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Central part (1)             

              12/12 2012 - 11/2 2013


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Diary  1  2  3  4  5  6  

 Western Argentina

  In an effort to learn and understand mist consumption in cloud forest plants such as bromeliads and orchids, the significant impact of frequent mist on highland dessert plants such as cacti, as well as the preferred conditions and environment of terrestrial orchids, I travel to Chile and Argentina. The aim is to gain an understanding of the mechanisms in micron hydration as well as some data related to this very little studied subject. However, this present diary does not deal with this subject; it merely describes the adventures I encored along with the studies, which took me from the edge of Andean glaziers through bone dry deserts to high fog-forests and lowland tropical rainforests. The scientific work will be published elsewhere, and used in my daily work.

  Some facts about Chile. (Jump to the diary)

 This South American country covers 756,950 square kilometres and stretches for 4630 kilometres between the Pacific Ocean and the mighty Andes mountains. It offers all from sterile, bone dry highland deserts over glaziers through alpine tundra,  temperate fog forests and tropical rain forests to rich farmland and active volcanoes. Although it have an average wide of 175 kilometres, many parts are hard to reach. The most southern part is reach either by weekly ferry or passing the Andes into Argentina and back again.

 The Mapuche rule was interrupted by the arrival of the Spanish in 1616, and they dominated the land until the independence from Spain on 12 February 1818. The 16,500,000 citizens are mainly Catholic. I hope I get through Christmas without too many problems!

 Due to the waste aria covered, and the extreme climates, there are a waste variety of mammals (152), birds (479 species) and plants (5282 species). Many are shared with Argentina and the northern neighbours, but half of the plants are endemic. The more interesting mammals might be the Andean hairy armadillos, chinchillas, common vampire bats, cougars, the lama-like vicuña/guanacos and a lot of whales. The birds include rheas; an ostrich like, flightless bird, penguins, condors, tropicbirds, hummingbirds and many more. 

 The plant kingdom are well represented, although not relatively that numerous as animals, but not surprisingly; endemism is higher than among animals. As the map on the right shows, the northern part is dominated by dessert. The middle part is farmland and grassing although some parts are rather hot. The southern part is in general forest.

 I hope to be able to see quite some of both animal and plant species while I make my main studies. The master plan is to start Santiago in central Chile, drive south as fare the road goes, head into Argentina and go a bit further south. Turn around, heading north in western Argentina, all the way to the Bolivian border. If I'm aloud to cross in my rented car, I will cut off a huge corner of Bolivian highland to get to the most northern Chile. Then head back down to Santiago and the circle is closed. All within two months, around 15,000 kilometres. If I should cross the Dakar Rally on my way, I'll be thrilled!

 The local money: Peso, might be a challenge: CH$ 1000 = DKK 12,5 = € 1,7

Hoover the photos to see the text, click to enlarge. 

12/12 '12. While the frost, snow, darkness, misery and depression in general engulf Denmark, I leave. My luggage is extensive: Where I sometimes have have carried as little as three kilo in total, this time struggles with 33 kilos. I only have to carry it for a hundred meters, from my home to the train station and out to the rented car in the airport in Santiago, and back.

 With that (and the diverse climate) in mind, I decided to bring tent, two sleeping bags, cooking gear, Wellingtons, military boots, pillow, plenty of cloths, three guide books, rain suit, warm cloths, and a bit more of the usual gear in general. This way, I should be quite independent for weeks in row.

 An afternoon flight with Iberia to Madrid, and only one flight out of 40+ is delayed - guess which! Five hours of impatience turns into eight hours of desperation and the midnight flight directly to Santiago is a morning flight. That means I can't do the first track of the tour this afternoon, and I'm one day delayed. 

 13/12. Arrivals at two in the afternoon, clear blue sky, 33C - I'm in the right place! Pick-up my car and despite it have only done 10.000 Km, I find some critical errors. An hour later, I'm on the road in a slightly older but bigger and better car. Get the six turn-offs right out to Ruta 5, but I sure could use a GPS! Well, I go south: Sun in my back - or actually: Right above my head. The compass can show whatever I like it to, inside the car. I can feel the 30 hours on the road, but it is only around five hours drive to my first site, and I am running late.

