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Pete+Rochelle


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Trips:

Round the world!!!

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Home sweet home

Auckland, New Zealand


Friday 4th- Sunday 13th Feb.
What would be the most exciting things about going home? Seeing all the family? Yes. Mums’ cooking? Of course yes. Receiving copious amounts of love from your nieces and embrassing your nephew? Defiantly yes. But the most exciting thing of all was ordering a cup of tea at the airport, in English! Complete bliss! Hearing someone say ‘sweet as’ also gave us a bit of a giggle.

The week was a very chilled out one. My Mum picked us up from the airport, drove us home, and we were greeted by the most amazing sight. Dozens of our photos from our trip all A4 size were covering the walls of our bedroom, going in the order of our trip. Mum had even carefully placed stickers on some of them. We weren’t expecting it and we stood there for ages just looking at our trip in big pictures in front of us. The great thing about it too was feeling excited and proud about our trip again. Our last couple of weeks in Chile hadn’t quiet gone to plan and we were feeling a bit flat about it all (as you may of guessed by the blog entries), so the pictures reminded us just how much we had done. So good on ya Mum!

My sister Tanya and her partner Karl put in the most brilliant welcome home breakfast of: sausages, bacon, eggs, tomato, mushroom, baked beans, spaghetti and much to Pete's delight- HP sauce. Thanks Sis! On the Saturday we had the ‘annual bbq’- so I could catch up with my old kiwi friends and their babies (ladies be warned- I think there is something in the water in Auckland, babies everywhere!).

On Sunday the girls and I also checked out a free music concert in the park that the council puts on every summer. A great excuse to sit on a blanket, eating icecream, listening to kiwi music with our friends Chris and Michelle and their two boys. Pete took this opportunity to stay have the house to himself and watch movies in silence. Our umbilical cord was finally broken!


We spent the week chilling out with the family, seeing my Grandad, catching up with friends and meeting avid blog fans (Hi Yvonne!). We spent a day at Auckland Museum with Madison, Jayde and Brodie, my nieces and nephew and Mum took us to a second hand shop so we could buy some new cheap clothes. How nice it was to get rid of the tops I had worn for four months to Tanya and wear something different!


Our big excitement for the week was going to Tree Adventures. It’s a place where there is a series of courses that are erected between trees and you have to go over the obstacles to make it to the flying fox at the end of each course that gets you back on the ground. We were harnessed in at all times, starting low to the ground on the first course, ending up about eighteen metres above the ground on course nine. Pete had to stop on the fourth one- his height was restricting his movements with the safety wire and he hurt his arm, so he was on camera duty. Jayde and Madison made it to the highest course for them, course eight, even doing some of the courses twice. For ten year olds they were amazing, and every time I freaked out I looked at them swinging between trees up high and thought myself silly. It was a little scary, hard work, but great fun. My body hurt the next day, but it was worth it.

It was great as always to be in my home country with my family and for once it didn’t rain! We are now back in Australia, catching up with Pete's family in Mackay, getting to know his little nine month old niece Sabina and trying to get used to the heat while enjoying his Mums cooking. Its back to the real world for us, thinking about where we are going to live and getting jobs, all that fun stuff. What we do know is that we have had the trip of a lifetime, one that will keep us going for a while, and give us fuel for our next one. We saw some awe-inspiring sights, met some wonderful people and got to play with monkeys!! Defiantly a highlight.
So this will be the end of this blog. We hope that you have enjoyed our adventures, laughed at our misadventures as we have. We survived the Amazon, the Inca trail and most importantly, each other! Thank you for your comments and keeping up with us. So until the next trip, goodbye!!! xx Peter and Rochelle


permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on February 26, 2011 from Auckland, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Round the world!!!
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Goodbye South America

Santiago, Chile


Monday 31st Jan- Wed 2nd Feb.
So we have finally come to it- the end of our South American journey. Arriving in Santiago we again stayed with Karim and Gigi for our last couple of nights, did last minute shopping in the city. The real fun started when we had to pack our bags and after a lot of grunting and shoving, we did a lot better than we expected. We still had kilos to spare. We decided to end our big holiday in style with a tour of the local and internationally renown vineyard: Concha y Toro. Gigi brilliantly helped us with booking the tour and getting all the information for the metro and taxis, as the vineyard was situated a bit out of town.

The day was hot with not a cloud in the sky, perfect conditions to indulge in fine wine. The vineyard was so very grand. Our tour guide, Philippe explained that the big colonial building on the vineyard grounds was the ‘summer house’ of the founders. If this was their ‘summer house’ I would have liked to have seen the size of their other seasonal digs. The ‘summer house’, overlooked a beautiful park that occupied sheep, horses with its deliciously green grass, and the adjacent fields played host to giant trees that lined dusty well warn paths. Philippe informed us that we weren’t allow to enter any building as they were now used as offices so we couldn’t go inside for disturbing the workers.


