A cottage in Villarrica   Leave a comment

Thursday 16th and Friday 17th October 2014

We leave Chillán early to make the most of the day and board the bus to Temuco where we have to change to a colectivo that brings us to Villarrica in the Lake District.

Housing estate Chilean style

On this side of the world the rapeseed is just coming into bloom

Villarrica lies very picturesque by the lake and the volcano of the same name. Unfortunately the impressive mountain is hiding behind the clouds and if I hadn’t told my dad how beautiful the volcano was he wouldn’t even know it was there…

This is what it should look like… (picture from 2010)

… and this is what we are presented with today…

On the way to the tourist information, where we want to enquire about suitable accommodation, a bright lilac building catches our eye, the Hostal Donde Mora. “No, we don’t have any twin rooms, only matrimonios”, says the landlord, “but you can have a whole cabaña with two bedrooms for the same price.” Well, we like the idea of having our own cottage in Villarrica very much and so we agree without complaints.

Our cottage in Villarrica

A stroll to the lakeshore is mandatory and with every hour that passes we hope the clouds will lift and reveal the gorgeous volcano. But nothing – the sky turns blue, the sun comes out but the mountain towering over Villarrica and neighbouring Pucón remains invisible. So we decide to stay another day in our cabaña and hope for the weather to improve.

Huh, there’s at least the tip!

When we look out of the window the next morning the sky is overcast again. Never mind, it’s dry at least and we can explore a bit more of the Araucanía region. Colectivos take us along the lake and on towards Caburgua, where the river of the same name creates beautiful waterfalls and deep blue ponds – the Ojos de Caburgua.

Laguna Azul – the blue lagoon

There are actually two sites to visit the waterfalls, one on each side of the river and for some strange reason the landowners haven’t come to an agreement yet to build a bridge. This means that you can only see a fraction of the ponds, then you would have to drive seven kilometres, pay another entrance fee to see the other part and then drive back the way you came or carry on to Pucón for another 15 kilometres. Not an option for us on foot.

After pondering the moral aspects of our behaviour we decide to ford the river at our own risk and save us the hassle of extreme trekking that day.

We don’t mind paying the extra pesos, as there are quite a few walkways and miradores to maintain, but walking 14 or even 22 kilometres more to see an area 10 metres away is just unreasonable. Why don’t the owners raise the fee, build a bridge, share the income, minimise the traffic and environmental impact and make visiting the site more user-friendly? As it turns out later, the crossing is also commonly used by the local pedestrians, who helpfully advise us that there is no alternative path anyway and that the only minibus serving the other side won’t pass until six in the afternoon – far too late for us.

View of the other side from the other side

You see, there are adventures to be had on a rucksack trip as well. On the way back to Villarrica we stop in Pucón and have some shockingly expensive but heavenly delicious coffee and cake in the Café de la P.

Then it starts to rain and doesn’t stop until the next day. We still manage to make the most of our time in Villarrica.

The big question remains, will Johannes see the volcano after all? Don’t miss the next episode!

All pictures from Villarrica here; #348 to 573

Posted 20 October 2014 by Pumpy in Chile, The 2014 Rucksack Trip

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