Puerto Varas, Patagonia Chile

What a nightmare of a border crossing! We hadn’t realised it was a Saturday and also a Bank Holiday weekend. The whole of Argentina was trying to cross the border to Chile!! What was supposed to be a 6 hour bus journey turned into a 10 hour one.

The following morning we decided to explore the town. We stepped out of the door and at the end of the street was this….

Wow. A volcano at the end of the street. Amazing. We made our way into town and sat by Lago Llanquihue. It had 4 volcanoes on the horizon. One of them, Volcano Calbuco is America’s most active volcano and last erupted in April 2015. What a magnification site. The lake itself reaches 350m deep in some places. It’s huge.

We called in at the supermarket and got some salad boxes and some cooked chicken to eat by the lake. There was a couple busking at the side of it. The guy was playing the guitar and the woman was singing “Halelujah” in the sweetest voice. When she had finished, people started clapping her and Kev asked if she could sing “Ging gang gooley”. 😲

Kev decided he was going to buy a guitar and busk, to make a bit of extra money! Now anyone that knows Kev will know he is tone deaf and has no rythm. 😂 His song he decided he was going to sing was “🎶🎵Mr Mañana, Mr Tomorrow, Mr Buenos Noches, Mr Goodnight🎶🎵” This was sung in a strained, out of tune voice. (This is a made up song by the way haha) Apparently I had to dance to this at the side of him….hmm don’t think we would make much money 😂.

We saved the salad dishes as these could be reused for lunches. We wondered around the town and both of us were desperate for the toilet. We sneaked into the casino and saw them straight away. Outside was a sign saying “exclusively for clients”. Oh well we’d better be quick. There was no one in the toilets so I made the most of it and washed my salad boxes in the basins. Haha.

The sun was beating down on us and we hadn’t had this for the last few days in Argentina so we thought we’d make the most of it and sat and listened to a jazz band by the edge of the lake. They weren’t really our cup of tea but the crowd enjoyed them. They applauded them and Kev said it sounded like a load of nudists sitting down 😉😂 (Nude bums sitting on seats 😲).

After buying some food for the next few days (we’re staying here a week which is unusual for us) we set off to find a collectivo. In Argentina a collectivo is what they call a local bus, in Chile it is a taxi. The Chilean collectivos have certain routes that they drive along and you just flag it down and get in, like a normal taxi. The difference is that they pick up anyone along the route until his car is full. You pay a set price, which was 72p each for us, and just tell him where you want to get out. They will deviate from their set route to drop you off outside your home though. They then just turn around and go back along the route picking more people up. It’s a brilliant idea and would be great in the UK.

Day 2 we took the bus to Fruitillar. We could have gone with a tour company, on a coach, for the princely sum of £23 each. Being on a budget, and also typical Yorkshire folk, we took the local bus and it cost us £5.81 for both of us…return!! 😮.

Fruitillar is a small town that was populated by Germans. The Chilean President brought 47 families over in 1856 and gave them 500 planks of wood per family, a cow and a plot of land. They then built their homes here, so it has a very European feel to it. It is a very pretty town and the houses and shops still look the same.

The bakeries all sell strudel and various different cakes. We are trying to eat healthy so we just stare in the windows, fantasise and walk on 😂.

We walked along the edge of the lake taking in the sites of Volcano Osorno. It’s just breathtaking from every angle.

On Valentines Day Kev was his normal charming self. He told me he’d got lots of good things planned, but seeing as I opened my eyes and breathed, I ruined his whole day!! 😯 We don’t buy each other gifts or cards anymore. Believe it or not we actually love each to pieces and don’t need commercialised days to tell each other this.

After being away for month and walking an average of 7 to 10 miles everyday we decided to have a chill out day on the beach. We walked around the bay of the lake taking in the sites of the volcanoes and the lush green trees surrounding a quaint church and a very odd museum. We spent a good few hours just reading and sunbathing…a rarity for us.

After having a chill day, the following one was spent sight seeing. Oh wow. What amazing sights we saw. We enquired at the local tour office to see what they charged to take us to Petrohue on the bus and then a ride on a boat around the lake…it worked out at £47 each 😲. We also had to pay £10 entry into the national park on top of that. We thanked them and went to the local bus station and made our own way there!

We got dropped off 6km from the lake, so we set off walking. We like to keep our step count up and it was more scenic on foot. We passed the ticket office for the entry to the park, but seeing as it was only 8.30am it wasn’t open so we walked straight past…£10 saved haha.

