2. Petrohue to Peulla

At Petrohue our modern catamaran with cafe, wc etc is waiting for us and after the obligatory sitting down for take-off we are allowed to roam on the various decks for the 1 hour 45  minute voyage.

imageThis takes us through the Lago Todos de Los Santos which is entirely within a national park. It is pristine.

Apart from the noise of the engine all is quiet around and for the whole journey no other people or boats are seen.

Orsorno appears at its biggest before slowly disappearing behind us. The mood changes as everyone settles to the slower pace and just enjoys the icreduble scenery.

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Finally we reach Peulla, a small hamlet, which seems to have had three hotels, only one now open. During our trip across the lake we could decide whether ot not to opt for one of three excursions during our three hour sojourn at Peulla; 4×4 trucking, canopy zip-wire, horse-riding.

 I chose the zip-wire but before I went to register they were overbooked so it was a lazy lunch and wander around Peulla, which looks like THIS.

1. Puerto Varas to Petrohue

I woke at 7am and my host was preparing my preordered breakfast. After packing and abluting I walked the ten minutes down to the tourist office where our first bus was waiting. With relief I discovered it was a large coach with all the “facilities”.

There was an early morning haze, already starting to clear, as we headed off along the coast road, around Lago Llanquihue, in the direction of the Orsono Volcano.

Our first stop was at Saltos de Petrohue, (the waterfalls of the Rio Petrohue).

imageHere one had to pay an entrance fee, walk passed vendors etc and my heart sank. We are only an our into the journey and this is not what I had expected. However loos were available and it was an easy way for the group to ease into a long day. I needn’t have had any concerns about artesan vendors as it was the last we came across. Judith the bi-lingual guide was excellent and diligently went through here spiel in Spanish and then again in English for the three of us out of a coachload.

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The low sun now devoid of haze provided great photo ops for the evercloser Orsorno. and then after almost 1.5 hours we reached our first catamaran.

Hello Puerto Varas

My sojourn in Puerto Varas was planned as a quick stopover prior to taking the journey in the morning by boat and bus across the Andes. In hindsight an extra day here and one less in Punta Arenas would have been preferential.

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It has been a glorious day. On the flight sat next to two ladies of a certain age, from Wiltshire, returning from a five day Antarctic cruise, sans husbands. Lovely conversation that meant that the two hour flight whizzed by, as almost did the Andean ice fields that we flew over.

Picked up at airport by a sweet English speaking girl who drove me the 25 minutes to Puerto Varas. What a shock. You could have been in England. Green  pasture fields, rolling countryside, cows grazing and overcast sky. Pueto Varas itself doesn’t seem like a port at all. Not in the sense that Punta Arenas was. It is set in a delightful bay with a beach and the buildings are all clad in clapboard or wood shingle tiles.

I checked in and wandered down the hill and along the front when I heard what iI thought was a rock gig. It was in fact a blind busker belting out some good tunes and playing a mean harmonica. Listen HERE.

My host suggested I ate at an Italian restaurant which also made artesan beer so at 7.30 I returned to town where the busker was continuing to strut his stuff. When I left the restaurant he was stiil going and as the sun set and there was an evening stillness I could see clearly, for the first time, one of the reason for coming here. The majestic Orsono Volcano across the lake.

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