Purple grapes were abundant swinging on grapevines situated next to the house. Philippe told us the difference between growing green and purple grapes. He said the green grapes were grown down by the coastline more, as they loved the water and the winds and that the purple grapes needed really dry and still conditions, so inland protected by the Andes were their spot. Which explains why New Zealand makes a better white then a red; its simply not dry enough. The vineyard used a drip- feed- process to water the grapes. This technique made the vine think that from the lack of water in the soil it was on the verge of dying (a bit grim I know), so the vine put all its energy and nutrients into its fruit. From this process which really is the agricultural cousin to Chinese water-torture, you’re left with a rather small bunch of grapes due to the lack of water in the fruit, but one hell of an intense flavour. Their motto was quality over quantity when it came to their grapes, a sentiment that was to be trusted after we tasted their wine. After Philippe’s rehearsed speeches we were allowed our first glass, a wonderful blended chardonnay and Philippe showed us how to smell and taste the wine. He also topped our glasses up when we were finished. Good Philippe.

We were then shown the big cool rooms where the barrels of wine were kept, and the original cellar, which was over one hundred years old. This thing had been through major earthquakes and was still standing! We were told the story of their signature and original wine, Ciaballer de Diablo, or The Cellar of the Devil. On creating his signature drop, legend has it, he stored it in the cellar for safe keeping. In a short while he then began noticing that barrels were mysteriously disappearing, so to stop the theft he started a rumour that the devil lived in his cellar! Strangely everyone believed the tale and not another barrel was taken! Who needs CTV when you have superstitious Catholics I say. We were afforded another top-notch wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon. A bit too intense for me but Pete was satisfied.

We finished off our day with lunch and more wine in the restaurant and was serenaded by three American singers that we had met on the tour who sang on various cruise ships. They sang ‘Danny Boy’, which was quite surreal considering our surrounding I thought, but they sang beautifully.

It was a very long trip back to Karim’s with our heads full of wine, our condition providing the only cure for to suffer Santiago’s simmering- hot, jam-packed metro cars-sleep

It was a perfect ending to our stay in the great continent. Things had gotten a little unexciting towards the end, but Santiago came through for us. After a sad goodbye to Kairm and his family (who, by the way have one of the cutest babies ever!) we were on our way to a thirteen and a half hour plane ride with english movies (yes!!) and losing a day to time difference. We were ready for english speaking people, cooler weather and my Mum's cooking in my home country of New Zealand. So we'll let you know how that one goes soon! Please excuse the speed of the blogs- internet availability was the reason for a while, now taking a holiday from our holiday is. We are almost at the end though, what a trip it has been!!


permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on February 18, 2011 from Santiago, Chile
from the travel blog: Round the world!!!
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To boredom and beyond.

Chillan, Chile


Friday 28th-Sunday 30th

Have you ever been so disappointed by something, yet at the same time been so pleasantly surprised? This, people, was our experience in Chillan, a town so well known for absolutely nothing that even our friend Karim was surprised we were headed there. Here’s the thing though, our Lonely Planet bible told of a couple of small attractions that we thought were worth a look, so we took a chance on it. Once we were there we thought we had taken a wrong turn into Snores-Ville, yet we were soon to discover that that if you add a splash of good- humoured human nature to any tragic tale you’re more than likely to conjure a happy ending.

On its surface Chillan was a quiet, spread- out town, one and a half hours as the bus drones, inland from Concepcion. Graffiti and murals were abound, as were the car-part, bit-part stores. A place where we had a big lunch and four beers for only $17AUD. You will be also pleased to know that Chillan boasts cheap accommodation too, devoid of crazy folk!

Our first ramble we went on was to the information centre to find out about the places that interested us, which were: the great murals that ‘represented Chile’s cultural maturity‘, a huge weekend market, and beautiful waterfalls that were a bus ride away but rumoured to be well worth the discomfort.

Our first disappointment was hearing that the building the murals were in was closed due to earthquake damage. Oh well, still things to do, we thought. After that knock back we asked about getting to the waterfalls, to which we were assured it was very easy to get to as buses left every half hour from the local transport station. Something for us to do after the markets the next day. At lunch we looked at a map and booklet on Chillan we got from the information centre and saw a museum that looked interesting. It had the word music in the description so of course Pete wanted to look. It was a few blocks away but we went for a walk in the scorching heat only to find that the building was not only closed, but completely destroyed from the earthquake the town had last year. Oh well, still more to do tomorrow, so we thought. We did go out for dinner at a great little buffet restaurant so at least our bellies were satisfied.

Saturday morning we headed to the markets. Rumour had it that they filled a whole city block and to be fair they were rather large looking. They were filled to the brim with the greatest amount of fruit and veg we had ever seen. The souvenirs took up a small fraction of the stalls, all of them pretty much selling the same tacky token trinkety thing. Not as we were anticipating, but the bananas tasted fan-tastic. We weren’t worried though, because we were off to see some waterfalls!

