Heidi had stayed a few days longer in Argentina while Gilles moved on to rainy Chile. We met again in Puerto Varas to catch the Navimag ferry to Puerto Natales in southern Patagonia. This voyage will take us 1.460km through the fjords of southern Chile, a three day / three night trip. This boat leaves every Monday from Puerto Montt. But instead of spending the two days we had to wait in the rather unattractive Puerto Montt, we chose to stay at charming Puerto Varas, a mere 20 kilometers north. We ended up spending three days there because our boat was delayed one day due to rough sea and strong winds returning from Puerto Natales.
We had made the very cozy Hospedaje Casa Azul our home, apart from comfy rooms and WiFi, this hostal offers a nice kitchen and a very pleasant living room where all guests cook their dinner at night, which turned into a logistic challenge with three burners on the stove. It was so much fun sampling each others food and wine, while doing so we exchanged travel stories and cooking recipes with fellow travelers. As so often we met the most interesting people.
For example, there was a young German coming back from very serious mountain climbing in southern Chile. He had spent three weeks trekking and climbing a 4.000 meter high mountain, all the time carrying a backpack with no less than 35 kg. All this time he slept in his tent in terrible weather and nobody else around. Another tourist from Germany had biked from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt. The two had unbelievable stories and we truly admired their stamina but also knew that we could never, ever do such things!
We also had two dinners at the restaurant La Olla, where we enjoyed super fresh fish and seafood accompanied with fine Chilean white wine – a bit expensive, but still a lot cheaper than Europe. Chile is the most expensive of all countries we have visited so far in South America.
The two first days we were actually very busy doing nothing and quite enjoyed it. On top of that, the weather was really bad, with heavy rain most of the day, so we did not feel like going out. Since we had WiFi, Heidi finally got to send off mails that she had wanted to send a long time, the FIRST one in four months concerning work. That’s pretty good!
Since the departure of the ferry was delayed for 24 hours, we took the bus to Petrohue about 1.5 hours away, walked around the shores of Lago Todos Los Sanctos and followed the river with its impressive rapids for 3 hour before we – tired and hungry – flagged down a bus. The scenery in this area is stunning: the lake, the yellow Retama bushes, green trees and the snow covered Volcano Osorno in the background. We truly enjoyed this 6 kilometers hike.
Back to the hotel, we followed the advice of another guest and prepared a nice risotto with an excellent filet steak and an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon.