We just wanted to let all of our readers know that we are safe & sound back in the states. Most of you guys are family and close friends, so you already know that we’ve been back for about 2 weeks. We’re currently on a job hunt & looking for a place to settle, which may or may not be stateside. We’re still re-acclimating to be home and evaluating all the pros and cons our potential destinations. Even though we’re back home, we’re going to pick up right where we left off in the blog. Thank you to all of family & loved ones for supporting our dream & we hope you all enjoy the rest of our travel misadventures!
On our last night on the ferry, I (Corey) had a little too much fun & subsequently had a rather rough morning when we had to disembark the boat. Despite some tense moments and with me smelling like cheap rum, we were able to make it safe and sound to our hostel in Puerto Montt. After a few hours of sleeping/sobering up, I was finally able to get it together enough that we were able to take a walk around this new city. We quickly figured out why most of our fellow passengers & friends on the ferry were immediately getting out of Puerto Montt to head to their next destinations. There really wasn’t a single aspect of the city that was attractive. The food was especially terrible.
One day/night in Puerto Montt was enough so we booked an evening bus north to Valdivia, Chile the next day. We decided to kill time the next day in Puerto Varas which was just 30 minutes away from Puerto Montt. Located on a large lake and surrounded by several towering volcanoes, Puerto Varas was definitely much, much prettier. We spent the day walking around the town and along the lake past famed teacher/author Paublo Freire’s old house, now a small museum. It was a very nice & relaxed day which included our first run-ins with fellow NaviMag passengers. We got back in time to catch our bus North to Valdivia.
When you’re traveling and visiting a bunch of places & cities like we are, there is a tendency for these places & cities to start blurring together. Sometimes the only thing that separates a bad place from a good place or good place from a place that you absolutely love is that people you meet, spend time with & get to call your friends. Aside from the sun bathing sea lions on the river’s edge, Valdivia, Chile was pretty average. What made it a fun place and a place that we’ll remember was getting to become friends with Travis & Micheline, a couple from Oregon looking to teach English in Valdivia.
The four of us hit it off from the start & ended up hanging out for most of the time that we were there. I’d have to say my fondest memory from Valdivia was the night that Travis, Eddie, Andreas (two other really great guys that were in the same dorm as us) & I went out for a guys Terramoto night. Terramoto or Earthquake is a very popular drink in Chile. It is a very strong, but sweet drink, much like woppatoee that can put even serious drinkers into a bad state of affairs. Before things kind of fell apart we really had a great time and truly got to know each other. I don’t know if it was our comfort with each other or the drinks, but we all opened up & told each other things that I don’t think any of planned to share when the night started. Apparently Lisa & Micheline had a similar night sans alcohol.
After 4 terramotos each, Travis & Eddie both ended up spending some quality time in the bathroom & Andreas disappeared (I assume to try to pick up girls). I only suffered a bit of headache the following morning. All in all in was a great night, one of the more memorable ones of the trip for me, & a great few days in Valdivia thanks, in part, to Travis & Micheline.
Lisa had been doing to research on Chile & she wanted to go to two National Parks a few hours north of Valdivia, Huerquehue National Park & Villaricca National Park which was home to the Villaricca Volcano. So, naturally we assumed that the place to go would be Villaricca located on Lake Villaricca. Upon arriving in Villaricca, we soon found out that assuming can get you in trouble. Apparently, unless you have your own car, there is no way to get to the Villaricca Volcano or any of the other cool stuff in the area from Villaricca. You have to go to Pucon, a small tourist town across the lake. So after two unproductive days in Villaricca, we took a short half hour bus ride to Pucon.
We really liked Pucon from the moment we arrived. The town was peaceful & quaint. On top of that the surrounding views couldn’t have been more amazing. Looming off the area is the huge, towering Villaricca Volcano. On our second day in Pucon, we went to hike in Huerquehue National Park. It was a beautiful day and we were lucky to get great views of the volcano at every lookout point. The hike itself was a bit challenging, not made any easier by the mud & muck on much of the trail.
Surprisingly, I managed to stay upright while Lisa had a bit of a spill on our way back down the mountainside. In her defense, she was let down by a bamboo tree that gave loose when she tried to use it to keep her from falling. In addition the getting great views of the volcano, we were also able to see two beautiful waterfalls. It was definitely worth the work.
Since we arrived in Pucon there was one thing that I wanted to do more and more as each day passed, to climb the Villaricca Volcano. Lisa pretty much had no desire to, but after a few days of convincing & meeting several people who told us that the hike to the summit really wasn’t that hard, Lisa relented. This would turn out to be one of our biggest mistakes on the trip.
*Valdivia photos courtesy of Travis & Micheline . . . Miss you guys!*