It was the bus journey from hell! We were finally getting off the island and looking forward to the next part of our adventure. The scenery started to change when we got to the mainland but we didn’t get to see too much of it as I’d noticed the bus driver opening her window and turning the radio up louder. Sure signs of fatigue and trying to fight it! We kept looking at her eyes in her rear view mirror. She kept blinking trying to stay awake. Kev was going to suggest he drive or me to sit at the side of her and keep her talking. Everyone else was asleep on the bus and totally unaware of her swerving around the gravel roads. The back end kept skidding. I was getting ready to shout at her to wake her up. It was quite scary! 😮
We made it in one piece to the next town, La Junta, but it didn’t have much to offer. We decided to move on to the next little town called Puyuhuapi. Everyone that got off our bus (7 people) headed straight to the main road to thumb a lift. We headed to the bus stop. We stood there about half an hour and saw nothing. The place was deserted. We decided to hitch a lift too. We chose our spot carefully. There was a bit of competition so we stood at a junction. Local cars coming out of La Junta, and passing traffic had to drive past us. When I say passing traffic we saw 1 car every 20 minutes. Haha. It was a scenic place to thumb a lift though.
Kev above, sat on the pavement fed up of waiting for passing cars
We’d been there about an hour and still no lift. I put my lippy on, to make me look more respectable 😗, and stuck my thumb out too.
It worked. Out of the 9 of us stood waiting for a lift, they chose me and Kev. Maybe because we didn’t look as scruffy as the others or maybe because we were older than them. Who cares. We got a free lift 44 km to the next town. The lady dropped us in town and I asked her if she knew a good hostel. She pointed to it and wished us well. As we stepped out of her car, there was about 6 men and women, obviously local, sat chatting on some benches. They looked at us as though we’d horns on our head! Guess you don’t see many blonde women, and men, lol.
I knocked on the door of the hostel and asked if they had any vacancies for tonight. She looked at me strangely. I used my Google translate to say I wanted a private double bedroom for 2 nights (We decided to stay longer). She said,in Spanish, “here?”. “Yes” I replied. Still with a confused look on her face she said “no” and said something else I couldn’t understand. “Ok” I said, and walked away. Kev spotted the sign as we walked out of the grounds. It was a restaurant not a hostel! Haha. Oops 😂.
We went over the road and they only charged £9.50 each for the night, with WiFi, shower and kitchen. You really do get what you pay for sometimes!
Our basic room
Not a great shower
The WiFi was good though 😉. We dumped our bags and went to explore. It was overcast and a bit cooler than we were used to but the scenery was lovely. We were back in the fjords with great views of the lake.
The place was founded by 4 Germans in 1935. They started a carpet and rug business here, which is still very successful and they ship rugs all over the world.
The houses, as all over Chile, are made from either wood or corregated metal. They are very basic, and mostly in need of repair. They have excellent views though.
We were walking past a building and said “omg. Look and the state of this. It’s a tip”. Haha spoke too soon. It was the back of our hostel! 😕
The local petrol station was tiny! At least their was something in Chile that was cheap. …diesel. less than £1 a litre.
It has a little main square, with a children’s playground in and also excerise machines..we took advantage and did a few exercises. Some local teenagers thought it was hilarious to see 2 gringos exercising..😂
It was Friday so we treat ourself to a meal in a local restaurant. Menu of the day…salad, steak and chips and a chocolate mousse, all for £7.25. Wow. It was gorgeous but our appetites have shrunk so couldn’t eat it all.
We walked it off by checking out what this little place had to offer. A supermarket…
A fire station with 2 fire engines 😄
Some amazing plants. It looks like a film set from Lost again.
As we walked down a pathway we saw a little cute dog sat looking at a bridge in the distance and it seemed quite nervous. Hmm I wonder why? 3 other dogs were sat guarding the entrance to the bridge so it couldn’t cross! 😂
The following day we took a bus to see the Hanging Glacier, that this little village is famous for. We knew it was going to involve trekking and as I’d left in such an hurry from the last place, I’d forgotten my walking poles! Serves me right 😉. I found some bamboo and a thick branch and we set off walking through the dense forests.
The trail was quite tricky but I was determined to see the glacier. There was a look out point and photo opportunity before the major trek so we diverted and got some photos.
We carried on the trail, and it was climbing higher and higher. We weren’t sure if I’d be able to reach the top with my bad knees, but having lost some weight they don’t seem as bad. We persevered. We crossed a bridge over the rapids and managed to get some great photos.
