The Lake District, Chileย 

So we took a double decker bus from Santiago down to a place called Villaricca. We knew the journey was going to be 10 hours so planned to get snacks before we boarded. That didn’t go to plan. The supermarket wasn’t open before we set off so with a bag of cherries and 3 “bird seed bars”, as Kev calls them, we thought we’d get something at the bus station. Nope…no one selling sandwiches.

I’d only had 5 hours sleep the previous night so no sooner had the bus set off I nodded off whilst Kev started planning our route and places to visit. It drives him nuts all the planning but he’s good at it. I leave him to it, cos whatever I chose to do is usually wrong in his eyes so crack on Kev! ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I woke up the bus attendant was coming round with a clip board. Kev said he was taking orders for lunch…yeah right. “Seriously he is” he says. We’ve had lunch served on previous buses so all was going to be good. You can’t travel far without snacks, right? When the attendant gets to us we were ready to order chicken sandwiches…oh no….”name and passport number please” he says. Gutted! I could kill my husband. He likes to make up stories all the time just for fun, but this time even he believed himself.

After being on the bus 8 hours we finally managed to get a bag of crisps and bottle of coke. We were starving. The cherries had started to ferment and smelt like cheap wine so they ended up in the bin! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

The airbnb we were staying in was lovely. The couple, Olga and Roberto, picked us up at the bus station and took us to their gorgeous clean home with views of the Lago (Lake). They prepared cheese, salami, homemade chutney and fresh bread for us. They then took us for a walk around the lake to show us where everything was. ๐Ÿ˜€ Wow, what a welcome.

We chose this place (or Kev did) as it wasn’t as touristy as it’s neighbour Pucon. I’d hate to see Pucon then! We were the only Gringos though, as far as we knew.

The scenery was amazing, the blue water of the lake met with sky and was surrounded by trees and snow topped Volcanoes. Wow!

Kev has been his normal charming self, paying me compliments all day. Saying “I love you to bits, you fat f*ck, but I don’t mind you being fat, cos you’re my fat f*ck” he winks and laughs. I’m used to his banter to it doesn’t phase me.๐Ÿ˜‚ He then carried on saying “It’s good marrying fat girls cos you know they’ll be faithful, as no one else would want them!” Omg can you believe he’d say such a thing?? ๐Ÿ˜‚ he says this whilst we’re laying sunbathing near the lake for half an hour, and he decided to “massage” my belly..in his words he was “helping me break down the fat” . ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

We walked on and witnessed some kind of christening or blessing by the waters edge. Kev decided they were washing away the sins of people that had been evil, as it was a Sunday. I told him he’d be in the water for a whole week if they washed away the evil things he said! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Chile is not the cheapest place we’ve been to, in fact it runs on a par with the UK in a lot of things. Accommodation, food and drinks are expensive for a South American country but most transportation is cheap.

We took the bus to visit Pucon on our second full day, this cost just over ยฃ1 for a 40 minute bus ride. It was touristy but not in a bad way. There were lots of restaurants, bars and shops selling locally made artesan products of the Mapuche people. The place was packed. It is summer here so everyone is on their holidays.

We went to see the lake and mountains…wowzers. Breathtaking views.

You walk down the street and there is a snow capped volcano at the end of it! We decided we liked the place so booked to stay for 2 nights. We sat and had our picnic lunch looking out over the cabanas at the huge volcano.

Ginger and Paddington, above, making the most of the views here! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ“๐Ÿป

On our last day in Villarricca we took the bus to a place called Lican Ray (pronounced leecan rye). In the UK bus drivers sit behind glass partitions and keep their money away from the public. Here, the driver has no partitions, his money is kept in a wooden box at the side of him and you can choose to pay him either when you get on or get off!!

The dusty roads and pavements of Lican Ray were a world away from Pucon and Villarricca. It was quite run down but the lake and mountains made up for it.

The restaurants and cafe are expensive to what you’d expect. We paid ยฃ12 for chicken and chips and a dish called Cazuela,which is a tasteless broth with corn on the cob in, a piece of beef, a whole boiled potato and a piece of squash. We also got a bottle of water and can of coke. The food here isn’t spicy, it’s quite bland really. The street food is mainly hot dogs. They sell “Italian style” this is a hot dog topped with mashed advocado, sliced tomato and mayonnaise?!? If any Italian saw it they’d be disgusted. Lol.