What were we thinking? That there was something to actually do in this part of the world? Well we were wrong again. We made it to the bus terminal around 11.30pm, only to find that the buses stopped going out there at 10.30! That’s right, so by now we were well and truly over it. Nothing had gone our way and we had seen jack-shit in two days, from a town that seemed to have a lot we were given little. To add insult to irritation, we couldn’t get back into the hostel. It was one of those places where you didn’t have a key to get in, you had to ring a buzzer and someone came to the door. That’s what’s supposed to happen anyway. We knocked and knocked and waited and yelled until finally someone from a hostel across the road came over with a key and let us in. Apparently the owners had gone out. How nice for them! Maybe they knew something we didn’t and had some thing to do!!

Disillusioned, we opted to go out for some afternoon drinks when we were invited into another room in the hostel by a bunch of Chilean guys who were in a band. We ended up spending the afternoon playing music with them and speaking very broken english. They were a lively, friendly bunch with big personalities and amazing musical talents that played traditional Chilean music. We received free cd’s and Pete even had them playing along to his music as well! Merrier from meeting the guys we headed off out for dinner where we ended up in a quiet restaurant that had wi-fi. It didn’t want to work on our computer so they gave us their computer to use. They also used the computer for translating so they could explain the menu to us. We were given free nibbles, our glass was never empty long and our waitress tried so hard to have conversations with us. Then, when we decided to leave after midnight, they offered us a ride home. The hospitality we received from this family which owned the restaurant, and the fact it was pretty much the first place where we had people go out-of- their- way for us was another bonus to our otherwise boring evening.


We were quickly reminded of the situation we were in on arriving at our hostel. Upon pressing the buzzer to get in, yep you guessed it no one answered. After ten minutes and calling and knocking on the front door and it being about half past midnight on a dark street, we decided to go and harass the man across the road again. He didn’t come over to let us in this time, but called them the owners of our hostel, and five minutes later they showed up in a car, no apologies, tango nada. The worst part is being angry with someone who doesn’t speak your language. Whatever you say they just look at you and shrug. They could have at least told us where the party was.

Chillan. A funny little place where even the tumbleweeds grind to a holt. At least when we were mind numbingly bored we could always count on counting dogs.




permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on February 15, 2011 from Chillan, Chile
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Sorry everyone!

Chillan, Chile


Hey! Sorry we haven't updated you all for a little while, we have had limited use of expensive and slow internet. We have a couple of entries left to do to finish off our South American adventure, once Pete has edited my spelling they will be up! Bear with us- its almost over! xx

permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on February 13, 2011 from Chillan, Chile
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Living with the crazies.

Concepcion, Chile


Tuesday 25th- Friday 28th January
We had movies that were in English on our bus-finally! This might not seem like something write home about, but let me tell you that normally they’re in Spanish with Spanish subtitles! Go figure. We were so happy being able to follow the movie’s plot that we ‘almost’ didn’t mind that it was the worst E-grade crap we have ever seen. They were so bad they became enjoyable.

Conception is a city still recovering from major earthquake damage when a 8.3 earthquake hit them last year. It is also a university town so it has limited accommodation, with most of the rooms in town going to the student contingent. We were a little worried about the fact that our Lonely Planet bible only had three places listed in which to stay. Two were in the same building. We some how remained optimistic and when we hopped in a cab at the bus station we asked to be dropped off at the central plaza, hoping our luck would be there. As it turned out our cab driver ended up asking us if we had somewhere to stay and offered to take us to look at a place he knew. Well the room ended up more than our budget would normally allow, but we decided on ignoring that for one night so we didn’t have to stress. I have to admit by this time I had had enough of the whole trying to organise finding somewhere to sleep and trying to understand what people were saying and just wanted to stop thinking for a while. We still had the fun job of trying to find where the other hostels were that would hopefully be cheaper and more kind to our pockets in the coming days. To cut a long, very boring story short, we walked up and down the street the hostels were supposedly on to find that none of them existed any more. Awesome!! Luckily we found the information centre with the most helpful English speaking guy who had a list of places to stay and even rung them to get prices for us, because at that stage I was loosing faith in having any pleasure staying in Conception rapidly and was ready to just pack my bags and leave in the morning. Oh, I should mention this was the second spot for the information centre also- the first one wasn’t there anymore either. We checked out a place that was dirt cheap. It was very basic, but it had everything we needed so we booked in for the next two nights.

With that settled, we went out for dinner and saw everybody drinking beer with something around the rim. A customer told us what it was and said we should try it. Which we did, and did we regret it! I can’t remember the name of it, but its beer with lemon juice and a salty, chilli flaked crust around the rim of the glass. It was terrible, see pictures for more proof.

Wednesday.

