Clafequen,south of here for somewhere for Christmas. Pucon is nice but it is very busy and very touristy. We went to Conaripe and Lican Ray and liked both , we found a good place in Lican Ray but yesterday when we went back to book the guy put the price up by 10,000 pesos a night........We also found a lovely hostel in Villarica and thought we would treat ourselves for a couple of night, it was spotless ( run by a German woman) with views of the lake and lovely little balconies. However eventually we found a place in Villarica, right near the lake and it was a bit more than we wanted to pay so the treat has gone out of the window.

We are here in Pucon till Sunday and then at 1 pm are being picked up to go and stay on a farm for 2 nights and do some horse riding. It is only about 12k from Pucon but in a lovely setting............our little hire car didn't really like the road.......its a little Suzuki alto but it was cheap and has got us around. We have a room in a shared cabin, but at the minute no one else is booked. We will ride Sunday and then see how we feel about another session.

Then Tuesday we are back in Pucon for two nights before our 10 days in Villarica for Christmas and then on 30th December we will probably get a night bus back to Santiago to start our trek north and into Peru. When we were in Santiago there were loads of market stalls and cheap shops with Christmas decorations in but here in Pucon it is like Keswick in the lakes a bit posh, but must find something to make our Villarica place look festive. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen living area, wi-fi and cable TV and an outside space for when the sun is shining............hopefully on Christmas day.......

Hope you are all well and looking forward to a family time at Christmas and my next blog will be a special Christmas edition!!! 

Best wishes to everyone

Sunshine and smiles in Santiago.......

The blue lagoon.......not sure the picture does it justice

The volcano from the lounge window of the hostal

Lunch at Lake Caburgua
Norma xx

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