We’ve done quite well with eating over the last couple of weeks and not had any snacks in between meals. I told Kev this morning I thought it looked like I’d lost a bit of weight. “Ha! Stop fooling yourself you big fat sod, and get ready” he says. Cheeky mare. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I can take it cos he’s no slim Jim himself ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ–

There is a guy staying in the airbnb with us called Fred (not his real name as he’s from Haiti). He was chatting with Roberto, our Airbnb host this morning. Kev said “I’m sure Fred sells cigarettes or something, I heard them talking about tobacco”. Haha he makes me laugh. They were talking about work, “trabajo” (pronounced trabaho).

We spent the day walking round and sitting on the jetty taking in the views, before heading back to Villarricca. We cooked tea in the casa (house). Weird but filling…..chicken hot dogs chopped up into pasta sauce, with farfalle pasta and parmesan cheese! Haha. We know how to live.

We left the airbnb and got the bus to Pucon for 2 nights. This time were in a hostel. The room isn’t that great but the hostel itself is an old Pioneer’s house. It’s made from wood and everything in it is from another era…..apart from the kitchen. The views outside the door and end of the street make up for the room, as Kev is pointing out below ๐Ÿ˜‚.

It’s like walking around Banff in Canada, with the mountains at the end of a busy street filled with restaurant and shops.

We took a walk down to the waterfront and there was and gardener watering the plants with a hose pipe. Two young lads went up and asked him if he’d squirt water over their heads as it was so hot. We sat down on the bench at the side of them to take in the view and the next thing I heard Kev saying “Seรฑor” and he’s animating to squirt me with the hose pipe!! Haha the gardener had good sense. He mimicked that I’d hit him if he did it. ๐Ÿ˜‚

On our last day in Pucon we decided to do a little trek around the National park lakes. We weren’t sure how strenuous it was going to be so I took my walking poles, just in case. I need these if we’re walking on uneven terrain as I have arthritis in both knees and it’s very painful.

We took the local bus and it just kept climbing further up the mountains. The scenery was stunning, very green.

Omg. We weren’t prepared for how hard the walk was going to be. It took us 4 hours, including including a half hour lunch break, to reach Lago Verde (green lake). The walk was just constantly going up hill, up steep steps and paths. I couldn’t have done it without my walking poles. I wanted to turn rind and go down at one point. It was SO hard. I didn’t give in though, with Kevs encouragement I plodded on.

We had a beautiful view at our lunch stop. We had taken a tuna salad with a boiled egg for lunch but seeing as we didn’t have as tupperware dish we put it in a plastic freezer bag! Needs must and all that ๐Ÿ˜. Our hair is a bit swept back from the heat and perspiring ๐Ÿ˜‚

The views on the way up the mountain were beautiful. Luscious green trees surrounding clear calm lakes and waterfalls. It was so peaceful and tranquil.

4 hours later we reached the top! Lago Verde was beautiful. We took a few photos then sat down, took our boots off and cooled our aching feet in the lake. Poor fish ๐Ÿ˜ซ

We didn’t sit for long as we needed to get the 5.10pm bus home and it was 2.20pm. We thought it would be easier going down. It was definitely quicker but the pressure on our knees with steepness was horrendous. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

After we had got off the bus in the centre of town we went for a well earned ice cold beer! We looked a right pair of tramps. Our feet, ankles and legs were filthy, but we didn’t care. The ice cold nectar was amazing….so much so that Kev had 3! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Once the alcohol had loosened his tongue he decided to abuse me a little more in his version of Spanish. According to him I was was a “perro con lipsteek”… a dog with lipstick ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I was trying his baseball cap on whilst looking at the menu and trying to translate it. “Oh ‘Trucha’ is trout” I said. “I wonder if it’s an old trout like you?” He was creased up laughing at his own jokes. At the time I was trying to take a selfie to see how dirty my face was and what the baseball cap looked like, I couldn’t help but laugh…this was my selfie. Not very glamorous but funny.

After his 3 pints, and my 1 pint we headed back to the hostel. He decided to finish off the bottle of red wine he’d opened the day before. Oh dear, he just got like a giggly schoolboy. We laughed and laughed…. which is good after being married 32 years. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Friday we get the bus to Argentina. Let’s hope I can get through the border as I’ve lost my immigration slip that I need at the border!

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