We spent the morning watching the Mighty Boosh and Peep Show, an English comedy series which is quite funny, before heading off to our new hostel. We were then off to a café that had Wi-Fi before Pete and I went our separate ways, him to play guitar, and me to check out the huge craft fair that was on. It was pretty big, but filled with the same things over and over again. I’m getting bored of the same thing in markets all the time. Pete likes this though, as I’m not as excited to go to all the markets now and I don’t want to buy everything in sight.

That night we went to one of the many uni pubs for a drink. We were not far off leaving when this guy, Nickolas, who spoke very basic english approached us and told us that he had a friend who was Australian who would be so happy to meet us. We said “okay, where is he?” His friend wasn’t at the pub, and had to go through a series of phone calls to track him down. In the mean time Nickolas and his friend decided to sit with us, his friend not really speaking english at all and Nickolas just saying the same thing over and over again. “I love my friend and you met him make him so happy.” After over an hour of us waiting to see what was going to happen thinking that we were on the verge of another misadventure, Nickolas told us we had to walk fifteen minutes in the direction away from our hostel as Paul was at a restaurant. How do you tell someone who doesn’t speak English that if their friend was so excited to meet us why didn’t he come here? We left with the false promise of calling this Paul guy the next day and counting our loses.

Thursday.


We had been told the university was quiet impressive and went for a walk through the grounds to check it out. We weren’t disappointed. There were lush grass areas, statues, big murals and even little ponds where swans and students hung out and mutually contemplate how the uni survived the devastating earthquake without much damaged? Pete was very taken aback by it, especially since the rest of the city was nothing to look at.

We made our way to the most exciting looking thing ever-Plaza Jurasica. It was park that had big plastic dinosaurs through it. We saw it in the cab on the way into Conception, and were excited about going there. The dinosaurs were huge and you were allowed to climb over them and do poser photos. There only ended up being about five Dinos though much to our disappointment. Still, we took our photos and it was the first of its kind on our trip, which is always good!

I need to mention that by this stage we realised why our accommodation was so cheap (check out the kitchen shelving). Pete realised after channelling his ESP that the hostel was more like a hospice. No one there spoke a jot of English, but one spoke enough to let us know that one of ladies staying there was crazy! Loco. Alright! How to make us feel comfortable! Our only real solace was our padded room where we had a TV that was burry and fuzzy. Pete had the hugest sneezing fits from all the dust and we were woken up one morning with shouts and screams! You get what you pay for!! Friday morning we didn’t even have showers as the water was either scorching hot or freezing cold. We just woke up, packed up our stuff, and got out of there as fast as we could. Truly you have to go to really conceive Conception!


permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on February 2, 2011 from Concepcion, Chile
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Missed communication

Valdivia, Chile


Saturday 22nd- Tuesday 25th Jan

We arrived in Valdivia early afternoon and started our way into its central business district, which was of course to be near the ‘Plaza De Arms‘. Before we could leave the bus terminal we were approached by a lady who promised a room that was ‘comfortably affordable‘; well affordable until the point when she wrote down that the room was to be $60 Aus dollars, about $40 dollars above our budget. So we high-tailed it out of there.

We started walking down the street toward the centre again in slight desperation when from the ether a fashionably-bearded man in a vehicle pulled over. Okay, so he only poked at a brochure and slightly informed us that he had budget apartments available, but we had ‘tango nada’. He told us his apartments were even more affordable than the last hostal we presumed to be affordable, this time we believed the hype and the spanglish. We went along for the ride and were again sold on his proposition after seeing that own kitchen, bathroom and lounge was on offer. Even our pockets agreed.

Sunday.

Being Sunday and South America, everything was closed. Yet we decided to go for a small walk and have a look around the city. While we were walking towards the city’s centre we passed a small roadside market next to an old Spanish tower. The market was about old trinkets, pictures, coins and books. Pete picked up a couple of books. Exciting, intriguing non-fiction on the topics of: How To Develop Your: ESP, and a highly sexually-charged poetry book by John Updike. Oh, and a really cool Spanish comic book too.

The town centre was pretty boring, with the only attractions being a shopping centre and buildings that lined the streets which were covered in graffiti. We made it to the city’s waterfront where the Feria Fluvial (a big fish and veg market), takes place right on the edge of the river. It was quite smelly and full of life with people jostling and yelling out in order to selling their product. We spotted the resident sea-lions too! Valdivia is home to about four of them that get a feed from the off cuts of fish from the markets. These creatures are huge and very cool to watch swim or sun themselves behind the fish stalls. While in the vicinity we were approached numerous times to go on one of the many boats that took tours up the river, but we had decided earlier to go the next day.

