Whew– we’re behind in posting after 11 wonderful but essentially wifi-free days in Patagonia. We were sad to leave it (and Chile, and Aileen and Robbie…) but are delighted to be settled in Buenos Aires for a little while.
Before our Patagonian adventures, we spent a few days in the Lakes District in the small town of Puerto Varas. As we often do these days, we arrived a bit disheveled after yet another overnight bus ride (Viña del Mar to Santiago to Puerto Varas). We found a credible imitation of an old-fashioned German mountain village nestled up against Llanquihue Lake, one of the largest natural lakes on the continent. The area was settled by Germans in the mid-1800s and although it is now decidedly a tourist town, Puerto Varas retains the influence not only in the architecture, but also in the ready availability of Kuchen (cake) and other sweets pretty much everywhere. Brian was a pretty big fan of this quirk, and we were both excited for a town where real coffee dominates after having consumed more than our share of Nescafe through the rest of Chile.
We took it fairly easy for our limited time in town, assisted in this decision by the near-constant rain. When it cleared up a bit, we explored the small downtown area (full of fancy outdoor gear stores as the Lakes District is a climbing and hiking destination in its own right, not to mention a gateway to Patagonia).
The highlight of our time in Puerto Varas was a day spent rafting down the gorgeous Petrohué river. In the morning it was clear enough for occasional views of the area’s volcanoes, and when the rain started we were already too soaked from the rapids to notice.