 Somehow, I have made a huge U-turn, and I'm heading north - I think. Find a gentleman, who look well-educated. He is a professor in economy, but does not speak any English. He draws me a map, but despite I try to appear confident, he decides to join me out to the right highway. We pass right through the centre of the capital on the main road. He jumps of, when I can see the right road - nice!

 I drive through a vide valley with lots of fruits, vine and maize. The steep hills are covered in Cereus cacti, and in the fare distance: Snow. I'm looking for a mall or something alike. I failed to find an ATM in the airport, and I couldn't buy Chilean pesos at home. Further more, I need alcohol for my cooking gear, water, some food, sunglasses and boxes to get organised in.

 It is a great drive, but when I meet a toll-box, problems starts. They do not accept Visa, but I eventually get a free ride. I keep looking for a ATM possibility, but haven't found one yet, when I meet the next toll-box. They can use Visa at the central office. At one of the many gas-stations, they finally have an ATM which accept Visa. I get what I can from two cards, and with 300,000 pesetas in my pocket, I feel ready.

 I make the turn in the right city, but have to ask for directions once. In a larger village, I find all the supplies I remember I needed. I make a single stop for a giant beetle; six centimetres and tentacles on top of that. The road turns into rough gravel, and on that 25 kilometre stretch, I pick-up three girls, whom have been swimming in Rio Bianca. I drop them at a hostel, and continues to Reserva Nacional Altosde Lircay, which should have a campsite.

 I reaches it at half pass eight, only to find the gates closed: Boomer! I have passed many signs to campsites and cabanas on the road, but they turn out to all be closed. It seems like everyone who have a private, narrow, five kilometre gravel road, put up a sign. Can't recall where I left the girls.

 After an awesome, red evening sky, it turns dark a bit passed nine, and I decides to camp at the gates. One of the last, scattered houses, is a tiny restaurant. I buy a dish of bread, cheese, tomatoes and avocados, and they offers me a madras in their living room. Lovely people!

 I've been driving up-hill quite some, and the temperature have dropped significantly. I try to organise my gear from flight to daily use, and I try to write diary, but I'm just too tied! Crashes around eleven.

14/12. Wake up at six ,to loads of birdsong. Not a single dog have been barking during the night - I think. It is really chilled, and I sure hope the offered shower include hot water! I get my gear roughly sorted. I noticed the park opens at 8;30, and I got plenty of time - for now. It is around 10C and the shower turns out to be around 5C. Showers are so over-rated!

 I get a good breakfast, and I'm at the park entrance at 8:30 - alone. Take a walk behind the gates and finally, they are opened. Two kilometres to the office, and I am quite sure, I will hate myself for leaving the car at the gate. The office is still closed, and despite I have no map or directions, I gamble and start tracking. The Sendero Enladrillado Trail should offer the best views in central Chile, and I give it a go.

 It should be 9,8 Km, and I guess it is a round trip. It starts at 800 meters and parts of it, like the "UFO landing site"; Enladrillado is at 2200 meters height. It starts rather soft. Here are familiar plants like giant heather, but I'm a bit puzzled about the bamboo, fuchsia and giant, spiny rhubarb: Thought they were Japanese. The trees are giant Coihue; Nothofagus dombeyi, with black stems and tiny leaves. Some have a parasitic fungus, which have large, truffle-like fruits.

 The path is hard to negotiate: It very loose sand or fist-large rocks, and as the ascent starts, it is a struggle! I have to stop time after time, for new flowers or an even better view of the mountains, on the other side of the canyon. The forest is a bit like a Danish, except for the rocks and topography. In more open areas, new plants are constantly found. Many familiar families like Oxalidaceae, Fabaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Labiataceae, Bromeliaceae, Liliaceae, Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, ferns,  Solanaceae, Geraniaceae along with some I'm not familiar with.

 In the dense forest, almost black lizards are found. In the more open areas, bright green ones, sit on rocks. Some larger agamas hide faster than my camera. Several small waterfalls crosses the track, and each new corner reveals a new scenery. Here are quite some birds of which I recognises some flycatchers, and finches and especially the giant woodpecker; Carpintero negro and the Andean Condor; Vultur gryphus is a kick.