After 1hr 45 mins of uphill trekking we reached the top. We’d burnt 1875 calories getting there (fitbit) 😲. We literally just got to the top with about 2 mins to spare before the clouds came over and it started raining!
Thankfully we’d taken photos on the way up or we’d have been gutted to climb all that way without seeing the glacier. We’d taken a packed lunch of tuna, carrots, peppers and tomatoes. We’d probably burnt more calories than we were eating haha. We sat and ate it and as the rain got heavier we knew we had to get down quickly. The pathway was muddy on the way up and we had to cross stones covered with running water so if we left it much longer it would be treacherous. We donned our waterproof jacket and trousers and headed back.
We both slipped a few times. It was so bad but we managed to get to the bottom. We took another route to see the lake and it was shrouded with clouds and looked quite moody.
By this time we were soaked! Our waterproof jackets (that we washed before we came) turned out to have lost their coating. We were drenched, my knees were aching and I just wanted to get back and change my clothes. I think if this place had a bar/pub we would have gone for a cold beer! We haven’t seen a bar since we came from Argentina 3 weeks ago. They don’t seem to socialise in pubs here.
Back at the hostel we asked the owner to light the log burning heater so we could dry our clothes. We stripped and hung them over the make shift clothes line he’d hung using some nails and bits of string. They were drying really quickly so I went upstairs and got my dirty clothes out and washed them in the bath then hung them over the fire and some actually on top of it. My shoes were soaking too so I stuck them on too. 😉
Some new guests knocked on the door wanting a room. I wanted to tell them not to bother as it want that great but for the price and when it’s pouring down you don’t mind. She walked towards the kitchen and I told her it wasn’t good. She said “It smells bad”. Haha I didn’t want to tell her that it was my shoes. After a days trekking and soaking wet they didn’t smell too good 😂😂.
I don’t think the owner was that impressed with us. We stood hogging the heat for about 1.5 hours whilst our clothes dried. He came and motioned for us to move so others could feel the heat. 😋
The following morning we set off to get the ‘bus’ to Coyhaique, which was 242km from Puyuhuapi. Turns out the bus was a jam packed minibus, which we’d have to endure for 5 hours! We managed to get the back 3 seats to ourselves so that was a bonus.
The journey ended up being one of the most scenic bus trips we’ve done! We saw lakes, with dolphins in, glaciers, waterfalls, rugged rock faces, green tree filled mountains, rivers, a wild fox and so much more. Me and Kev had our heads permanently stuck out of the windows with our cameras in our hand whilst the rest of the passengers either slept or fussed over the kitten someone had brought with them! It was cute but they were missing the views.
The roads were being widened in some spots and we were driving pretty close to the edge with a steep drop only inches away and we nothing to stop us going over into the water. 😮
We stopped to get some empanadas and have a toilet break. I had a little cuddle with the kitten then took more photos. This was after we’d had a meat and also an apple empanada. 🐖🐷.
“Stand by the bus, I’ll get your photo with the background in” I said to Kev.
I’ve zoomed in….He hates posing for photos 😂
We arrived in Coyhaique and the scenery surrounding the town was impressive to say the least.
The town itself didn’t appeal to us. It had a population of 60,000 and having been used to small towns/villages it was a bit overwhelming with all the traffic, big shops and exorbitant prices. The hostels were double the price. We trekked the streets trying to find a cheap place to stay that was halfway decent. They were all around the same price. It wasn’t brilliant but would do for one night. We went to take photos of the scenery and to book a bus for the following morning to go further south. The bus station was closed! We’d have to just turn up in the morning and hope there was seats. The scenery………wow!
We were up early the following morning and at the bus station for 8.15am. The ticket counters didn’t open until 9 but they didn’t have any seats available. Oh well time to do the only thing we can do. We even had the obligatory hitch hikers cardboard sign 😂 🖒
We managed to get 3 lifts that took took us half way. One of our drivers even stopped to let us take photos 😀. The scenery had changed again, along with temperature 😨.
Our driver and vehicle.
We passed through an area that has lots of deer in it. It was amazing yet again.
When we reached the halfway point we struggled to get a lift so went to try get the bus. The place we got dropped off in was gorgeous.
There was only 1 seat on the bus so I took it and Kev was going to stand up. Talk about miffed. He got to ride up front with the driver and had amazing views whilst I was sat in the back and couldn’t see a thing as the windows had steamed up! Luckily Kev managed to get some great shots.
The next blog promises amazing again. This place is just taking our breath away.