LEAVING ARGENTINA FOR PUERTO VARAS AND FRUTILLAR CHILE

Time to leave this breath-taking country of snow-capped mountains, azure colored lakes and beautiful forests.  

We are going for a few days to Puerto Varas before flying out of Santiago.  Catching an early bus, I looked up at the sky and there was Venus glowing in the morning light. I have been in awe of the skies in this southern hemisphere – there were times on a clear night that I felt like I could touch the stars.

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The bus to Puerto Varsas is about a six hour drive.  The buses are so comfortable and clean.  We were even served a delicious cup of coffee.  A last look at the mountains….

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It was a new experience crossing the Border to Chile. We all had to get off the bus, present our documents and then put our bags and purses on a long bench to be "sniffed" for anything illegally brought in to the country. Chile is very strict as to what can and cannot enter. All the luggage is taken off the bus and given the same treatment. Here's what it looks like —

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Now in Chile and again the remains of the ash are evident everywhere on the mountain road.

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We arrived in the afternoon at Puerto Varas – two snowcapped volcanoes stand sentinel over the picturesque city and its scenic Lago Llanquihue. Unfortunately it was raining and the volcanoes were covered in heavy cloud cover.

Puerto Varas is one of Chile’s most charming villages, located on the shore of Lago Llanquihue. Also known as the city of roses. It is a spruce little town, with wood-shingled homes and a rose-encircled plaza The city was built by the sweat and tenacity of German immigrants, and this is particularly evident in its architecture which resembles European influence.

And the food!!!! The German pastry, especially the Kuchen (cake), cookies and marmalades. The home-made beers, the fish, the seafood, the cured meats all make this a gastronome delight. We opted for the seafood at “Donde el Gordito” — where we became great friends with the owners…

Our meal….the drink is a Pisco Sour which Chile claims this classic cocktail as their own. The owner is famous for making the best Pisco Sour – Jody gave him a kiss for his creation. The restaurant is a tiny room but one of the most popular in the city. We ate dinner there on both nights.

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WE LEFT A NOTE COMPLIMENTING THE CHEF ON A GREAT MEAL. I SEALED IT WITH A KISS… A GREAT EVENING!!!!

We walked to the shore of the Lake – enjoyed watching young boys having the time of their life in the water — how this shopping cart got in the water is a mystery — took photos of the area by the visitor’s center — passed a funky museum –couldn’t resist the beautiful landscape and some of the hotels..

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Jody and Tim on their last visit to Puerto Varas found this charming hotel. This visit, it was our destination and it was just perfect.

Along with the photos of the building, there are photos of Chile’s national flower (copihue) – it took eight years to reach its current growth. The flowers feel very waxy – almost looks unreal.

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Jody had read of a new opera house which prompted us to visit Frutillar. We were not disappointed.

Frutillar is called “the southern jewel of the Republic” and there’s no doubt that this charming lakeside is perfectly described. It is full of picture-perfect scenery, from the shores of Lake Llanquihue and the surrounding forests and pastures to the views of the volcanoes. We lost ourselves in the clean, tidy streets lined with gardens of roses and dahlias and perfectly maintained wooden houses. And, of course, the famous strudels and kuchen is served in all the restaurants and part of the legacy of the German colonists. The city offers more than history and food. It is the Teatro del Lago, the opera house, which features live performances of classical and jazz music.

As we were strolling the streets, many shops drew us in to enjoy the beautiful weavings and art works.

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I DID GET A LITTLE GLIMPSE OF THE BOTTOM OF THE VOLCANO FROM THE SHORE.

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THESE TWO LITTLE GIRLS BRIGHTENED OUR DAY…

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AND I CAN’T RESIST LOVERS…

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JODY FOUND A HAT THAT JUST SAID “THAT’S ME!!!!”

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AND THEN FOUND AN OUTDOOR SCULPTURE THAT SAID “PLAY ME.”

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THIS SCULPTURE REFLECTS THE TOWN’S APPRECIATION OF MUSIC.

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THIS SCULPTURE GREETS THE VISITORS .

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A LOVELY PIER TO ENJOY THE VIEW..

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AND FINALLY THE OPERA HOUSE, TEATRO DEL LAGO – WHERE WE ENJOYED A CUP OF HOT CHOCOLATE AND SALMON SANDWICHES

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A OUTDOOR SEATING FOR TEATRO DEL LAGO.

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MY, HOW PERFECTLY SATISFIED WE FELT AS WE RETURNED TO PUERTO VARAS — ONE OF THOSE VISITS YOU HATE TO SEE END. JODY AND TIM ARE PLANNING TO RETURN THE FOLLOWING DAY TO TAKE A TOUR OF THE OPERA HOUSE. I WILL HAVE TO LEAVE THAT FOR ANOTHER DAY.

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