A Travellerspoint blog

Santiago and Valparaiso

sunny 30 °C
View Honeymoon! on Steve-Kay's travel map.

After the exertions of Pucon, we enjoyed the luxury of our first 'semi cama' (about 45o reclining seat) bus trip overnight to Santiago. We were exhausted after the trip up the Volcano and I managed to sleep the majority of the 10 hour journey - Kay just reminded me that she hardly slept at all!

We arrived in Santiago about 7:30 on the Sunday morning and spent the next 3 hours wandering from hostel to hostel trying to find somewhere decent with some friends we had met in Pucon. In the end we 'settled' for a one with a pool and bacon (first we had seen on the trip!) for breakfast!

After dumping our bags, we had a wander around town and the main square, Plaza de Armas, where we took this picture:

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We spent the majority of the next couple of days lazing around the pool enjoying the sunshine and drinking lots of wine! We really liked the feel of Santiago, and could have stayed for much longer, but we fly to Auckland from here later in the trip and had only really come this far north to cross back over the Andes into Argentina. We will definitely allow for some more time here before our flight out.

On the 16th April we went to Valparaiso - about 2 hours west of Santiago on the coast. We got bombarded by hostel touts when we got off the coach but we got chatting to a sweet señora who talked us into going to her hostel/house. It turned out to be in a fantastic position in the centre of town, albeit on the side of a huge hill - Valparaiso is built on the hills overlooking a big port so you don't have much choice really!

The woman and her family were really friendly and wanted to help us learn Spanish. We stayed up until 2 in the morning chatting and drinking with them on both nights we stayed there!

Not much to Valparaiso itself apart from some good restaurants and a nice statue...!

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Next stop Mendoza.......

Posted by Steve-Kay 18:25 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Valdivia to Pucon

all seasons in one day 20 °C
View Honeymoon! on Steve-Kay's travel map.

Found a lovely place to stay in Valdivia - met a nice old woman who didn't have room in her house so she took us to her friends house, who then took us to her daughters house which turned out to be the nicest place we've had so far....and cheap!!

A lovely town with a great Mapuche Craft Market.....

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But the best thing by far was the fish market where there were loads of wild sea lions that came up from the river for scraps.

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They were gorgeous and some of them were absolutely huge (from all the fish heads they get from the market!).

After the market finished they were all just lazing around on the pavement next to the river. Tried to get a close up of Steve with one of them but he scared us away!

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Steve dragged me to the local brewery (for our one month wedding anniversary!) where he enjoyed a lovely big glass of beer....as you can see

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He then tried to make it up to me by taking me to the cheapo students' hangout down the road from our hostel - quite nice but reeaally smokey!!

Took a bus to nearby Fuerte de Niebla - The ruins of a Spanish fort constructed in 1671 to protect Spanish interests against the Dutch, British and Mapuches.

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Got to Pucon on 09/04 - Fantastic town full of wooden buildings overlooked by Volcan Villarrica.

The weather was absolutely poxy and it didn't stop raining from morning till night but we met loads of lovely people in our hostel and sat around the log fires chatting all day. Eventually the rain stopped (briefly), and the locals called us outside to see the volcano - apparently it was their first snow-fall of the year and the volcano was completely white as the sun was setting....

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The picture isn't that clear but you can see the red reflecting off the snow.

We decided it was about time we got fit so we went hiking in Huerquehue National Park. The bus journey there was great - winding up and around the mountains looking down on the lovely views.

Nice park with a couple of good waterfalls but think it was a bit silly of us to do all that walking the day before planning to climb a huge volcano!!

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Dragged ourselves out of bed at 4am for a sunrise climb up Volcan Villarrica (one of the most active in Chile we found out AFTERWARDS!!). Had a cup of tea and put on as many layers as we possibly could and then the proper climbing gear they provided us with...and got a chance to use the headtorch we bought for an occasion just like this!

Started out about 5.30am and it was really hard, the first part of it was sand-like and it was pitch black and we were ready to give up after about 10 minutes!

Here we are collapsed on our first break...

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The guides were fantastic and kept us going and it got easier, especially when the sun came up. We were just getting into the swing of it when we reached 1800m and were told we couldn't go any further because it was too dangerous due to poor weather conditions (we wanted to keep climbing to the top, honestly!). So, after a choccy break and some photos we had to make our way back down again which was much more fun than the way up! All my fingers and toes had started to go numb while we'd stopped but as we moved down the volcano I said to Steve 'it's really starting to warm up nicely' and the guide told us it was actually -12C (must be toughening up a bit)!!!

