Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 20 - Puerto Varas

Last night, Rob and I went out for a bite to eat. We ended up going to Taberna Pirata on the lake front in Puerto Varas. We intended to stay for a couple of Cerveza`s and ended up chatting to the owner Noalys Hernandez who is 29 and originally from Cuba.

From Andy´s Travels Mid April to Early May

We were practicing our Spanish on her and before we knew it.... Buena Vista Social Club was playing in the background and we were settling down to a sumptuous dish of Cuban Pork and Rice.

From Andy´s Travels Mid April to Early May

The pork is cooked for 6 hours and has to be up there with the best food i´ve had on this trip. It was amazing. Noalys agreed to show us around Puerto Varas in the morning so Rob and I went off to the casino.

To say I had the anti midas touch was probably an understatement..... We put 10 pounds 50p in each and I sat down to play blackjack. at 3 pounds a hand, I lasted for exactly seven hands losing every single one. For those with a penchant for maths, you´ll figure out that I actually lost all of our money in seven hands..... Not to cut our losses, we put in another 5 pounds each. Rob then played and managed to win all of our money back... I decided to give gambling another go but this time opted for the Roulette table. I changed 10 pounds worth of chips and played two pounds a turn. After the fifth turn, of coming up without so much as a number near my bets, I again lost all my stake.... That was the end of my gambling night. Me and casino´s are not happy bedfellows.

This morning we met with Noalys in town and she gave us a bit of a tour.

I also purchased some hiking boots ahead of my trip up the Osorno Volcano. We then had lunch and Noalys introduced us to some authentic Chilean Empinadas (kind of like Cornish Pasties).

So, onto the volcano. The weather today was rubbish. It´s been the rainiest, foggiest day i´ve had since beginning my travels. Visibility is worse than poor..... How apt considering my decision to climb the volcano. The tour went ahead anyway and we took the hour long drive up to the ski centre midway up the impressive Osorno Volcano. We saw some Llamas.

I embarrassed myself royally on the minibus to my Spanish tour guide who asked me...

"How long have you been in Australia?"

to which I replied....

"tres anu´s." For three years... thinking I was being all clever speaking Spanish and that. It didn´t take me long by the way the tour guide was cracking up to realise that tres anu´s actually means three arses.... ano´s obviously being years.

When we got to the ski centre, it looked as though I wasn´t going to be able to climb as visibility was pretty poor, like a couple of metres only. I managed to pursuade one of the centre guides to let me walk up for 30mins. I pointed out i´d bought some new hiking boots today and needed to tell my friends i´d climbed a volcano... He agreed but said if I wasn´t back in 30mins he would send out a search party and I had to stick to the flagged route.

It didn´t matter to me, 30 minutes on the Osorno Volcano was such a gift for me. I´ve never experienced a thrill or a feeling quite like it. Setting off, I was literally the only person trekking the volcamno. I was walking off into a wilderness i´d never before experienced without the ability to see what was in front of me so every turn, every undulation presented a surprise.

It felt like I would imagine being on the moon would be like. The silence was audible and the landscape absolutely barren. I felt so priveliged for having been able to do that. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

I then got to see three secondary craters on the way back down the volcano. That was pretty impressive also.

Finally, I had some Murta which is a wild berry that grows in this part of Chile. They use it to make wine and to survive on Volcanos apparently. All in all, a great day even though the weather was against me. Tonight, we dine like kings at Noalys´restaurant. Can´t wait...

Speak to you next from Bariloche, Argentina....


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