We then walked over the bridge to take us to Isla Teja, an island nestled next to Valdivia, which features a wonderful national park, botanical garden, museums and historic buildings. We started riverside and visited Museo Historico y Arqueologico: two museums that is. The first exhibited the history of a German settler who documented a lot of ecological information, animal habits, plants matter and such. All the information about the guy was again written in Spanish so we didn’t really learn too much. The second museum was a beautiful heritage house that was once a home for the early German pioneers of the area. It fashioned its rooms with furnishing of community’s early history. The old furniture was gorgeous, with the antic wooden pieces to die for- a Saint Sebastian painting was also pinned to the wall. We then walked to the botanical gardens and had an afternoon nap under a canopy of trees lying on its soft, moss covered ground. It was peaceful and cool and ever so relaxing. Isla Teja was defiantly worth the look and it was after all, a wonderful day out.

Monday.
We had booked a four hour boat tour that afternoon. We sat on the deck of a very full boat and sweated under Chile’s hot sun, with the extra discomfort of a heat enticing life-jacket. After half an hour of waiting we finally left the port with the tour guide explaining the surroundings, drum-roll in Spainish, therefore three quarters of an hour rocking in the boat, we had absolutely no idea what the fuck was going on.

We do know however that we did stop at an old building a way up river to have afternoon tea. The guide came over to see us and coughed up some English, just a little less than the tour-guide had promised the day previous. Therefore we were finally aware that we were on a tour to visit an old house that was erected during the time of Germany’s first tryst with Chile’s coastline. Our new found awareness of what we landed ourselves in made Chile’s historical background even more intriguing.
The settlement was on the edge of a national park which we only got to see for a moment as by the time we had our afternoon tea there was only a half an hour before we had to go back to the boat. Exploring our surroundings was limited to keep it brief, making broken agreements the flavour of the day. What got us on the boat was the understanding that we could enjoy a leisurely walk in the scrub.

On the ride back to port we stopped at the very small village of Punucapa, to see the oldest church in Valdivia. It was beautifully painted, quaint and wooden on a great big paddock with the grandest tree we have seen. This thing was huge and so majestic. We walked around the church then went to do some tree hugging. With a tree like this hugging needed to be done.

We made it back to Valdivia and despite our overall disappointment that we had with sights and lack of action at this late stage, we were impressed with Valdivia and what it had to offer. Isla Teja and Valdiva’s waterfront was quiet pretty, and to be honest we understand that all complaints must fall- on- deaf- ears when the sun shines on holiday makers who moan too much; especially those who have had the comfort of spending lazy afternoons sleeping their lives away on soft beds of moss! Really, despite all our set-backs, who has a comeback for that?



permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on January 31, 2011 from Valdivia, Chile
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Too much beer?

Puerto Varas, Chile


Tuesday 18th- Saturday 22nd Jan
A four hour bus ride from Chileo will get you to the lake side holiday town of Puerto Varas, only half an hour above Puerto Montt, but a whole lot more picturesque. We made it to our hostel, which had been lovingly pre-booked for us by Mirta in Ancud. This hostel needs to be seen to be believed. It was an old, slanted, house with a zillion dusty rooms in the spurting vein of Stephen King’s the Shining! We were given one of the less creepy lodgings that owned a particularly mysterious model of sinkhole beds, with the sink only occupying one side of it. But shit it was cheap! We walked along the esplanade, found the information centre and a map, found the supermarket, got our supplies and called it a day.

Wednesday.

We followed a ‘heritage’ walk around the town, which gave us a good look of Puerto Varas, it´s lovely catheral and took us past ye’olde German houses and any other old shite that the town’s maintainers thought to slap a ‘heritage’ sticker on to. We also had the privilege of watching a bitch on-heat being followed and harassed by about five other horny dogs. It was a little surreal, the dogs would gingerly walk down a street and in the middle of the road making cars stop and wait for the dogs to move. There were fights between the males and the female would get the shits and have a go at males that would be trying to mount her as she was walking. All this while avoiding being hit by on-coming traffic. Who said that us bitches can’t multi-task? I think it was the dizzying pinnacle of the Dog Game for us, and perhaps its strange end. We’ve not seen anything like it. Counting dogs is one thing, but being witness to pack rape is another charge.


That afternoon we went out for a beer before dinner. On the way to a pub we saw the exact same dogs again and had a laugh with a Brazilian family over it. They invited us to have a beer with them, next thing Pete was back at the hostel picking up his guitar and we were off to another bar to play music with them out the bar’s balcony. The Mum and Dad didn’t speak any English, but their son and his girlfriend did. All the guys played guitar and sang songs, with the dad even playing his original songs and music. We stayed out for a lot longer then we had thought we would and had a few more beers then intended, but made some new friends and have promised to visit when we go to Brazil. They were a great family and even though trying to have conversation could be funny at times it was interesting and a great night out.

Thursday.


We slept in and hung out in the morning. We were saving ourselves for the afternoon- The national beer festival had arrived in town!! After the night before we really weren’t in the mood for drinking beer, but, duty called and we had to do it. We walked to the tent that had been erected in the main square, and arrived to loud accordion filled music and the smell of hot-dogs. There were about fifteen different beer stalls selling lager and ales. One stall would be selling chocolate ale, the next coffee, one beer was even green! We had a look around and decided on the first beer to share, to ease into it. There were some pretty nice beers there, a couple not so good, but they went perfectly with a hot dog.

