To Volcán Villarrica and beyond: the start of our road trip

Off we went… On a roadtrip! Woohoow!

The first night & day were unfortunately not as cool as it sounds:

–          A NIGHT AT COPEC

We spent our first night – very functional – on the parking of a gas station next to the highway. We arrived after dark and left in the dark morning. So far our resolution not to drive after dark…

 

–          A DAY AT TEMUCO

Our day at mechanics in a nutshell:

  • Mechanic 1: “Oh, but this engine is too new, I cannot work on this. Let me take you to Mechanic 2”
  • Mechanic 2 before seeing the car: “Okay, no problem, bring in the car”
  • Mechanic 2 when seeing the car: “Hmmm, no no no, I do not have dedicated staff to work on this engine”
  • Mechanic 3: “Why would you work on this engine? It works perfectly and it doesn’t make any sound! Let’s just concentrate on the essential things (absorbers, …)”

And so it was… We decided not to change the distribution chain, although we had the parts. We’ll see how this works out…

Our shopping day in a nutshell:

  • Store 1: “No, we don’t have camping chairs, it’s the end of the season you know”
  • Store 2: “No, sorry, no camping chairs anymore, not until November”
  • Store 3: “No, it’s the end of the season so we don’t have camping chairs anymore”

And so on and so on, you get the point. The same for gas canisters (which we managed to find somewhere anyway, hooray!).

Those who know me can imagine that I was already getting a bit worried if our road trip to the south was really a good idea. Those who know Benjamin can imagine that Benjamin didn’t see any problem at all :-) .

 

Night two! As our day at Temuco was not fun at all (spending too much money and still not finding what we were really looking for), we wanted to leave as soon as possible and drove – again in the dark (so long resolutions!) – to Villarrica. We parked the car at an almost quiet spot and we slept – with some vigilance and positive stress – the first night through. Still not really a roadtripping feeling…
But oh did that change in the morning. We woke up like this…

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… and yes, the roadtrip was ON!!!

 

Our last destination in Chile (for now) was Pucón, a touristic skitown-alike village, but (as predicted in Temuco) we are at the end of the season so no crowds for us. We had our own private scout there, Marie – the Française we met at Easter Island – was already there for a few days and guided us through the must do’s.
And we must admit, her must do’s were trustworthy:

–          A HIKE TO CERRO SAN SEBASTIAN:

We didn’t expect anything of this hike, but what a surprise when we arrived above the forest and saw one of the better views of our entire trip. A 360°view on volcano peaks (including Volcan Villarrica which we were planning to climb the next day), lakes, rocks, forest, … We spent quite some time at this place as we were really impressed!

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–          CLIMBING VOLCAN VILLARRICA:

First we were going to do it, then we were not, then yes, then no… But when we were driving to the foot of Cerro San Sebastian we saw in our rear mirror that yesterday’s entire day of rain had covered the top of Villarrica in snow (more than before).

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Now we HAD to climb it! And we are so glad that we did. It was really a top experience. Did we mention it is an active volcano, which means that we could actually see lava popping up in the crater. Seems like our hiking days in the previous months paid off as we managed to arrive first at the top (proud of ourselves :-)) which allowed us to stay at the top for at least 15 solitary minutes before the crowds were getting in. Truly magical experience! The way down was partly with a snow sledge: the cherry on the cake.

 

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Did you know?

Volcán Villarrica’s last eruption was in March 2015, only 1 year ago! However, it was a rather small eruption, which makes scientists say that there is still a big one to come.

 

Time for our first border crossing: just before dark – what else?! – we managed to cross the Chilean-Argentinean border with our temporary papers and not too much hassle. Sadly we had to let go a bag of potatoes and a bag of onions. Luckily Benjamin managed to save and finish the package of cheese we still got, which cannot be said about the former 😉 .

Again in the dark – we are getting pros! – we managed to find a perfect secluded spot a few kilometers after the border, in the middle of a national park.

  • 9 PM, after swallowing an active volcano and a full package of cheese that day, we crashed in the back of our car.
  • 10 PM, seems like our perfect secluded spot was not so perfect after all. A ranger with strong headlights, sirens and a torch knocked on our door which made the alarm of our car go off. Apparently we were not allowed to park there. Benjamin, in boxer shorts :-) , drove us to a parking lot a few kilometers away where we were more welcome but which was also very exposed.

And so we arrived at our first very cold night with ice flowers on the windows in the morning, a dashboard indicating -3°C and a cellphone with a broken screen.

Don’t cry for me Argentina!?

3 thoughts on “To Volcán Villarrica and beyond: the start of our road trip

  1. Na het lezen van de vorige verslagen ( ik was even achterop geraakt ) terug zin om mijn bagage te pakken en te vertrekken.
    Nieuw Zeeland was al ao mooi maar de eilanden en de hikes in Chili zijn ook prachtig. Ik hoop dat we daar ook zens geraken.
    Hier is her niet echt leuk, toerisme zit op zijn gat als gevolg van de aanslagen. Hopelijk zal het zich vlug herpakken en komt de wereld opnieuw naar ons. Groetjes Take care

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