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Chambers at Large: Crossing the Andes from Puerto Montt, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina

The day my fellow travellers and I travelled from Chile to Argentina proved to be one of the most scenic journeys many of us had ever experienced.

From Santiago we caught a short flight to Puerto Montt, a Chilean town known as the gateway to the Andes Mountains.  In 1848 German settlers arrived here and used the wood from the nearby forests to build houses, which are very reminiscent of Germanic areas, creating a prosperous trading community, selling dairy products, fish, home bakes and beer.

I walked around the fish market only to see a huge sea wolf basking in the summer sun.  He was a magnificent beast and I wondered how he’d managed to climb on top of a large rubbish container, but he’d made it his own and wasn’t going to move anytime soon!

We stayed overnight in a hotel in Puerto Varas, a few miles from Puerto Montt, which was also somewhat Germanic.  I spent the evening enjoying my dinner overlooking Lake Llanquihue, with tremendous views of snow-capped volcanoes, mountains and verdant green forests.  Chile has over 2000 volcanoes and I was assured seismologists kept a wary eye and none were about to erupt.

My knowledge of geographical science is very poor., almost non-existent, therefore my visit to the National Park of Vincente Perez Rosales was an eye-opener as the water forming the river and waterfalls changes from crystal clear, to green, to turquoise to azure.  This has something to do with glaciers, volcanic activity and the climate but I’d need to go on a geology course to learn a great deal more.  All I can say is the scenery was beautiful and the walk in the cool morning air worthwhile.

A coach then took us to a nearby port where we were ushered onto a catamaran which journeyed across the waters of Lake Llanquihue giving beautiful views of the waterfalls, the Andean mountains, the snow-capped volcanoes and the forestry.  The voyage was calming, surreally beautiful and the natural vistas a joy to behold.

The journey across the Andes involved alternating between a boat and a coach.  The boat trips were fabulous.  I cannot say the same for the time spent on the “roads”, which were not tarmacked, but narrow, stony thoroughfares. (To say the drive in places was bumpy is an understatement.)  We were informed that one “road” was found in 1870 and I had to remark that “f**k all had been done to it since!”

As we approached the border the coach shuddered and strained as it slowly ascended the mountainous route.  A steep incline was on the left hand side.  One wrong move and we would have plummeted into the thick woodland below!

Eventually we reached the Chilean border, where we showed our passports and were quickly sent into a no-man’s land of forestry for a mile or so reaching the Argentinian customs station where once again we showed our passports.

A short boat trip and a final slow drive through busy traffic brought us to the tourist town of Bariloche where, the following day, we took a ski lift up a mountain in order to admire the fabulous view of the Andes from a height.  I’d like to thank the tour guide, Javier, for being so organised and treating me like a queen, not allowing me to queue for a long period of time and helping me navigate the lift.

Bariloche is famed for its chocolate, but once I arrived in Argentina I had to sample the steak, which was three times the size of a steak in Ireland, as soft as butter and full of flavour.  Washed down with a glass (or two) of Malbec, it was a very filling and tasty meal.

I have to admit I didn’t see as much of Bariloche as I should.  I didn’t go swimming in the lake, nor take a long walk along the promenade, but I did amble around the town, finding the square in which was an equestrian statue of Julio Argentino Roca who became the youngest president of Argentina in 1880, serving two terms.

My down time in this town was spent taking in the good fresh air and enjoying the stunning views.  I was pacing myself for the onward journey to Buenos Aires.

 

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My tour of South America was a trip of a lifetime.  Please click on the links to discover more:

 

 

 


 


Crocs not rocks!

National Parks are always worth a visit and I enjoyed two in Sri Lanka:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Karen Hart
Karen Hart
márc. 22.
5 csillagot kapott az 5-ből.

This is a most undiscovered area and so so beautiful. Great review and would definitely recommend to anyone to go and see for yourself.

Kedvelés

5 csillagot kapott az 5-ből.

Wow, what beautiful scenery around towns/cities I had never even heard of before! Now there are areas in Chile to add to my list of places I sadly acknowledge that this octogenarian will never visit in person. The boat travel sounds lovely, but the coach travel on bumpy roads, not so much.

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