Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dan and Dana's Excellent Adventure Part 2: Puerto Varas and Chiloe

It has been a rainy day (well more like a rainy week), and we are relaxing in the comfort of our hostel while we listen to the rain outside.

Sunday was our last day in Puerto Varas, and we took a tour around Lago Llanguihue.  The landscape in the area is very green and lush, and we enjoyed many beautiful views and pictures.  We also went to a German colonial museum that showed some houses from the German settlers, and it was spread out over a huge space of land.

Dinner at a German restaurant in Puerto Varas

Dessert at a coffee place after dinner

cazuela for lunch the next day

I've never seen an area of Chile that looks like this before.

At night we packed up and said our farewells to the wonderful staff at La Casa Azul.  Unfortunately we forgot to take pictures, but it is very clean, very organized, and very well run.  I would reconmend them to anyone traveling to Puerto Varas.

On Monday morning we caught a bus to Ancud, which is a city in the northern part of Chiloe.  Chiloe is an island, and so when we went there our bus drove onto a ferry (along with 7 or 8 cars).  During the ferry ride we were able to get out of the bus and take pictures, so that was pretty cool.

The bus is on a huge ferry here, along with some cars. 
The view from the ferry leaving Puerto Varas and on the way to Chiloe
So before this I was updating from my Ipod touch in the hostel as there was no public computer available.  Now I´m at an internet café in Puerto Varas waiting for our night bus back to Santiago.

We arrived in Chiloe around 1 in the afternoon, and we found our hostel easily.  It´s a family run place and the woman Mirta is very warm, welcoming, and energetic.  She wants her guests to be happy and get the best deal possible for tours, and she also enjoys sharing a cup of tea or breakfast with them each day to get to know them and see how their visit is going.

Our first day there we decided to go to a fonda since there wasn´t much happening in the area.  We were staying in Ancud, which is the northern part of Chiloe, and apparently also the slowest and least alive.  The fonda had an interesting mix of artisans, cueca, food, and general celebration.  We snacked on kettle corn while we walked around taking in the atmosphere, and then we sat down at a stand and ordered a dozen meat and egg empandas and 2 choripanes (sausages in bread like a sandwich).  After wandering around a bit more we got some hot chocolate and decided to call it a day with the cold rainy weather.

preparing brochetas or anticuchos

fried empandas!

Inside they have meat, onions, and egg.

Promoters of health.  I love how their menu includes fried emapanadas and alcohol.

Part of a cueca competition

On the walk back to the hostel

Tuesday was the 18 holiday, and we didn´t have any tours or plans.  Luckily Mirta knew someone that does tours, so for 15.000 pesos (about 30 bucks) we went on a full day tour that showed the main churches of Chiloe.  We went to various parts of the island such as Castro, Nercón, Dalcuhue, Curaco de Velez, Cachao,  and Chonchi to name a few.  The churches were constructed of wood and were very old and very beautiful.  We had a few hours in the middle of the day to explore an atrisan market and get lunch along the coast, and it was nice to have some free time to ourselves.  By the time the tour was over I was on church overload and it was almost 10 at night (we were picked up at 9:30), so we were tired and just turned in.

On Wednesday we woke up to heavy rain, so it was hard to get out of bed and get moving.  We eventually decided to check out the fonda again since no restaurants would be open for lunch given the holiday, and after that we attempted walking around to explore.  I couldn´t find the map that Mirta had given us, and after wandering around a bit it started to rain pretty heavily, so we retreated back to the hostel.  After relaxing for a few hours and playing some Angry Birds we enjoyed a cup of tea then some wine and cheese with Mirta and her husband Pedro.

Today has been a travel day so far, but that´s not necessarily a bad thing.  I was able to get our bus tickets changed so we would have about 4 hours in Puerto Varas, and we have had time to get lunch at the German restaurant again, hang out at the internet café we´re at now, and in a bit we´re going to get some chocolate fondue for dessert at a restaurant around the corner.

fruit, nuts, marshmallow squares, and coconut.  I figure I'm already nutty enough so I stayed away from the almonds and peanuts.

All I can say is yum.
After the 12 hour bus ride back to Santiago, we´re going to enjoy a relaxing few days with a few errands, Mexican food and drinks, a tour of the Andes, and a wine tour.  It will be a nice end to a much needed vacation.

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