Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Las Cascadas

December 1

Breakfast was on the terrace together with Stefan, Susanna and Nico, and another fine view of Osorno on a sunny morning.

Excellent.

But we had nothing planned, and whilst we'd have liked to sit there all morning, a couple of hours was sufficient for us to be itching for the next adventure. Nico was very helpful with suggestions and we found it difficult to tear ourselves away from the delights of La Quila (www.quilahostal.com). If you get a chance, do try to visit, and pass on our best wishes to Nico and Neutrina (?) (the dog).

So at about 10.30 we hopped into Sparky and headed off along the lakeside. After a very short way we were enticed up a 1000 metre plus climb to the end of the road up Osorno, at around 1200 metres. From here the only way up (another 1400 metres to the summit) is by chairlift  (not working) or by foot. The car door opened and a piece of paper of unknown importance took to the skies. We got out and were sand blasted. The views, reportedly magnificent, were almost obliterated by the swirling airborne particles.

We retreated to a calmer spot lower down the hill to enjoy impressive views over Lago Llanquihue and Calbuco.

Our next excitement was a very rocky surface that challenged Sparky's rather limited clearance, up a 3 km side road to Las Cascadas. Then a walk up a lovely path past a new to the trip three petalled white orchid or lily, a good metre in height. After a kilometre and a few thin bridges, the thump of water crashing into the deep valley lined by ferns and other jungle furniture got louder as the waterfall grew closer. Birds squawked a vibrant warning of our coming, as we made our way through the dark canopy of bamboo and vines.

We admired the falls through a haze of spray before dropping back down the path to a rocky area where we could enjoy a bite of lunch. Hummingbirds busily harvested the fuchsia, a dipper flew close overhead, birds of prey circled over the canyon, ferns dripped and bumble bees fertilised. The roar of the river seemed very insignificant compared with the crash of the waterfall that we'd just left.

Next we took Sparky down the wrong exit and spent some time reversing back out of my mistake...

Zapato Amarillo Hostal in Puerto Octay was our next target, as Nico had told us that the Swiss owner, Armin, would be able to sell us a map of somewhere interesting. We inadvertently took the scenic lakeside route, past huge herds of dairy cattle and some magnificent lakeside mansions. But the road wasn't surfaced, so it took a while. Apparently there's a Nestlé milk powder factory nearby that supplies much of the western world, hence the large numbers of dairy cattle.

Armin did indeed sell us a map, and the place looked so nice that we wanted to stay, so he also sold us a room in his little empire. We have a semi-detached bungalow with a different view of Osorno compared with the previous three nights. Other hostal buildings have grass covered roofs. In fact, there seem to be acres of grass, and Armin sports a pale green hue from his efforts to cut it.

We went off for a 5 km stroll around a nearby peninsula, on which a magnificent but closed hotel, the Centinela, built in about 1916, hides the fact that a future King Edward had stayed there in 1931, according to Thomas's guidebook.

The town of Puerto Octay is full of small shops all claiming to be 'Supermercados', though one of them seems to be full of old slot machines, videos and various gaming paraphernalia. Plaques outside the wooden buildings disclose their vintage, ranging from the 1880s to the 1920s. The wooden church has a beautiful wooden interior.

We enjoyed cokes outside a café before purchasing the provisions we need to be able to flex our itinerary over the next few days, during which contact with the outside world may be lost for a while. Then it was back to our nice room to sort out gear, before returning to Puerto Octay to a restaurant recommended by Armin. It was shut, but we got an excellent meal at Hotel Haase, which looked as if it would be expensive but wasn't.


An elderly chap from Hamburg, the aforementioned Thomas, joined us for the meal. He reminded me of Humphrey. He is also staying at the hostal, on a three week trip that has included the Torres del Paine 'W'.

Today's pictures:
A view to Lago Llanquihue and Calbuco, from the slopes of Osorno
Las Cascadas
- one of several rickety bridges
- unfurling ferns in the constant spray from the Falls
- the cascade
On the peninsula, where I chatted briefly to Pete Hill in Bath (until he realised how much it might be costing him)
Our new view of Osorno from our room at Hostal Zapato Amarillo
Our room at Hostal Zapato Amarillo

That may be it for a few days, depending on what we get up to, and as I write this we have yet to discover wifi in Puerto Octay, so bear with us if you don't receive any response to comments (if any have been made).

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