Happy Sunday everyone! I am currently in Peru and am loving it so far. I will share all the travel deets eventually, but first thought I’d start with Hoch’s visit to Chile!
Hoch didn’t have a lot of time off of work so we debated a bit on where we wanted to visit while he was here. We finally settled on a few places in the south of Chile, Valparaíso, and a brief visit to La Ligua so he could meet my host family and see my stomping grounds over the past few months. It was a whirl wind trip that lasted a short 9 days before he was on a plane back to the states.
I met Hoch at the airport in Santiago and we hung out a bit before catching a flight down to Puerto Montt, and then renting a car to drive 3+ hours to the city of Castro in Chiloé. It was a bit surreal to see him in the airport. We had been planning this trip for a while and as the time approached, I was getting excited to see him, but it also took some time to hit me. I don’t think it really did until I was at the airport searching for him at our meet up point. I kept saying “I can’t believe you’re here!”. And now he’s back home. Time sure flew by, but I think we did a good job of planning a lot, but still were able to fit in some relaxing time together as well.
As I mentioned before, we started our time in Castro which is on Chiloé island in the Los Lagos Region. I had heard good things about Chiloé and since it is the off season, it would be a bit cheaper and less touristy. The island is known for being rainy though, which worried me a bit, but we ended up being really lucky with the weather. We stayed in a Cabaña on Palafitos (house on stilts over water), and took our time visiting different areas of the island, stopping at several UNESCO Churches along the way, and trying some of the local cuisine. We even picked up 3 Chilean hitchhikers who were on winter break from University and they explored with us one afternoon.
A little info on the UNESCO Churches: They were built during the 18th and 19th centuries and represent a fusion between European and indigenous cultural traditions. They are made from wood and were built by farmers, fisherman, and sailors. There are 16 UNESCO churches in total, plus a numerous amount more all over the islands.
Chiloé reminded me a bit of a mix between New England and Iceland and what I imagine Ireland would look like (haven’t been yet!). It was so green and beautiful! And lucky for us, we had great weather and could see the Andes mountain range all along the length of Chile in the distance. 🙂
Stopped to visit a beach outside of Chiloe National Park:
Had to take a couple of ferries to get onto the island and to explore some of the smaller surrounding ones:
Pretty Views and Sheep:
Isla Lemuy: (check out the Andes mountain range in the background)
Made a stop at Agui Fort on the Peninsula of Lacuy:
Just a look at what some of the roads looked like:
A traditional dish “Curanto”, like a low country boil with mussels, clams, some kind of potato cakes, and a chicken leg on top (kind of a weird addition, not sure if that is the norm or just how the particular restaurant prepared it):
After 3 full days on the island, we headed back to Puerto Montt to drop off the car and take a bus to Pucón. Pucón is a touristy town on a lake and is popular due to its proximity to Villarrica volcano and other outdoorsy activities. We really wanted to hike the volcano while in town. Luckily for us, the weather was also great in Pucón AND our hostel happened to have an outing already arranged for the day after we arrived. So we signed up right away!
The company we went with provided all the equipment, guides, and transportation to and from the volcano. They did not provide food though, so we needed to bring our own snacks and lunch. We arrived late and didn’t have time to go to the store so our meals were a bit lacking. I am a breakfast person too, and didn’t eat enough to sustain me all morning so I hit a wall probably midway up the volcano and really struggled for a bit. It was a challenging hike as it was and my lack in energy did not help. I just tried to take it one switch back at a time. Eventually my snacks of nuts and chocolate kicked in and saw me through to the top. We starting climbing at about 8:30ish am and made it to the top before 2pm. I was really happy to be at the top and the hard part was over! The views were amazing AND we got to slide down the volcano! Yeah, you read that right, instead of killing our knees walking down, the company provided mini-sleds and we slid down the volcano! It was so much fun! We were down the mountain in no time and headed back to the hostel to enjoy some beers with the guides and fellow climbers. It was an exhausting, but rewarding day! 🙂
The following day we debated going on another excursion to some nearby hot springs, but decided against it. We surprisingly weren’t sore from the hike and wanted to walk around the town and relax a bit before our overnight bus to Valparaíso. Pucón reminds me of a ski resort town or mountain town and is so freakin cute.
Our overnight bus to Valpo took about 12 hours and wasn’t too bad. We had downloaded the most recent episodes of GOT beforehand so we were able to watch them on the ride before trying to get some sleep. We arrived at around 7:30am, dropped our bags off at the hostel, and decided to get breakfast and walk around. I tried to play tour guide and showed Hoch around both Valpo and Vińa before we finally found a nice patio to enjoy some beers.
We then returned to the hostal, checked in, and took much needed naps before heading out for dinner and drinks with a fellow volunteer, Josh, and his Chilean girlfriend, Oriana. It was a chill night that started at a place called “El gato en la ventana”. They had live music and actual pet cats just chilling in the bar. 🙂
The following day we headed straight to La Ligua. My host family had planned an asado for us and invited several friends including the new volunteer from my school. I had also invited a few other new volunteers that I knew were placed in the town. We had a good group of people and all enjoyed beer, wine, quinoa salad, and of course meat. It was a very fun night and my family even gave me a handmade sweater (they call them chalecos)! I am going to miss these guys for sure.
The next day, we had a nice lunch with my family and then headed straight to Santiago so that Hoch could catch his flight back to San Antonio. It was a whirlwind of a trip and I wish we would’ve had more time, but I’ll take what I can get! I am happy and lucky to still be able to travel some before I return myself, but seeing Hoch made me miss home that much more too. I look forward to returning to him and my family and friends back in the states.
Until next post!
P.S. For more photos, check out the following google albums: