It’s raining! Our first rain (other than a few spits in Buenos Aires and the overnight thunderstorm in Bariloche) … it was cold and wet this morning, which was a very nice change from the hot dry conditions we’ve experienced in Chile up until now. Breakfast was the usual – but we had bought a box of cereal (Special K) the night before, so I was able to have a bit more of a substantial start to the day, which was nice.
We had decided to and catch a bus to several small towns along the lake north of Puerto Varas, and we stopped in at the tourist information office for some advice first. There is an extensive and regular bus service that goes just about everywhere. We went to the local bus stop where several guys with a stop watch kept track of the bus schedules and helped people find their buses – surprisingly organised really. They pointed us to the correct bus to Puerto Octay, which we got on – they are all mini-buses (like a Mitsubishi Canter or similar) with 20-25 seats.
The bus headed up the highway, stopping in a number of small towns along the way, but eventually got us to Puerto Octay. It was interesting to see people get on and off the bus – many just hailed the bus on their street corner and indicated to the driver when they wanted to get off – there are no real marked bus stops except perhaps in each town center. Even in the rural areas, I was surprised by the number of people getting on and off the bus – usually out the front of a farm house, and often they just went up the road a bit, although some were obviously coming from town with some shopping.
Puerto Octay turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, a very small (and quiet!) town, we actually missed the main part of town since the bus station was down the street and we walked the wrong direction towards the lake, instead of up the hill. Some lovely old buildings – and the quietest town we’ve been to so far … there was a nice camping area by the lake which would be very peaceful. We eventually found the main part of town, which consisted of a few shops and church and hall surrounding a central plaza area – very typical of towns in this area.
Fortunately we had checked the bus timetable before heading out, the next return bus was in just over 30 minutes time (the same bus we arrived on returning to Puerto Montt), but then the following bus would not be for another 2 hours or more. Given the lack of things to see and do in Puerto Octay, we hopped on the next bus and headed back towards Fruitilla (which we had passed through on the way). Our bus didn’t go into the town, so we hopped out and got on the next bus heading down that way. By this time it had stopped raining, and by mid-afternoon it was clearing and turned into another warm, sunny day.
Fruitilla is a lakeside holiday destination with a nice swimming beach (with coarse dark grey sand). The town has a strong German heritage, and even contains a history museum that covers the German settlement of the area. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to visit that – I would have liked to learn more about it. The town has quite a few art and craft stores dotted along the main road that follows the lakefront. After finding somewhere to eat lunch (which was just a couple of large empanadas – which were okay, but nothing special), we spent the afternoon wandering along the lakefront and exploring some of the art and craft stores.
We were exhausted by about 5pm, so went to the town bus stop and waited for a bus that would take us back to Puerto Varas – we were back by about 6pm.
Dinner was leftover pasta from last night, but we washed and chopped up the strawberries and covered them with whipped cream (from a can we bought at the supermarket), which made a very nice dessert.
It was a fairly early night for us, and the hostel was quite quiet with mostly older people staying now – the dynamic of the place has changed completely with the departure of all the younger travellers.
Tweets from today
- wandering around Frutillar, Chile
- 1st February, 2008 4:06 PM from web