We could hear running water through the trees so decided to investigate. You don’t see this sat on a bus! It had like a blue haze and the sun hadn’t come out properly at this time.

We carried on walking down the road and could hear a bird. What a gorgeous looking woodpecker he was 😍

On turning a corner we came across this view…..the buses were just driving past again!

We were nearly at the same height as the volcano 😀.

As we were approaching the lake we could see flashes of colour through the trees……what a sight.

In some places it was blue and others it was green. It was breathtaking. We walked towards the edge of the lake and was immediately approached asking if we wanted a trip on a small boat. He wanted £19.50 for half an hour. No thanks. The next offer was £26 for one hour. 😀 He’d already got 4 people on board so we joined them and got up close and personal with the scenery.

The other people on board were from Spain, but one of them spoke English. We passed an hour away chatting whilst feeling the wind blow on our faces and hearing the water splashing. As we were getting off the boat the 4 people gave their money to the captain. We noticed they didn’t give him as much as us so we asked how much they’d paid. Hmm seems because he thought they were local they only paid £32 for 4 of them! I got one of them to translate to him that we wanted our money back and would only pay the same as them…….he gave us our money back and didn’t even argue haha. We just had an hours boat ride for £15.50 😊.

We’d been up since 6.20am so at 12.30pm we were starving. We sat down on the volcanic sand to eat our picnic…turkey salad for me and cheese and egg salad for Kev. We’d prepared it the night before. We couldn’t have picked a nicer spot to have lunch.

We walked around the lake and sat admiring the colours in the water and the surrounding mountains. Kev was actually quite nice for once and said “Look at this, what more could I ask for? Stunning views and sharing them with the love of my life”. He can be nice sometimes. 😊

We sat down on a log further round the lake and he started singing🎶🎵 “ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no Lago (lake) wider enough to keep me from loving you”🎵🎶. Who is this man I’m sat at the side of ?? Literally within 5 minutes he said “It’s pretty quiet and remote here isn’t it? It’d be a good place to do you in cos no one would find you!” Oh he was back with a vengeance 😂.

We walked the 6km back to the bus stop and by this point my knees were aching like hell. 😣 we took the local bus back to Puerto Varas and headed back to the house. All in all the day had cost us £26. We saved £78 by doing it ourselves and seen more of the natural beauty 😉😎.

On our last day in Puerto Varas we decided to actually visit the volcano we’d been seeing so much of. If we went with the tour companies it would have cost us around £25 each, just to get there then we’d have to pay £5.50 for the chair lift up. Kev decided we would do it cheaper by ourselves using local transport. We took the bus to Ensenada (which cost us £2.90 for both of us), then started looking for other buses to take us to the volcano. We couldn’t see anywhere so popped into a shop to ask where the buses were. Hmm seems there weren’t any buses that went to the volcano so we had 2 options….walk for miles up steep and windy hills or thumb a lift! Guess what we did?

We got in the back of a pick up truck! 😂. He wasn’t going all the way so dropped us at the turn off for the volcano. Another car was behind us so I jumped out quickly, put a big cheese grin on my face, and stuck my thumb out. 🖒how could they refuse?

It worked!! 😉 they took us to the volcano and wished us luck….that meant they weren’t taking us back down 😮.

What a view. It was like standing on the edge of the world. It was utterly breathtaking. Mountains and a lake at one side and the volcano at the other!

We trekked down Volcano Osorno and we felt humbled. We really have been to some amazing places and seen some wondrous sights.

Now we needed to scrounge a lift back down to the town! Haha. It didn’t take us long…maybe 4 minutes 😁. We got a lift to the bottom and they asked where we were going. I told them “The green lagoon”. So they took us there. Haha. It wasn’t even worth a photo! We walked along the road and Kev suggested thumbing a lift 58 kilometres back to Puerto Varas!?! Oh well it was worth a try.

It took us about 7 minutes took get a lift 😂😂 We are getting good at this! They took us right back to town so we spent our last night here sat on a bench staring at the volcano we’d just climbed to the base of.

If we’d have done the trip with the tour company we’d have spent a fortune over the last 2 days. Today has cost us £2.90 instead of £48…bargain 😉😎.

Tomorrow we head further south to Ancud on the Island of chiloé. Hopefully we can do some whale watching here.

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