Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Southern Andes and Pacific

While waiting for the repair of our car's engine, we had some time to get to know Osorno. Our pickup was parked inside the Servimaq Toyota shop, while we lived next door in the camper in a driveway of a windshield repair business. This was a stroke of luck for us and a very generous offer of Mauricio, who lives on the second floor of the windshield place with his family.
Toyota motor parts
Toyota Motor 3D Puzzle/3D rompecabezas
We visited Osorno's public library frequently, using the good wifi there. The library was converted from the old railway station, and it also serves as a small art gallery. Osorno has many antique houses, most built by German immigrants in the late 19th century. By bus, we visited nearby places such as Puerto Octay on the shore of Lake Llanquihue. Just like the town of Osorno, this village shows a lot of German influence.
Osorno, Chile
On the 25th of February, 35 days after the tow truck dropped us off at Servimaq, came the big day: our pickup was running again with an reassembled and shiny engine, repaired and cleaned by the friendly Toyota mechanics.

We loaded up the camper, said our good byes, and headed west to Maicolpué on the Pacific coast. This was a test drive in case something didn't feel just right with the car. But the trusty Toyota hummed happily and healthily. Yes!!!
public library
Library/Bücherei/Biblioteca Osorno
By now, we really wanted to move on. Fall was approaching rapidly and with it rain and cooler temperatures. Time for us to escape northward.
Octay Chile
Puerto Octay, Chile
Here is an odd bit of trivia: I've always been good at navigating, but I was not aware of how much of it I appear to do subconsciously: As we were driving north, I kept being startled by the sun shining through the windshield onto my lap. Aren't we going north? Yes we are. Then what's the sun doing here? Ah yes, things are "backwards" in the southern hemisphere. Apparently, after living most of my life in the northern hemisphere, my subconscious got programmed to know that sun on the lap means going south. Not down here: the sun always is in the north.
volcano and lake
Osorno Volcano/Vulkan/Volcán
With the sun warming our laps, we headed to the small town of Panguipulli on the lake with the same name. This is a scenic and touristic little town, where they make spectacular jam and honey.
Puntiagudo Volcano/Vulkan/Volcán
Unfortunately, the weather "went south" (= it started to rain), so, instead of exploring around the lake, we went on to Pucón situated on the shore of another lake called Lago Villarrica. Here, sandwiched between this beautiful lake and the just as beautiful and still active Villarrica volcano, we spent some time at the spectacular place of a flying buddy's sister in law and her family. Pucón and the nearby town of Villarrica are very touristic places, and we were glad we only tangled with the tail end of the season.
Llanquihue, Chilean second largest lake/Chile's zweitgrößter See/segundo lago mas grande en Chile
Calbuco Volcano/Vulkan/Volcán
On we went to Estero Cobulto. This is a farm and campground owned and operated by a German family from Lahr near the Black Forest. In exchange for food and a free place to park the camper, we helped renovating an old, big, and beautiful house on the property.
This house just barely kept standing during the strong earthquake of 2010. Werner, the German owner, did an unbelievably meticulous job of bolting it all back together with quite a lot of strong steel brackets, each single one of which he custom-made to fit which ever joint it was for.
We spent a week at this friendly place with Veronika's excellent cooking. Veronika, also from Germany, was a visiting volunteer in charge of the kitchen; excellent assignment!
Pacific Coast
Pacific coast/Pazifikküste/Costa Pacifica
For us, it was time to get some more sun into our laps. Yes, we continued northward past more lakes and waterfalls and a city called Los Angeles. Near the town of Chillán at the geographic center of Chile, we turned west toward the coast.
South Chile Pacific
Maicolpué, Chile
Now the landscape had changed. In fact it changed so much, there is nothing left to show anymore what it used to look like. There are miles and miles and miles of eucalyptus and pine plantations rolling across the hills toward the horizon.
This truly is a place where one cannot see the forest for the trees, even-aged and evenly spaced trees. These are not functioning forests, they are vast monocultures, devoid of life and sunlight, dead, ugly, monotonous, and boring to drive through. Obviously, an environmental movement did not exist in Chile when the native flora and fauna was so thoroughly erased.
South Chile
Country Road/Landstraße/Camino Rural
The coast was spared this change. Farther north, the climate becomes dry and therefore unsuitable for timber production.

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