Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Thursday, February 25, 2010

License? We Don't Need No Stinking License to Tour Puerto Varas

Jorge, Andy and I hopped into our rented car  to take  a little jaunt around the lake to see the rest of the Llanquihue Lake region, of course with Jorge at the wheel.

Shortly we  came across the Colegio Aleman de Puerto Varas (German School) announcing enrollment for the school year beginning March 1:


The school began in 1904, though according to it's website, it's idea came to form December 1857 when 26 settlers from Germany in the region south of Lake Llanquihue, met with the aim of creating a school for their children.

As we traveled the road the wrapped around  Lake Llanquihue the little wisp of a cloud barely visible in the sunrise that morning was growing, softening the mountain's outline.


Opposite the lake were pastures and rolling hills leading up to more mountains.

But nothing could beat the lake views.

We headed eastwards along the road leading to the tiny town of Ensenada and passed by the lake's beaches:  Hermosa, Niklitscher, Punta Cabras and Poza Loreley. As we were about to enter Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park we were met with a Carbinero (Chilean Police) check-point.... and of course we were stopped.

It was then Jorge rethought and reevaluated his philosophy in life based on two of his favorite movies, Treasure of Sierra Madre...

...and Pirates of the Caribbean"Hang the code, and hang the rules. They're more like guidelines anyway!"

In this case, Jorge had forgotten to pack any of his driver's licenses (Virginia's license or International License) and he did not have a Chilean License yet. So now he faced his fate with the carbinero. Congenially, as any self-effacing tourist caught in a bind,  he explained to the policeman that he must have forgotten his license back at the hotel. Now we were in a dilemma, because the carbinero was not going to allow Jorge to drive the car without a license... Oh what to do?? Oh what to do??

That's when I popped up and said "Oh happy day!! I finally get to drive!!" holding up MY VALID VIRGINIA DRIVER'S LICENSE.  Tsk-tsking my machismo husband always insisting on driving, I assured the carbinero I knew how to drive a stick and was quite capable. As Jorge and I switched places I winked at the carbinero giggling now FINALLY I get to go where I WANT on this trip!!

Chuckling along with me he bid us a safe drive and reminded Jorge that I needed to drive the car now until he "locates" his license.

Sunrise over Osorno Volcano, Puerto Varas

For most of our time in Patagonia and Los Lagos (Lake) Regions the weather was chilly, cloudy, and rainy. Finally we had a break in the weather and could confirm that volcanoes actually existed at the other end of Llanquihue Lake. What a wonderful gift to wake up and to witness sunrise over Mt. Osorno ( the more pointed mountain to the left) and Mt. Calbuco ( the rounded topped mountain to the right). Also shown is the lake front and dock of Puerto Varas. The photo essay documents the sun in its climb over the mountains:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The One that DIDN'T Get Away: Fly Fishing in Puerto Varas

New Year's Eve we spent a full day of fly fishing on Petrohue River in Puerto Varas using Southern Chile Expeditions arranged through the Darwin Tours.

We were met at the hotel by our fishing guides.  One was a very talkative gringo who moved to Chile years ago to work the mines, married, divorced, then stayed to live a Jimmy Buffet life style when he wasn't doing land deals and chasing other failed business prospects. Our other guide was a young man who was the son of another river expedition tour group, Redlich River Expeditions. The real fishermen (Jorge and Ian) spent the day with the local guide while Andy, Kristina, and I spent the day with the Jimmy Buffet guide.

They drove us to a our arrival point down river to get outfitted including gear and lunch.

 With boats, gear, and goodies loaded we traveled on to Frutillar to launch, sorting the fly fishers (Jorge and Ian)  from dunk and hope fishers (Kristina, Andy and me.


No sooner were we launched did the guys try their hands at fly fishing.


As the boys drifted/rowed into the shore line to do serious fly fishing ...


... we zipped around them to tease what fish we could out of pools farther ahead.

The scenery and weather was wonderful on the early morning river, which made up for the fact that we were enduring the incessant chatting and life sharing of our guide.



But despite the chatting our guide did bring us to some good fishing spots and we did have better luck than the boys did with their fly fishing.


Our guide gave great advise on how to throw our lines out so we wouldn't get snagged among the bushes.We just needed a little more practice. Kudos to his sense of patience with us!

We were shown how the locals fished using a can and string- They seemed to be having pretty good luck too.

The best catch of the day was accomplished by our guide. Kristina, while looking over the boat to see if she could spy any fish, lost her new Ray Bans-- they slid off her nose and into the water. The guide looked at us all and weighed the situation-- to dive in and swim for them or to write them off and kiss away the tip. Luckily we were able to spot them hanging precariously over a sunken log.

With tremendous skill and patience,

our deft guide

was able to snag the glasses and

with steady hand

bring them safely on board and back into Kristina's hands.