Puerto Varas was an interesting little town on the shores of Lake LLanquihue, with a couple of volcanoes in view around the other shores. It was a quiet little German influenced town, and we spent Saturday and Sunday there, walking around the lake and the town just seeing the sights.
A little history on this area of Chile, apparently there were the Mapuche indigenous group of peoples that originally inhabited this area before the Spaniards arrived and they effectively fought off the Spanish invasions on numerous occasions, keeping the country divided in the middle for hundreds of years and keeping spanish influences to a minimum in this area known as the Lake District or Region de los Lagos. But eventually some German settlers from the Black Forest arrived arouind 1850 and brought with them their culture, architecture, and gastronomy (stuff like bratwurst and *KÃ¼chen *a very tasty pastry can be found on every street corner). The language was lost for the most part, and everyone speaks a barely distinguishable form of mumbling Spanish. Nowadays the whole area has a quaint european feel to it. The food here in general is incredible, a little german influence and a LOT of fish and seafood. We’ve been eating huge porcions of salmon, corvina, merluza, and local favorite congrio, for fractions of the price of what youd pay in the states. Also, the architecture is very different from what you see in northern Chile, everything being made from wood and a lot of attention to detail (little stick frame houses with paint as opposed to the concrete-slabbed houses of peru/ecuador/bolivia, wow!)
We went up to another little town called Frutillar sunday afternoon, it was significantly smaller than Puerto Varas, but well-known and liked as a tranquil resort town among chileans. We hiked up into the hills surrounding the town and had some spectacular views of the lake, town, and volcano. After that, we headed down to Chilóe which is where we are today.
Also in Puerto Varas we had our first real encounter with an Argentinian. His name was Frederico, about our age and really happy person. I think he just simply liked to talk, which is what he did for most of the time we were around him. He talked, above all, about the architecture here and on the island of Chilóe. He was on a trip to document this type of architecture for his thesis, something about using acurate architecture in animations… like cartoons is what I got out of it. Man he was genuinely excited about it, which only reminded me of how much I don’t want to return to serious work back in the US.