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When we got to the bottom there was a blizzard so we decided to get out of Pucon and move onto Santiago where the sun should be shining!!

Posted by Steve-Kay 10:45 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Puerto Varas to Chiloe

overcast 20 °C
View Honeymoon! on Steve-Kay's travel map.

Made it over the Andes and into Chile! Got through the border quite quickly as the guards checked our passports while sharing a Mate (a weird tasting tea-sort of drink it's a tradition to drink and pass around over here!)

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Stayed in Puerto Varas, a small town on Lake Llanquihue with a nice view of Volcan Osorno (which you could see from the window in the loo of our hostel, but that's not where this photo was taken from.....!!)

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Jumped on a couple of local buses (much to the amusement of the school kids who were laughing and pointing at us!) to see some of the sights around. Had a posh meal at Petrohue (the first posh meal of our honeymoon might I add) overlooking Lago Todos Los Santos - which didn't leave enough time for the 12km trek up to the volcano but never mind!

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Also went to Frutillar, a very quiet and very German-like village nearby. Had our first completo which is a hotdog with half a ton of Avocado plonked on top - I know I shouldn't like it but it was lovely and it is a speciality of the area!!

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Went to Castro next (on Chiloe Island) which is supposed to be more authentically Chilean - not sure if that's true or not but we liked it a lot. Stayed with a lovely Chilean couple in a homestay-type hostel with gorgeous real wood fires (gets nippy here at night you know!). The town itself was quite lively with few gringos and great houses built on stilts in the water (called Palafitos).

Went to a nearby town called Chonchi, nice views on the way but wouldn't have been anything to actually do there had we not discovered an amazing cafe where we stopped for a little snack.....

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Apparently, they didn't have any steak in so they offered Steve that instead - if that's not a steak I'd love to see what is?!!

Next stop Valdivia........

Posted by Steve-Kay 18:41 Archived in Chile Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Bariloche and around

sunny 25 °C
View Honeymoon! on Steve-Kay's travel map.

Stayed in a gorgeous hostel in Bariloche, a couple of minutes walk from Lake Napuel Huapi. It was out of town, very relaxing, and couldn´t have been more different from Buenos Aires. We really enjoyed our time here, meeting lots of very interesting people over numerous bottles of wine!! We managed to practice our Spanish quite a bit and got lots of help from other travellers there who are fluent already - very jealous!!

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We went on a tour of some the lakes in the area, including Nahuel Huapi and Gutierrez, on the way to Mount Tronador which is on the border with Chile. We spent most of the day on the coach (on a very bumpy, unpaved road) between short stops for photos which was a shame, but some of the views were fantastic and we also got to see a couple of woodpeckers!

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We finally managed to drag ourselves away after four nights and headed south to El Bolson. We had heard that it was meant to be less touristy and full of hippies but other than a fantastic steak meal it was quite disappointing and quiet. We only stayed for the one night and after visiting a craft market, with a fantastic coffee table with a map of the world carved into it (unfortunately no room for it in our backpack!), we headed back to Bariloche so we could catch a bus over the Andes to Chile the following day.

Posted by Steve-Kay 16:59 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Buenos Aires!

sunny 27 °C
View Honeymoon! on Steve-Kay's travel map.

After a looong journey here our first week in Argentina has been fantastic!

The first place we went to was Plaza Dorrego where they perform music and Tango in the streets which really got us in the Argentinian mood....the huge steaks and nice wine helped too!

Recoleta Cemetery, where Eva Peron (Evita) is buried, was amazing to see. The tombs are huge and very impressive, but it was more like a tourist attraction than a cemetery as there were tour buses arriving and guides to take you around - a bit too morbid for us!

We went to see a Tango show on Saturday night, not sure how authentic it was but we loved it. They danced all around the tables in the bar and we narrowly avoided being made to dance with them....good job as everyone else seemed to know how to Tango and we would've been useless!

Steve dragged me to see my first ever football match yesterday. Boca Juniors vs Colon - The atmosphere was fantastic, though we never did work out what they were singing we tried to join in as much as we could! We were behind the goal and the singing didn't stop for the whole game, and the jumping around - not easy in the 30-odd degree heat. Boca Juniors won 2-1 so it was great game to see. We did a tour and paid GBP25 each for what was actually a 4 quid ticket with a sausage sarnie thrown in before the game. Mind you, they promised to get us there and back safely and that's what they did so we're not complaining!

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We're off to Bariloche today in the Lake District, apparently it isn't as warm there as it is here but luckily enough I'm not one to complain about being cold !!

Posted by Steve-Kay 10:39 Archived in Argentina Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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