After eating my body weight in chocolate in Bariloche, it was Easter after all!- we headed back to Chile to a really pretty town called Pucon. Pucon is the closest town to Volcano Villarica which we were hoping to climb. Safety isnt really a huge issue in South America, if youre up for it, they generally let you do whatever the hell you like and helmets are optional. So, when they started kitting us out in hardcore gear for the Volcano climb, I started to worry! Talk of crampons turned my knees to jelly and I started to get flashbacks to the Day from Hell that was ice trekking in New Zealand. Still, I was determined to get to the crater because you get to slide back down the volcano on a tea tray- like thing and it looked like great craic! The next morning when we got to the volcano, the conditions seemed perfect- the sun was shining and it was a really clear day. Unfortunately, the conditions near the summit were really bad. There was a lot of cloud and a stong wind and we were advised against climbing. I was a bit disappointed, if only because I had really psyched myself up to do it. However, up close, Villarica looked scary, really, really steep and really, really high and the clouds swirling around the top and the stories of the poor unfortunate whod broken his back the day before was enough to convince me that there were probably better ways to spend a day in Pucon! Besides, weve been blessed with the weather so far, so I cant really complain.
What were we do do? Why grab a few bottles of champaigne and head to the hot springs, of course! And as generally tends to happen when 10 girls get together in a hot tub, things got really dirty….
Like my tan?
It was the twins last day/ night, so we had to send them off in style. Needless to say, there were far too may mojitos drank (thats how you turn Good Friday into Great Friday!) and after befriending some locals, we ended up in the equivilent of a Chilean GAA hall for a disco! We crawled out of the place at about 5 in the morning with smiles on our faces and dodgy 90s dance music ringing in our ears. There were tears when Melissa and Dani finally waved goodbye, Im really going to miss those guys and Im already looking forward to catching up with them later on this year. If only to get my revenge for Torres Del Paine…
Santiago was our last stop in Chile. We only had two days there as its quite expensive. Its a lovely city, surrounded by mountains and theres a cable car you can take to a look out point with terrific views of the city and a statue of our lady. The highlight, without a doubt, was Starbucks. Venti Venti Venti, I nearly cried! A decent sized cup of coffee at last, I drank the whole coffee menu alphabetically- I even did the shots! Heartbreakingly, I didnt have time to go on a tour of any of the vineyards and I was raging to have missed out. It was like going to the North Pole and not meeting Santy! Conche Y Toro though, bless them, in recognition of my sustained contribution to the sales of Chilean wine exports in Europe, named a wine after me! Unnecessary and a bit mortifying but I was quite touched!
All mine and in a resealable carton too- classy and practical!
Im back in Argy again and the last few days have been all about the Vino, specifically the Vino Tinto, which is more than alright with me! Id like to tell you what Ive been doing but its all a bit hazy. There was wine and vineyards and more wine.. Seriously, we had a lovely few days checking out vineyards around Mendoza, home of the Maipo Valley and Malbec wine. I learned a huge amount about wine and how its made and aged and bottled but I have to say, I found the practical aspect of the experience a whole lot more interesting and enjoyable! And not to be outdone, the Argies name a bottle of Champaigne after me! Anyone for a sip of Clo Clo??
Im stranded in Cordoba, the second largest city in Argentina at the moment. The famers are striking and all the roads out are blocked. Cordoba was cultural capital of the Americas in 2006, so itd probably be a good idea to go to some museums but its Monday, so theyre all closed! Everything was shut yesterday too but we went to a town about an hour away where Che Guevara grew up. His family home has been turned into a museum and theres some cool memorabelia and photos to see. It was a bit lacking in actual information about his politics but when you look that good in a beret..
posted Monday March 2008