Lakes, lakes and more lakes

After our six-week break in Pucón, we are now back on four wheels and continue towards the south and Patagonia. In the process, we are slowed down, sometimes more, sometimes less voluntarily...


The region we are traveling to next is not called "Región de los Lagos" for nothing. Lake after lake line up, so that one could easily lose the orientation, at which of these lakes one is now. Before we start with the lake discovery, we visit our favorite cafe in Pucón for the very last time, which will now probably lose sales when our regular consumption ceases. Sorry.

How we feel to finaly be travelling again after six weeks? Fantastic! We really enjoyed the time with a roof over our heads, but now we slowly but surely have a tingling in our legs again and it's time to move on and finally discover Patagonia. We are really looking forward to it and are really in the discovery mode again, just as it should be. Since our visas need an extension soon anyway (yes, we've been in Chile that long), we decide to head straight for Argentina. The regular reader may remember. We have already made one unsuccessful attempt to cross the Chilean-Argentinean border. At the second attempt, however, everything works out with the formalities and we actually leave Chilean soil for the first time. We have to smile a bit because of the road conditions. As soon as we reach the Argentinean side, we also say goodbye to the asphalt. Small spoiler, also at the next borders the Chilean side is always asphalted and the Argentine gravel road. One could now conclude that in Chile all roads are asphalted, which is not the case at all. But as is well known, the first impression counts...

The small circuit through Argentina serves primarily to extend our visa and a small foretaste of our next destination. We are looking forward to it, because the gasoline costs only 1/3 here and also generally the prices are clearly more favorable. The country has been going through an economic crisis and massive inflation for quite some time. An open secret here is the "Blue Dolar", an unofficial exchange rate, which makes it even cheaper. After a quiet night at one of the most beautiful campsites so far we return to Chile, also this time without any big procedure. On the contrary, the border officials are very friendly and talkative. The first village after the border can only be reached by ferry from the Chilean side. It is located at a beautiful lake, seems sleepy and friendly. Our anticipation for Patagonia is rising, this is how we imagined it.

Besides the lakes, the region is characterized by mighty volcanoes, which rise into the sky and are practically all still active. Therefore, we definitely want to visit one of the many national parks here. Unfortunately, the park employees are currently on strike. The only effect for us, however, is that we have to hike a little further, because we park the car at the barrier. However, we don't pay an entrance fee because there is no one there. Finally, real hiking in the mountains again. While we enjoy the movement and the view, Sara's knees have decided to do just as the Rangers and also go on strike. She bites through it, but it can't go on like this. But for something you have friends. Professional advice is sought via Whatsapp and with a few exercises, in which the water bottle is converted into a black roll, a little improvement soon occurs. Thus Sara's morning routine is given for the next few weeks and the anticipation of the coming hikes is there again.

But then the next damper. After shopping, the trunk can no longer be closed. We already had this problem once and since we can't possibly travel through South America with a car that won't close, it now has to be solved properly. We rattle off various mechanics, but they all wave us off, too complicated. Finally we end up at the "official" Toyota garage. There it quickly becomes clear that the entire locking mechanism has to be replaced. But of course this is not available on site and has to be ordered. And since the weekend is about to start, we have to wait for four days. After the initial frustration we decide to explore the area with its huge lakes and picaresque villages. You can still see the German influence of their founding fathers and so we learn a lot about the history of this region. Nevertheless, we soon have seen it all. In addition, it is not easy to find a suitable place to stand, since most of the land is fenced. After a long search, we therefore decide one evening to pitch our roof tent on a farm that offers this in an app for travelers.Once there, a real barbecue is already underway. The owners, two New Zealanders with their children, return home two days later and we meet them at their farewell dinner. We are immediately invited to join them. On the grill, which is a whole car trailer, stews a beef from the farm, which was slaughtered the same day. We enjoy the meal and the community, which is mostly English-speaking, so that for once Beni can really join in the conversation.

After this highlight we return to Osorno, where we have taken a room for two nights to wash, shower and wait for the arrival of the spare part. This actually arrives at the specified time and so we can bring our car for repair. We also want to replace a seal, which we have also ordered. This should arrive in the evening. So we have to wait again. We use the time to have a duplicate key made for our Javier. Since Beni had locked himself out of the car in Pucón and we had to call the locksmith, this security measure was definitely indicated.

But back to the workshop. When the ordered seal arrives, it turns out to be the wrong one. Of course, they would be happy to order the right one now, too, but we gratefully decline. We have seen enough and finally want to move on. So a little bit of tape will have to do. We leave Osorno somewhat poorer, but with a car in which the trunk now works perfectly and is even reconnected to the central locking system. Kind of nice too.

We finally drive south again, but not very far. But the stop has a nicer reason this time. A colleague of Beni and his girlfriend, Manu and Céline, are also traveling Patagonia and are just in the same area. So we arrange to meet in a brewery, which produces different beers locally. Besides the excellent barley juice, we also enjoy speaking in Swiss German again. We sleep directly in the parking lot, which is appropriate given the zero alcohol limit in Chile. A further advantage of it shows up then in the next morning. Already at seven we have to get up, because Switzerland plays its first group game at the World Cup against Cameroon. After watching the first half on the laptop, we are allowed to watch the second part on the big screen in the brewery. Now, despite the unusual kick-off time, there's still a bit of a football atmosphere. It certainly helps that Switzerland emerges victorious from this encounter.

After that, unfortunately, it's time to say goodbye again. While Manu and Céline are already leaving for the ferry, we have another special treat waiting for us, one that we have been looking forward to for quite some time. We want to go to Cochamó for a few days. There is a valley, which is considered a true hiking Mecca. Only accessible by foot, it is nestled between steep granite walls. Probably for this reason it is also called the Chilean "Yosemite". You can think what you want about such comparisons and their meaningfulness, but breathtakingly beautiful it is in any case!

We decided to separate from Javier for three nights and sleep in the tent again. Enough time to walk the different trails. They all have one thing in common: They are steep and due to the particularly hard winter there is still snow in many places, so that it is not easy at all to stay on the trail. But the remoteness and breathtaking views more than make up for the effort, and much to our delight, Sara's knee is cooperating again. Three days of sun and mountains. Fulfilled, we tackle the descent.

Now it's off to Puerto Montt, where we take the ferry to Chaitén overnight. There the Carretera Austral is waiting to be discovered by us!