The GoGlobal Blog

Las Vacaciones

Las Vacaciones

It’s been a long time since my last post, but in my defense, I’ve been very busy and on the move for the past three weeks. My vacation finally concluded on Tuesday as I arrived in Santiago, and now I am going through orientation before classes start. So obviously, I have a lot to cover this post, and naturally I will start in the beginning. By the way, I will be naming a lot of places so if you have Google Maps out and just punch in the names you can see where I’ve been!

Theo and I had planned to leave on Friday, February 7. We had bus tickets to Puerto Varas and our bus left around 10 or so. As it turns out, we missed our bus but thought the driver lied to us because we were foreigners. Fortunately, we were able to procure tickets for Sunday night. I sure was disappointed that we lost two days of traveling, but Theo didn’t mind much so I got over it pretty fast. To make the most of our night, we went to a bar across the street from the terminal that had a very cool, working-class vibe to it. There we met some Chileans (they were Mapuche, basically Chile’s Native Americans) and a Peruvian who were all very nice and friendly. We shared a table with them and talked for a few hours before dipping out, and they invited us to a party they were having on Saturday night before we left (we discovered they were joking after calling them Saturday evening, lol).

In Puerto Varas we met two Chileans, Simon and Bryan, who we camped with for a few days in Petrohue. Petrohue is beautiful. Our campsite was located on the beach of Lago Todos Los Santos, a picturesque lake surrounded by lush green mountains and Volcan Osorno (a volcano) towering over our backs. We also met another Chilean, Mathias, there and he camped with us as well. The time spent there was a lot of fun – we did some kayaking, trekking, saw some impressive waterfalls and rapids, and I topped my time off in the park by going whitewater rafting for the first time! That was a lot of fun, with water splashing in my face, cruising down a crystal-clear river as our guide shouted directions to us.

From Puerto Varas we went to Chiloé where we met up with Simon, Bryan, and Mathias again in a campground called Cucoa. Again we were on a lake, but this one didn’t compare to Petrohue. There I tried kuchen (Chiloé is known for its food), a cake with blueberries or some other fruit on the top as icing, and a soft bread on the bottom. I really like it, although milcaos were definitely my favorite food from the trip and right now my favorite Chilean food in general. Milcaos are like hashbrowns that look like pancakes, although they are much bigger and they middle is filled with potatoes and meat – usually chicken. They were amazing! When I was in Castro, I ate one every day (they only cost 1 mil, or $2 a piece). For those of you that might visit Chile, the best milcaos are in Castro without a doubt. Other places in the south sell them, like Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, but they’re not the same. Unfortunately, my host mom told me they only exist in the south and are not in Santiago.

Castro was a nice city with a cool vibe to it. The city located on the water, it’s basically an inlet, and has lots of sea influence. It’s well known for its old wooden church built by the Jesuits (and colored purple and yellow on the outside!) and the palafitos, which are houses that stand on poles built right up on the water. It was great to stay in a hostal there after some uncomfortable nights of sleeping in the tent. While there, Hayley, Brenna, and Dee came down from Ancud and we hung out for two days with them. Theo left for Puerto Montt where he would fly to Coyhaique. I decided to try and follow him but through a different and cheaper route, first going south to Quellón, then to Chaiten by boat. However once I got to Quellón, I knew I didn’t have enough time to make it down to Coyhaique and back to Santiago in time for my bus ticket to La Serena with Dee and Gaby. Because I got there a day early by accident, I was able to go to the end/beginning of the longest road in the Americas and maybe the world (there’s some debate), the Pan-American Highway, or Ruta 5 as it is known here in Chile! It stretches over 21,000 kilometers and runs from Chile to Alaska.

Right before getting into Chaiten, I snagged some pictures of dolphins close to shore. They were grayish and had small fins on their backs. Chaiten is unlike any other town I saw on the trip because a volcano erupted there in 2008. The town is still recovering from the damage, and it was harrowing to see some of the destruction in the town and in the adjacent Parque Pumalín, where I camped for four days with another American I met, Arthur. This park was sweet! While there, I saw some 90ft waterfalls, hiked through a temperate jungles, saw the second oldest trees on the planet (Alerces), climbed to the crater of the volcano that erupted in 2008, and did a 30 kilometer hike to see a glacier! All in four days! I knew my time was limited to get back to Santiago so I sure did everything and anything I could in the park. I loved my time there and wished I could spend more than just a few days in Patagonia (the park is at the northern border of the region), but I was extremely grateful to discover the park because I really didn’t know anything about it when I entered.

Those two weeks traveling the south of Chile were amazing. I have never seen so much nature and beauty in my life before, and in such a pristine state too, especially in Patagonia (for example, the water from rivers was see-through and perfectly safe to drink). I met so many wonderful Chileans and foreign travelers too, and I definitely know my Spanish improved throughout the trip. Obviously, God has blessed me incredibly and I cannot thank Him enough for the amazing experiences I’ve had down here.

That is part one of mis vacaciones! I will make another post describing my trip north of Santiago to La Serena because I know this one is getting long. Also, I think I have figured out how to allow comments so ask away. I’m still working on the pictures, but my Facebook account has a bunch you can browse through.

AMDG,

Tom

3 Replies to “Las Vacaciones”

  1. hey tom

    you didn’t tell us about seeing the second oldest trees in the world. dad will sure be interested in hearing about them. wonder how they compare to california’s redwoods which we did see. at what age do you think you became a nature lover? expecting 6 inches of snow tonight – neverending. take care

    barbara

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