Feb. 14th: Valentines Day. Chris surprised
his mom and me by giving us Valentines day cards, which he purchased in Pucon. It
took us the better part of a half-hour to figure out what they said in Spanish!!! Drove
just 4 kilometers up the road towards the border with Argentina. Here the road splits and
goes towards the thermal bath resorts of Puyehue and Aguas Calientes. Chris father
had made a reservation the previous day for us to stay at the Puyehue resort. Since we
were early we decided to drive further down the road to see the Aguas Calientes (the
resort for the more common folk). It turned out to be much more appealing with its A-frame
cabins, in-door and out-door pools by the river, and surrounded by several walking trails
into the lush green forest. We ate breakfast at the small restaurant and after inquired
about availability of their cabins. They only had 2 cabins available, each sleeping 8
people. We all liked it so much that we decided to stay there anyway and accept the added
expense. We spent the day lounging on the deck of the cabin, taking walks and soaking in
the pools. Chris and I made dinner----our secret curry recipe.
Friday, Feb. 15th: Got up early so we could be at the thermal pool when it
opened at 8:30. The day before was not so pleasant and relaxing because of all of the
young people treating it like a public pool, diving in and splashing each other. This time
we had the place all to ourselves and the water temperature was downright hot. We could
only stay in the pool for 15 minutes at a time. After about an hour we dried off and went
Decided to head for Chiloe that day (island just south of Puerto Montt), but not before
taking a drive around the lake of Llanquihu at the base of the Osorno Volcano. We found a
nice little spot by the lake, complete with table, chairs and a tent covering. We ate
fresh peppers, cucumber, cheese, salami and fresh bread along with a bottle of red wine.
It doesnt get much better than that! Traveling around the lake took some time and we
began to get nervous that we wouldnt find a place to stay in Chiloe for the night.
While we stopped for a coffee in Puerto Varas, Chris and his father called a few hotels
and managed to get a reservation.
We arrived at the ferry port around 5:30pm to catch the boat to Chiloe island. We were
surprised to find about 60 cars ahead of us waiting to board ferries as well. Luckily the
line moved quickly and we only had to wait for 45 minutes or so. The ferry crossing itself
was a bit rough but only took about 30 minutes. That night we stayed in a nice hotel in
the small town of Dalcahue. Dalcahue is known for its small fishing port, its
historic church and for its Sunday market which attracts artisans from all around the
island and its neighboring islands. Its small-town feel and friendly locals really
endeared itself to us.
Saturday, Feb. 16th: Walked around Dalcahue for a few hours in the morning
to get our bearings and to find the location of the central market. After purchasing
woolen sweaters, and Chris bought a big wool poncho, we ate lunch in the central market
and had some of the best meals weve had yet in Chile. Gabi had the best Curanto dish
(a big bowl filled with muscles, clams, sausage, chicken, and some starchy-looking patties
filed with smoked meat) weve seen yet, all for the equivalent of about $3.75US.
After, we all took a drive to Castro, the capital of Chiloe. It is a lively town with a
beautiful Chilote-style church (noted for its wooden construction and wood shingled
siding), a busy central square filled with young Chilean backpackers, and a waterfront
market stocked with vendors selling everything from fish to hand-knitted sweaters.
Wandered around most of the afternoon in Castro and had dinner there.
Sunday, Feb. 17th: Got up early and visited the famous Dalcahue Sunday
market. Gabi and I bought the irresistible knitted dolls. Easily caught a return ferry
around mid-day (no line). Saw lots of dolphins and seals on the return crossing. We
returned to Puerto Montt in the early afternoon and checked into the Hospedaje Rocco,
while Robi and Gabi headed out of town for the night.