Chilean Lake District
02.03.2008 - 07.03.2008 28 °C
Sorry for the 2 weeks since my last blog, i'm now in Puerto Varras, which is a nice little down, at the Southern Edge of the Chilean Lake District, with 2 pretty big volcanies just across the lake from the town.
Since I last wrote i´ve been pretty busy. To start off with I went to El Calafate where they have the last forward-moving Glacier in Argentinian Patagonia, you can see some photos on this blog. The glacier was enourmous, and you can tell its forward moving as it actually dams a river. After this I went up to El Chalten and did some hiking in the Fitz-Roy Mountains with a couple of Welsh guys. Basically the mountains are as stunning as the Torres del Paine, however tourism hasn´t yet built up as much, the refuges are more affordable, and there are less people on the trail. The town of El Chalten will grow very quickly, for the moment it sort of feels a little sleepy (I can imagine the frontier towns in the Wild West would have been like this). This shows a general trend in the differences between Chile and Argentina, the latter being considerably cheaper. I also got to do a days horse-riding, which was fantastic, the first time i've ever galloped on a horse.
A very funny thing happened coming back from El Calafate, we stopped off for a coffee, and there as a guyacano (similar to a Llama), a cow and a few other animals just strolling about outside and even inside the cafe!
After this I took a 3 day ferry ride from to Puerto Mont, it was basically a fairly chilled time, relaxing and allowing my leg to recover a little.
Still I met a few nice people, one of which was an Australian guy, we decided to rent a car and do a tour of Chiloe Island, which is the second largest Island in South America after Terro del Fuego. It is a stunning Island, with hundreds of Jesuit churches made entirely from wood, and rolling hills not so different to England. The Island is very different to main-land Chile, the people are very freindly (they are not so used to tourists), they have many myths including trolls that seduce beautiful women and mermaids that predict the days fishing, they also have a strange system for numbering houses - basically numbers are chosen at will, so walking along a street you will go from number 142 to 194 to 102, very confusing! Still, its a stunning island and I would really recommend it.
Some observations so far, both countries have an incredible infrastucture for tourism, the hostels are always clean and the buses on-time and plentiful. The people are friendly, the countyside is stunning and the culture rich. You do see poverty, but its not as obvious as I have seen in other South American countries.
So now, i'm getting ready to head up the Lake District, the weather is stunning and the number of tourists had dropped as its now off-season. I hope people are reading this, send me an email to let me know how you are!