After a couple of different beers, we decided to go and try our luck at the Casino. It’s the biggest casino in the area and was either conveniently, or stupidly, right next to the beer tent. We had to pay to get in, something I’m not used to, but it gave a free Pisco Sours- yuck! We aren’t really fans, but I got one to sip on anyway and Pete tried his first (and last) Martini. We looked at the blackjack and roulette tables and decided on the ’safer’ bet of the pokies. We chose only the corniest and funniest to play. We bet $1000 pescos on at a time (about $2AUD) and proceeded to quickly lose about $10. Was the most boring time yet.

We met a funny little character on the way back to the beer tent, who seemed to be Pete’s best friend even though he was speaking slurred Spanish, and who though it would be a good idea to try and kiss me… a lot. We finally pulled him off Pete’s arm and went back to the tent, where there were even more people and the music still pumping. There were even kids running around in the tent, and none of the teenagers seemed to be trying to score a beer- that would never happen back home!! They would all be drunk!

Later on we went our for dinner at Dali restaurant. We had read in our Lonely planet book that it served tapas. Turned out they don’t, and we were the only people there, but we got a couple of starters to share and a bottle of wine which was fantastic. The chef came out to talk to us, and not only did she make all the food they serve (including the free little chilli chocolates at the end of our meal), but most of the jewellery and clothing in the little shop off the side of the restaurant as well. Very talented. So of course we had to purchase gifts from there. After finishing our second (!!!) bottle of wine in the coolest little wine bar they have in the building at around midnight we decided to call it a night. I pulled out the credit card to pay, and they didn’t have eftpos. Cash only, which we didn’t have. The waiter just told us to come and pay the next day!!! We gave him our names and the name of our hostel and I offered to leave my camera as security, but he said he didn’t need it. Fancy that! That wouldn’t happen round our parts either!

Friday
That morning we were feeling extremely sorry for ourselves. Don’t think we needed the second bottle of wine. I walked very slowly back to the restaurant to pay and take some photos, stopped in at the supermarket to get supplies and hopped straight back into bed. That was pretty much our day. I managed to get out of the bedroom later in the evening for a nice walk along the lake, and Pete managed later on with me to get pizza, then it was straight back to bed.

Saturday.

We were booked on an afternoon bus to take us to Valdivia, three hours up Chile. We decided to go to a museum in the morning that I had spotted on my walk the day before. It was a quirky little building, set up by a man of German descent and a wonderful artist who had small trinkets and antiques covering the small three level house. Where there wasn’t things of the old days there were his pictures, so many that some of them were even on the ceiling. After having a look there we headed back to the town centre for a hot chocolate before grabbing our stuff and hopping on the bus. Puerto Varas was a lovely little place, defiantly one that was pleasant on the eyes, ears, but not sure on the head when Beerfest is in town. It was our wettest town yet, with the most rainfall we have been witness to thus far, but that was still menial to what we have be seeing in Queensland! You can exchange sunshine for beer tents and bedridden hangovers quite easily so it seems.

permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on January 29, 2011 from Puerto Varas, Chile
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Our big adventure!

Ancud, Chile


Monday 17th Jan
We left Castro early so we could get to Ancud before eleven that morning. We went back to Mirta and Peter’s hostel and were greeted with smiles, hugs and kisses. “You are home! Welcome home!” said Mirta as she showed us to the same plain room that we where stuffed in previously. This was much to our disappointment as our bed sagged in the middle which made us uncomfortably rendezvous in its sinkhole in the middle of the night. We dropped off our stuff, and armed with the mud map Peter (the host) had drawn up for us and our raincoats, jackets as the weather looked bleak, we were off on our little adventure.

We had to walk into town to catch a bus. On our page of instructions from Peter were the names of the different buses that could take us to our out-of-the-way destination. I asked a man what time the bus was, and he told us that we had about an hour to wait. We sat on a plank of wood that doubled as a seat and a luggage storage unit that was located at the bus stop/back entrance to the adjoined supermarket and waited. The man in the know tried to have a conversation with me in Spanish which is always amusing which seemed to passed the time. We finally got on a little bus, filled with locals and asked the driver to let us know when to get off. Well, in all honesty I asked and he nodded , so we did what we normally do which was to pray and hope for the best mutual understanding there was or wasn’t.

Awhile later I spotted the name of the town that we wanted and waited for recognition from the driver. Just as I was getting a little worried he looked at me in the rear vision mirror and nodded, indicating for us to jump out. It was a miracle! He let us off at exactly the right place, just outside the museum. Okay perhaps miracle is too strong a term. In reality I suspect that he was just used to dropping the Gringos off in strange locations.

