After lunch we said farewell to our kind
hosts. We would have liked to stay longer but we had already booked our
hotels in Villarrica since this was the high season. Unfortunately we
realized after we left that we hadn’t managed to take a photo of Sven
and Griseldis. On the other hand, Sven asked us to fly past his house on
our way out so they could get a snapshot of us.
We took the funicular down to the lake with our luggage and the
caretaker took us back to the landing strip by launch this time. He had
arranged for another car to meet us at the jetty and drive us the rest
of the way to the plane. Meanwhile, the von Appens and several of their
guests were waiting on the terrace overlooking the lake for us to fly
by. Well, they had to wait a long time and drink too many pisco sours in
the process, said William Horsey a month later in BA. The engine didn’t
sound very healthy on start-up as a little speck of carbon had got into
the gap of one of the spark plugs. Flemming had to remove the spark plug
and clean it. This delayed our take-off by a good half hour. When we did
get to flash past the house, Angela was too busy taking a shot of it to
wave goodbye. After a short 18 minute flight, we landed at Villarrica.
This was the only time we headed north again in Chile.
The next day we took a bus to Pucón and went river rafting on the lower
Trancura river. Altogether not
such a wonderful experience as we’d had in Costa Rica. We were 10 in the
inflatable raft instead of 5 and the water was cold! They should have
advised us to wear wet suits. Angela had chosen the lower section of the
river as it was only Class 2 to 3 rapids. The silly skipper decided this
was not exciting enough for us and purposely headed us back into a
rapid. We got drenched in the freezing cold water and one of our crew
Climbing the smoking Villarrica volcano was quite exhausting but much
more enjoyable. We had to walk up from 1400 m to the summit at 2847 m,
mostly on snow. That took us about 5 hours including a stop for our
picnic lunch. At the top, we peered at the smoking hole which spat out
red hot lava at regular intervals. That was supposed to be the reward
for reaching the summit but the most fun was the descent. We had been
equipped with thick outer garments to allow us to slide down the
snow-covered slope on our bums! In places it was pretty steep and we had
to use our ice-axes as brakes to stop us spinning out of control.
The real reward was a hot shower and an excellent dinner back at our
hotel, the Hosteria de la
Colina. It is a small hotel with creaking wood floors and a cosy
dining room, set in a beautiful garden with a view of Villarrica Lake.
It also has an Internet connection so we could send the requests for
permission to fly to the Falkland Islands. The request had to be sent to
both the British and Argentine authorities, taking care never to mention
the word “Falkland” to the Argentines, as, for them, the islands belong
to them and are called “Islas Malvinas”.
In the launch, speeding back to the landing strip
At Choshuenco landing strip