We arrived in Germany, oops, I mean the Lakes District, greeted by clouds, rain and wind. From the Puerto Montt airport (where M was first off the plane), we picked up the car rental and immediately continued on to Puerto Varas. The small town is a tourist mecca and despite that we had trouble getting information about what to do and where to stay. Eventually we found ourselves in some wood cabins away from the rain. The afternoon we spent driving around to see the “architectural tour”- some of the first houses of the German settlement in southern Chile from the nineteenth century (and yes it does sound more interesting than it actually was). We ascended up the Cerro Phillip (hill) to see a tree-obstructed view of the area. Unfortunately the volcano views eluded us behind the clouds and we still had no idea in which direction we should be looking. So we tried to visit the next closest “picturesque” town- Llanquihue (pronounced Yan-kee-way). But the highlight of that town was a colorful cemetary and a Nestle factory- so we cut our losses and headed back to our wood cabin.
The following morning the rain had ceased and we quickly drove away from the clouds. We made an attempt to visit the jaggedy Volcan Calbuco, and as the hours passed the sky cleared up and we had a great view of the volcano from up close. Only later did we find out that the access to the volcano is blocked by private property and therefore our attempts at a hike were actually quite futile. By this time we had been driving several kilometers on a gravel road, and our tiny and somewhat pathetic Corsa was relieved to make it back to the highway. We headed north to Frutillar by which time the sun was shining and our outlook was picking up. We visited the vast and impressive German Museum to see artifacts and history of the German settlement in Chile, which included everything from replica houses to old (and impressively sophisticated) farming tools. There we enjoyed what the Lakes Region is really about: Kuchen (cake). We went from one fabulous coffee and torta to another very special tea and strudel located in the center of lavender fields. Although Frutillar is a significantly smaller town- it houses the regional theater, whereas Puerto Varas houses the regional casino. And that really says it all.
side roads on the way to Volcan Calbuco
(sadly) the BEST coffee we have had in Chile, Puerto Varas
Frutillar German Museum
who needs a fancy coffee grinder when you can get one of these? (German Museum)
Yeah! We finally saw the volcano!!!
Volcan Osorno (first of many looks, view from Frutillar)
casa de te