We successfully got to the hire car queue first, successfully added Chris to the insurance for free (my Avis Preferred Plus an apparent winner), signed an unintelligible Spanish language contract and drove off in a fairly impressive square shaped Peugeot thing with a boot that will reveal our luggage to South America over the next few days!
Chris took the wheel and we headed to Puerta Varas, a town with many Germanic features by Lake Lanquehue, overseen by the majesty of Mount Osorno. The classic cone shaped snow capped mountain dominating the skies.
This is, it seems, Patagonia. Steak country. So we lunched on steak that was cooked on an impressively large grill behind the bar of a pleasant but empty lake side restaurant. My chips went into an unseen oven.
I sat the pondering the beauty of the place. Wondering if it had been inhabited by escaping Nazis. Admiring the apparent prosperity of the town measured by active businesses and quality housing.
We went for a drive and discovered the polar opposite just a few miles away. Shanty town of desperately poor quality unplanned buildings that must suffer in the cold of the winter. A reminder that while Chile looks and feels relatively successful in many places it has a way to go on providing opportunities for all to join in the party.
We drove on to our accommodation. A one night stay in a lake view cabin. The price was good. The pictures looked nice. The reality was far better. As we drove up the pathway our host appeared and redirected our parked car to our cabana. Without a word of English he showed us how to light the fire, use the telly and charged us £50 before leaving, once his credit card machine had charged up using his Samsung phone charger.
Chris took control of the fire situation and the cold accommodation gradually, very gradually, warmed up and my fleece was removed a couple of hours later. As we sat down for the evening I realised just how good the location is. Lake. Volcano. Balcony. Chris trotted off to the balcony bedroom to step outside and practice his photography.
When he returned he suggested two weeks here in the summer would be quite special. He’s not wrong, if you like peace, views and need a rest.
We went to bed early. Chris took the master bedroom. I occupied a single bed in the downstairs room. The fire dwindled out around midnight and, despite the cold air we slept well.
Fire lighting morning style became a little more awkward. It might be cold for our last hours here!