The Lake District, Chilean StyleJune 13 in Chile
We high tailed it out of Dodge, sorry Santiago, and drove south as fast as we could heading for the Lake District. The weather was pretty dismal but at least the road was a good (flat, dual carriageway & no potholes) so we made good time. We stayed one night at a rather noisy Copec, but these are the most glamorous service stations you could imagine (hot showers & WiFi), and another a nice rest area just off the road. After a 3rd day driving we rolled into Villarrica, a nice little town by a big lake and thought it was a nice place to spend a night, although we soon realised there wasn't much going on so the following morning we drove the half an hour down to Pucón, the tourist centre for the area. It was like arriving in a posh ski town in rural America or even New Zealand.
Elvis's new travelling companion is temporarily living here, so we got in touch to see if she would like to meet up and were delighted to be invited around for a curry. She was lovely and knows what it's like travelling and also offered us showers, so we felt very much at home.
The following day was absolutely glorious, and having wimped out of an expensive guided volcano climb (mainly because of the dog, plus it was half the height of my last climb!), we decided to try and hike around the base. This was easier said than done due to a huge dump of snow - we were advised to install our chains but thought we could creep a little way up without them, but after sliding around a bit we soon ended parked up back at the entrance. We had a lovely walk up the way we thought about driving, and had to help a 4x4 stuck on the ice! When we got to the end of the road we ventured off to the side and were soon waist deep on snow!
After a quiet night at a lovely spot on a black sand beach we drove a little north to do another walk but were warned we would be in deep snow again so decided on a shorter hike to 3 waterfalls followed by a soak in one of the numerous thermal baths around here.
We continued winding our way around the lakes staying at lovely free campsites and one day we even braved a quick dip in an extremely cold lake to freshen up.
Although the area was very pretty, due to the price of everything we made the decision to head over the pass back into Argentina where we would be able to afford steak and red wine again. It also meant we would reach Patagonia which felt like a good way to end our Southern trajectory.Read more