The wind was blowing a gale and the sky was grey, so we were forced to put on our layers and walk down a long driveway to get to the house/museum. This place was in the middle of no where. As we walked a man on horse back came past taking two cows to a paddock next to us. It was eerily quiet, with the only noises to be heard were Pete’s offers of “This is fucked, this museum belongs in a fucking museum man”, and the more welcoming, melodious tones of several song birds in the distance.


We arrived at a gate to a house that had all sorts of bones and old machinery in the yard. We thought this had to be the place and as we were reaching the front of a shed, a man came out of the house next to it. I asked him how much and he mumbled something at us. I gave him some money which he seemed happy with. Of course we didn’t receive change. This type of transaction is typical to nearly all South American countries, in fact, it would be fair to say- receiving change is like a Bolivian taking a holiday- it never happens.

We walked into the shed which was the museum and were greeted with old typewriters, bits of glass, crockery, badly stuffed animals, miscellaneous animal remains, shells, starfish and old coins. This place was the size of a one car garage, so it didn’t take us very long at all to look around and feel bemused. We finished off our look outside, in the yard, with a whale skeleton and some chickens. We even saw some pigs running past us up the path! Looking around the museum took us less time then it did to arrive there on the bus. Pete was not impressed with a look that could only be interpreted as ‘I told you so‘. The only thing to do was to take the long walk back to the town that we had passed, to wait for the bus, unfortunately the next one was two and a half hours away. I tried to sweeten the deal for Pete with the promise of a warm restaurant with hot chocolate when we got there.

We started the walk, and as we did the weather turned nasty. There was a strong wind coming off the adjacent lake and a light rain to boot. It was cold and grey and so desolate. I was actually quite enjoying the walk, we would occasionally be passed by cars, and trudged passed a couple of tents, but besides that there was nothing else to see. With the ominous weather it really made me feel that we were on an adventure. I think this pissed Pete off even more- joyfulness in the face of tedious discomfort. We finally made it to the town, only to discover it was the smallest town ever imagined, and the only two restaurants we passed didn’t make hot chocolate. One of them didn’t even have a menu, the waitress in a foul mood just started rattling off food items in Spanish so we didn’t stand a chance. We decided that instead of waiting the hour and a half that was left until the bus arrived, we would start walking in the direction of Ancud and try to hitch a ride; we had previous been assured by Mirta that this would be of no risk at all to our persons or our person’s personal possessions. We walked along the road and were passed by a couple of cars, then ended up being picked up by the most obliging car of all….a taxi! Not quite hitching-a-ride, but a lift all the same, and it cost the same as the bus.

We made it to Ancud and settled for hot soup as even there we couldn’t find hot chocolate. Pete was happy to be there, but happier knowing that we were leaving the next day. At least I got to see the museum, and yes, okay, cough, Pete was right, it was pretty much literally rubbish, but a day we will remember all the same.


The next morning we said goodbye to our new Chiloen family and goodbye to the quaint, sometimes charming, yet sleepy, very sleepy, oh so sleepy izzzzzzzzzzland.


permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on January 26, 2011 from Ancud, Chile
from the travel blog: Round the world!!!
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Chiloe's capital city

Castro, Chile


Wed 12th-Sunday 16th

Castro, Chiloe’s capital, was a quiet escape for us. We spent a couple of days chilling out, looking around the town at its icons and watching too many bad movies on TV as we had a bit of rain over a couple of days. Again, a very small town, but was bigger then Ancud and we even had a view of the harbour from our window!

Some of Castro’s attractions we saw were: Iglesia Francisco de Castro, the towns main church, was nothing to look at from the outside, but once inside you could appreciate its beautiful wooden architecture; the Palafitos, old houses on stilts that line the water front, and of course, there were more markets and dogs than we could count. There was also a port where fishing boats leave from, and charters that take you to several other smaller islands in the area, a main square which really had nothing in it, only an information centre, and the most supermarkets we have seen in Chiloe yet.


On Friday we took a bus to see the National park, when we arrived there were no maps available so we had to take directions from a ranger who didn’t speak a jot of English, we just hoped we wouldn't end up on the presumed long list of missing persons in the area. As we walked we were attacked by these fucking huge black flies that would try to fly in our face as we were walking and they would bite when they finally got to land on your skin. These things were honestly four times bigger then the biggest March Flies you’re likely to find in Hervey Bay. Needless- to- say I was not impressed and spent most of the walk squealing like a little girl. Pete thought it was hilarious. When I wasn’t battling the flies though, the walk was most enjoyable and serene. We decided on a short walk, the bigger ones being twenty kilometres, and ended up walking through Sendero Interpretivo El Tepual, which took us through fallen trees and moss covered walk ways. Apparently because of the constant water in the soil, the trees ultimately rot in the earth and fall over, leaving a floor covering of wood pulp, which allows other vegetation grew on top of it. It really was different.

