January 14 Santiago to Puerto Varas
January 16 Petrohué
In Puerto Varas we stayed at a bed-and-breakfast place called Casa Azul. The rooms were comfortable and there was a bright and spacious kitchen for guests to do their own cooking if they wished.
The original Casa Azul (“Blue House”) had been a blue building, but this was their new building and it wasn’t blue. However almost all the furnishings in it were blue.
Puerto Varas is a pretty resort town on a bay of Lago Llanquihue. It has been quite prosperous since the 19th century, and some of the old heritage houses are still in good condition.
The prime attraction of Puerto Varas and the other resorts on Lago Llanquihue is of course Volcán Osorno. The standard tourist-brochure picture shows the perfect white volcanic cone on the far side of the sparkling blue lake. Our reality was different; if you look closely, you can see the volcano in the clouds behind the masts of the sailing ship.
Click here to see better pictures.
At Petrohué, in Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales, we went for a hike on the slopes of Volcán Osorno. There we met the notorious “tábanos”, which are related to the horseflies of North American mountains.
Seasonal, cosmopolitan two-winged fly. On hot days they bite homeothermic vertebrates. They are not poisonous.
Our guidebooks had said that tábanos were attracted to the colour blue, and we found that this was true.
Our hike started on the shore of Lago Todos los Santos and went through the forest up the slope of Volcán Osorno. The tábanos didn’t follow us, either because they didn’t want to leave their territory or because the weather was not very hot.
Before long the trail left the forest and went out onto lava flows with scrubby vegetation. Then the showers we had been having turned into continuous rain with strong winds, so we quickly returned to catch the bus back to Puerto Varas.