 The trees are changing from "oak" into "beech", and the assent really starts. I start to have my doubts about this being a circular track, and I wished I had a map. Then the forest opens, and I reach the highlands. A brand new stock of plants and some new views of mountains and lava sculptures. The first sign since I started say: 1hr to Enladrillado. The temperature passed 30C around noon, but at this altitude and with the fresh wind, I'm back in my fleece jacket. And my soft, white skin have probably gotten the amount of radiation it can stand for one day!

 What I at first thought to be my private guardian angle above my head, turns out to be an impatience Andean Condor. On the ground, a specific species of beetle are numerous - guess it taste real bad! Giant cushions of slow-growing plants add to the altiplano feeling.

 After four hours of real hard tracking, I reach the plateau, which is said to be an UFO landing site. It sure seems strange in those steep mountains to find a perfect, flat area, spanning several hundreds squaremetres. In the distance, snow covered peaks are almost clear, and deep down in the valley, the river can be seen.

 A sign points back towards Administración! Then it wasn't a 9,8 Km round trip - blast! I could have done without the tour back! Where the ascent was harsh for some mussels, the descent on the loose surface is hard on other parts of my not-so-well-trained body. Well, no-one will carry me. I store the camera away, drink some water and start the tour down.

 I guess it is the less photo, rather than the decent that make up the time. Anyway, I return to the now open office in two hours. At first, the girl don't believe I have made the entire tour in six hours. Normally, people camp on the way, or; if they are fast, spend eight hours.

 Just outside the gate, I pick-up an absolutely gorgeous, Austrian girl. She is on her way back to Talca, on the highway. We stop for a coffee/Fanta at the lovely couple, which she also visited op her way up. She works as a volunteer with organic farming, and I almost find it scary to hear so many of my ideas, from someone else.

 After having dropped her of, I find the highway and head further south. I had decided to skip Chillan and its market, but I have to confess: I need my first Chilean shower and some time to sort photos and write diary. It is around 150 Km, most with 120 Km/t. A short break at a gas station, and it turns out I only do 15 Km/l. The petrol is 750-789 pesos a litre, so it sums up to be rather expensive. The landscape is general farmland with maize, wheat and rice, as the most common plants.

 I reach Chillan, and find the Canadian Hotel at first go, pay 10,000 pesos. Despite it is one hour after the alleged closing time for the market, I give it a go. Behold; it is still open. Meat, fish, carved wood and all the usual stuff in Latin American markets. I pass the central square on the way, and it is actually an arboretum. Giant trees from around the world. I do the main street, the pedestrian street, rip a ATM with both Visas, and start looking for a restaurant. It is harder then I thought. End up with two hamburgesas, which actually are great.

 The hotel has internet, and I catch up on emails. One is a request for the use of a page on my internet site for a intaglio - that is a first! Quarter pass ten, I have to give in: The photos will be yet another day. But I still have to figure where to go tomorrow and not least: Get a shower!

 15/12. An early start, breakfast in the car, and I'm off to Salto del Laja; a 50 meter waterfall. After having driven 650 kilometres, I have to shift map. I got eight Chilean maps plus Argentina and Bolivia, and I get a feeling of, I might be doing some driving the next two months.

 Miraculous, I drive straight to the waterfall, and besides from two friendly dogs, I have it to my selves. Even the souvenir shops and the ticket office are empty. It is a misty morning, but I enjoy the aria and the many birds.

 Back at the highway, I start passing pine plantations, but here are still quite some farmland. I have to negotiate Los Angles, which apparently have another layout than my rough map. I end up fumbling around its centre. Next stop is Parque National Laguna del Laja, which is a well over 100 Km drive, mainly on a smaller road. It follows a valley, straight into the Andes. What starts as a slight ascent, end up serpentine through a moon landscape. The mist still prevents me from getting all the magnificent views, but I still find some interesting plants.

 The park is situated around the mighty Vulcan Antuco, a perfect cone of 2985 metres. A recently eruption blocked the valley, and the large Laguna Laja was formed. The lover part is dominated be conifers, including the Monkey Puzzle Tree; Araucaria araucana and the Mountain Cypress; Austrocedrus chilensis.

