The area is renowned for all sorts of extremes such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. Every day at noon, the warning siren is tested, sending an eerie wailing sound across town. At 6.30 one morning, we woke suddenly to the sound of the siren. I leapt out of the rooftent, certain that we were about to be covered in volcanic lava and ran into the hostel. The owner and her staff were in the kitchen cooking breakfast, when I burst in in my PJs loudly asking "Is the volcano erupting?"! They informed me that it was the siren form the fire station we had heard, so I went back to bed, telling the other campers that we were all safe!
We spent a couple of days on the island of Chiloe, South America`s second largest island, catching a feryy from outside of Puerto Montt. We took a short boat trip at Punihuil to three small islands just off the coast which are home to Magellenic and Humboldt penguins. The Humboldt was the 9th species of penguin that we have seen this trip! Chiloe is also famous for its 150 wooden churches and chapels, 14 of which are UNESCO world heritage sites and we visited a few of them.
We then headed to Osorno for a catch up with Krystelle and Justin, a fab Aussie couple we had met on the Antarctic trip. They were working at a hostel and we spent a lovely couple of hours with them. Krystelle made us feel right at home with homemade scones with jam and cream and copious amounts of tea!
We had also been in touch with our lovely Swiss friends, Roger and Anita, who told us they were in Pucon, near Volcano Villarica so we decided to go and meet them at the campsite. We had a rainy couple of days there with them, although we did not let it stop us enjoying a BBQ under both of our awnings. We only saw the volcano on our drive in as it was then under cloud for the 2 days we were there. Villarrica is still active and can spit out out lava and smoke.
We then all decided to head back into Argentina to escape the rain of Chile, and on the way we stopped at Las Llajas where our other lovely Swiss friends, Claudia and David (who we first met in Colombia) were working at a huskie and horse lodge. The owner had left them in charge for the weekend and we spent a brilliant weekend together. The farm was located at around 1500 metres in the Andes, which were dusted with snow. There were around 20 beautiful husky dogs, who lived in huge kennels in husky land! They work in Winter taking tourists on sledge trips. We loved them. Claudia and David let us feed them, which was amazing. They eat one meal a day and devour their food in about 20 seconds, bones and all! We had to enter each pen with 2, 3 or 4 dogs in, put the bowl down without them biting our fingers off in their haste to get to their food, make sure they don`t steal each other's food when they have finished and then take their empty bowls out. A few times a day they would all put their heads in the air and howl in unison, which was a haunting sound. One, Bart, was old and blind and was let out to exercise each day. He loved chewing on bones and once, whilst we had taken our eyes off him, ate a whole pair of gloves that he had found in the porch! He also ran into thongs when he was let loose, but had a wonderful time exploring! There was also a husky puppy called Zorita who also was let out to exercise and get fussed by everybody! We had great weather for the 2 days and ate and drank outside admiring the spectacular views, chattering ten to the dozen! Gav and David went fishing and returned with a huge trout, which we ate for our tea. Although David managed to cut his finger with his fishing knife whilst he wrestled with the fish! This is the last time we will see Claudia and David this trip, as they are returning home soon and we will miss them as we have seen them a few times along the way. This was a great way to say goodbye though!
Now we plan to head to Mendoza, famous for its vineyards and wine tasting!