The bus to Pucon arrived in the morning. The city, which was still sleeping, looked like the one in “Northern Exposure” :-). We missed here only the moose from the credits of the television series. Despite the early hour, we had to find some accommodation for the next three days. Pucon is such a small town, that everything is within reach. The walk from one end of the town to the other takes no more than 20 minutes. Therefore, finding accommodation took us about 30 min., of which 15 we spent discussing with a boy from the travel agency. We came up with a crazy idea to climb Villarica volcano with Mania, but it was too risky and we did not want to be so irresponsible. The room we were able to find at La Tetera hostel. The hostel owner surprised us nicely with an additional small bed for Mania. We were even bigger surprised when we went out onto the balcony, and we saw the volcano in all its glory.
After breakfast at the Cafe de la P, we decided to rent the bikes (CLP 10,000 ~ $ 20 for two for a whole day). It is basically one reasonable bike lane leading to the waterfalls Ojos de Caburgua. You can get there either driving down the street (the path which was partially meant for bicycles) or choose a more challenging route through the surrounding villages. We decided on a mixed version :-). It was also the first time for our Marianna in a sling on a back. We went on bicycles along the path which was very comfortable for both of us and we had a feeling that nothing bad was happening to Mania. She was sleeping for most of the time.
Besides, for most of the way stones and bumps effectively lulled our little baby girl. After about 3h of a challenging way for us we got to the parking, where we left the bikes and we paid 1500 CLP per person for the entrance to the waterfalls. We were both very hungry. To the rescue came to booth of us a house with hot-dogs. Like real Chileans we ate a hot- dog completos that is served, among others, with an avocado, which by the way Mania loves.
The waterfalls may not be spectacular heights, but they are still impressive. Mainly thanks to the azure mountain water. Next to the waterfalls is the “Laguna Azul”. For the first time in our lives we saw so deep, crystal clear, blue water. Despite the bans there was the urge to jump. We had to give back the bicycles before 7.30 p.m. so that we gave up the way (5km in mountainous terrain) to the lake and beach Caburgua. The return journey has not been so pleasant because it was running along the street. What rewards us the traffic was the company of a volcano. Just before Pucon we stopped in for a dinner. After a while Marianna was already in the hands of Chilean, and we could leisurely finish the served lamb.
In total, we travelled about 40 km that day. It’s probably my record (Mariusz) on a bike in one day. After that trip we were so exhausted we could only to bed.
When the previous day we checked the weather, there were no signs of what was about to happen :-). Let’s start from the beginning. After an early breakfast we set off by bus to one of the most famous national parks in Chile – Huerquehue. The park area of 125 km sq. makes a big impression: a huge araucaria wooded slopes, wild streams, green-blue lakes, resounded waterfalls and thousands of meters of mountain paths remind us of mythical forests, “Where the Wild Things Are”.
Our journey on a trail of 5 lakes (Los Lagos Trail) – which was to last approx. 6-8 hours – we started innocently, from not a challenging path. Then fell on us the first drops of rain. During the initial climb the rain turned into a slight drizzle, which was even pleasant, due to the fact that we felt on the back the first drops of sweat. When we passed the first viewpoint and we got to the waterfall, drizzle turned into a real downpour. Mania hastily went from my back under Marios’ jacket and I took the backpack. The pictures were taken at the lightning speed :-).
All next “must see” points we did more or less in the rain. At the beginning, our clothes were resistant to these adverse weather conditions, but after 4 hours. unceasing downpour, even the clothes could not stand such a quantity of water. Fortunately Mania in a sling in her profi outdoor jacket :-), additionally covered with a Marios’ jacket she remained intact (well, maybe except the socks). We decided to go back without seeing the lake which was at the highest location.
Coming back, we wanted to stop in the so-called refuggio – Chilean shelter to change Manias’ clothes and to feed her. Poor marking of the routes, or rather its absence, was the reason why we had to stop not in a hostel from the map, but in a very small ruined cottage, which was so littered inside that it was impossible to get in and we sat under a tiny roof under which were hardly enough space for the three of us. Not to mention the fact that we had to wait a bit for the place – a group of Japanese or Chinese women were just finishing their meal, sitting on the only 3 narrow boards on the muddy ground :-).
Feeding and changing Mania’s nappy was quite a challenge, we really had to try hard so that she would not get wet or cold (and we were completely soaked). We can say that we passed this test with strong B :-).
After two hours of descent on slippery, full of mud and puddles route (but what a view !!! :-)) we found ourselves in a park ranger’s house, in which we found equally sodden other tourists. Everyone waited for the next bus to Pucon, which was to leave for 45 minutes. At that moment, we appreciated that Mania was together with us – when one of the rangers saw that the child is with us, he immediately called us into his office to keep warm by the stove :-). We took off our wet clothes, stripped Mania, we wrapped her in a towel, which gave us a nice ranger (I got his jacket :-)) and we sat by the stove. It turned out that the woman who was sitting next to us, we have met while hiking and we offered her tea – she was hiking without a jacket, in unsuitable shoes and without the food. The last minutes in the park Huerquehue we spent with kind-hearted people, laughing and exchanging experiences from the trail :-).
We got to the hostel late in the afternoon. In Pucon thankfully it was not raining, we could enjoy the beautiful setting sun. After a quick hot shower we went out for a dinner, in fact a late one :-). This time we visited the Peruvian restaurant where Mania for the first time tried freshly squeezed passion fruit juice. She liked it a lot :-). In general traveling serves well BLW (or maybe BLW serves well traveling? :-)).
During the entire journey we used Endomondo – we climbed to a height of 1383 meters, we went 17.23 km, it took us 6.5 hours. It was a very looong day :-).
Today we leave Pucon. About 4:15 p.m. we take the bus from the JAC company (the only one which ride to Puerto Montt – 9000 CLP ~ 54 zł per person). At 9 p.m. we are scheduled to come along in the PM with Dorothy and Miguel (from Pewnego Razu w Chile / ENG. Once Upon a Time in Chile/). After the last quite a hectic day, the next one was going to be very, very calm. And it was.
Just after breakfast we went to Villarica lake which is situated by Pucon. Mania has again an opportunity to play in the sandbox, but this time the sand was black – probably she concluded that it must taste different, because she had to try it :-). In the area there were really very few people, so we could really relax and enjoy being with Mania and the fact that we are in such a place. The time passed very nicely, but unfortunately we had to leave soon. Before that, we had to stop off a few places: i) the nappies for our small girl, ii) an exchange office, iii) the restaurant. We hope that the last place have left some traces in Mania’s memory (hopefully). The first time she had the opportunity to try the crab :-). Many of these first times has our Marianna during this trip. We indeed are living with her as much all the new things that until now seemed to us such natural, simple, insignificant.
A summary of our stay in Pucon, however, was on me (Mario). In the morning we had to leave our room, and we left our at the reception. However, not all dried up overnight after the “walk in the park”, namely jacket was still all wet so landed on the hanger at the reception. When we were already sitting in the bus, which was to leave – remember – about 16:15, and was already late two minutes, Karola asked me rhetorically if I took the jacket from the hanger :-). The expression of my face was priceless – I replied stoically, of course … I forgot. I ran out hastily of the bus – speaking Spanish at the level of “Kali eat, Kali steal” – I explained the driver that he has to wait for me because I left my jacket two streets away in the hotel. As the bus driver was wondering if he could or could not wait so long, I ran back to the hostel. I’ve never ran so fast, and for the first 30 minutes on the bus, I could not recover. And this pleasant accent was the last one from Pucon. I would add that in a jacket were the keys to the apartment :-).