We then walked in the opposite direction towards the beach. It was a bit of a hike to get there, and once there the wind was blowing so hard that we were instantly covered in cold black sand and began to freeze. We did the sensible thing and turned around and went to a warm café. Along the way we said hello to some cows in between our dance with the monstrous flies.

On the Sunday we took another bus to the small town of Chonchi, were we were planning to take a ferry over to one of the many islands that dot the coast line of Chiloe. The night before we had gone out for dinner and had a little too much to drink, actually Pete was feeling a bit worst for wear in Chonchi and not happy with me ‘cause I wouldn’t let him sleep. We walked down to the port to find out where the ferry left from, only to discover it leaves from a different port, five kilometres away. The tourist information people in Castro really need to lift their game, we didn’t sign up for a marathon. We had a look at what Chonchi had to offer instead, which was a small smelly beach littered with evil looking dogs, a market, and, the coolest local man that had little shop with a display of accordions to look at, old and new. He even gave us a demonstration. Gosh he was good. So we bought one of his CD’s. That afternoon we packed our bags and planned to head back to Ancud the next day much to Pete’s displeasure.

Monday we were up early to catch a two hour bus back up to Ancud to finally see the museum I wanted to see before leaving the island. But I’ll save that adventure for the next entry. xxx


permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on January 21, 2011 from Castro, Chile
from the travel blog: Round the world!!!
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Our island getaway.

Ancud, Chile


Monday 10th- Wed 12th Jan

Monday afternoon we dragged our stuff to the bus station and waited for the bus to take us to Ancud, a small town on the Isle of Grande Chiloe. While we waited we had the biggest hot dog yet. The thing was massive, filled with tomato, onion, even carrot then smothered in avocado and all the sauces. It was so big we couldn’t even finish them. Pete finally met his match!

We spent the next three hours on a bus, an hour of that on a barge in order to get us on the island. We arrived at our stop and our host from the hostel we were booked into was waiting for us. She had broken english and laughed excessively She took great care of us…a bit too much attention for Pete’s liking. So- much- so that when we asked if there was a kitchen to cook in (money is getting low, we have to eat in now days), Mirta and Peter, our hosts, gave us use of their own kitchen, and said we were a ‘special case’ and since the other guests didn’t have the same privilege we had to keep quiet about it and eat in their dining room. Hmmm…..

After being shown our room and their kitchen we walked into the town centre for supplies and a look around. It was a little similar to Puerto Montt in that there was not much going on. We cooked dinner and ate with Mirta and her family. All conversations were in very broken english the up side being they organised a tour for us to see the penguins the next day as well as drawing a mud map showing us a walking track to see Ancud. We said goodnight as soon as we were able to and ran as fast as we could.


Tuesday.
We took our map and walked around Ancud. We went to the top of a hill and took some photos. Up on the hill we saw the biggest pile of rubbish to date. It was like the town had made it the official dumping ground. Not the best look, but I guess it gave all the stray dogs something to rummage through. We then went down to a beach and walked along the coastline on rocks which was quiet pretty and very quiet. We saw the main square and walked through the streets, and that was Ancud!

That afternoon we were picked up and taken by mini bus with three others to a beach just out of Ancud where the penguins nested. The ride took us a bit over an hour, but we had photo stops along the way and it was beautiful scenery. Very much like New Zealand, rolling green hills with cattle grazing and the pacific ocean in the distance, yup I could be at home!

We made it to the beach and were fitted in our life jackets and jumped on a little wheelie trailer where we were wheeled out to the boat. We were then off around the rocks to spot the penguins. There were a few penguins out and about and we even saw a sea otter popping out of the water for air. But, after looking at the flightless birds shake themselves a few times, waddle a little and generally not do much, we were pretty much over it. They just aren’t as fun as monkeys or sea monkeys for that matter! It was nice on the water though and we can now tick penguin watching off our list.

Wednesday.

We had planned to go for a very big walk to find the open air museum I had heard about and was intrigued with. Instead we ended up packing up our things and moving town as Pete had a very big and painful blister on the back of his heel, one that disallowed him to wear his hiking boots. So we hopped on a hour and a half hour bus to take us down the island further to its capital, Castro, much to Mirta’s disappointment. She wanted us to just take a day trip there, as she kept on assuring us that there was nothing in Castro. There was nothing in Ancud! How could there be LESS in the island’s capital! We left anyway, promising we would be back to stay on our way back up from Castro to see the museum. Mum, you’ll be happy to know she even insisted I wear one of her woolly jackets when I was there as it was a bit cold. Mine weren’t good enough, I had to wear hers. Pete had issues with the whole smothering mothering thing but I kept on assuring him it was just good will, but if we don’t come back you’ll know where to find us……


permalink written by  Pete+Rochelle on January 16, 2011 from Ancud, Chile
from the travel blog: Round the world!!!
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