 I take a few short trails, but the 28 Km gravel road lures me in. As I break through the mist, the trees cripples away, and the lunar landscape takes over. A few groups of plants are scatted around in the gravel, some found in clusters of a tiny Opuntia (minima?). The large lake reveals it selves underneath me, and the sun starts to break through. I stop numerous times, when views or alpine plants draws my attention.

 The road seems to continue forever, but I feel I have seen the best part, and turn back. As I decent into the mist once again, I spot a few Araucaria. The lava flow, creating the lake, is now clear, just like the giant volcano above. As the mist lightens, I spot a few more entreating sights along the road. Some Fuchias, which apparently are Chilean, are found along the giant, spiny rhubarb - native too.

 Although is early afternoon, I head for the hotel in Angol. On the way, I stop at a hut selling some form of stuffed bagels, which are delightful.  Once again, I have to negotiate Los Angeles, and this time I apparently see the other half. There are absolutely no signs, and my map is really misleading. Never the less, I manages to find the right way out towards Angol.

 It is tempting to drive through the city straight for Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta, but I restrict my selves, and find a nice hotel. 25,000 pesos seems to be the standard around here, but I will more than sleep, and I treat my self. It is time to catch up with the photos! I get through them, and upload 150 from the temporarily  "first two days of the tour slide-show". While they uploads, I grab some dinner. Considering the transfer speed, I can get breakfast as well... A short stroll through the centre of town reveals nothing of interest, and I call it a day a ten.

 16/12. Breakfast in the room, and then off to Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta. After a bit asking around, I find the right road. It starts being gravel, even within the city! It is a misty morning, but I spot some of the local wildlife: Tiny rabbits and quarrels. I even spots some white terrestrial orchids, while negotiating the rally-like road. It is a 35 kilometre, real serpentined road, and I feel that I look out the side windows more than the windshield. Despite that, I'm at the gate, exactly 8;30. The ranger is there, but I have to wait one minute for the man with the key.

 I declare it a "wet race", and suits up accordantly with Wellingtons and raincoat. It might only be a light drizzle, but you never know. The last bit of road is like the park it selves: Massive old trees, covered in lichen, indicating frequent rain. Pretty soon, the dominant tree is the Araucaria. The biggest ones are around two and a half meter in diameter, and estimated to be around 2000 years old. Some of them have smooth bark, others are tortoise like, with tray-sized "shields".

 I start on a five hour track, first ascending through the dense forest, leaving little room for the orchids and carnivorous plants I was expecting. In the openings, a few flowering plants are found. Some bulbs, Asteraceaes and Fabaceaes.

 The mist and drizzle follows me up to the Eagle Rock; a huge granite boulder. Due to the clouds, the famous Mirador is restricted to 50 metres. I have a hard time picking up the track, after that massive rocky area, and consider turning back. But I still haven't seen the plants I'm here for, and I hope they will emerge on the descent, on the other side of the mountain.

 I hear the calls of many birds, among them parrots; Engicognathus minor and the larger Cyanoliseus patagonus - I think. A female giant woodpecker; Carpintero negro cry out with a distinctive sound. A large bamboo reveals near the peak - I still think of it as Asian. Strawberries are flowering too, and I have no clue to where they originates from.

 The other side of the mountain is slightly more open, and more flowers are found on the ground. I even spot three different orchids, but it is not the habitat for carnivorous plants. The sun peeks through for time to time, but it is only in glimpses. I find the flowers of a interesting, semi-parasitic plant. It is attached in the the bark of the host, but it grow thick, rhizome-like roots as well. Underneath, anemones are flowering.

I return to my muddy car after only two and a half hour, but I have no clue to where to look for the carnivorous plants, and decides to head on. Back by the serpentine gravelroad towards Angol. Where I had a hard time getting traction on the way up, I now struggle with the grip in the corners. Do quite some Scandinavian flicks, which I wouldn't think was possible in a front-wheel driven car.

 The sun finally break through, and the views from the road is awesome. Dense forest on steep mountain sides, green grassland in the bottom. Some meadows are cowered in either white or yellow flowers. The fields are fenced with wooden fences.

 In Angol, I find the road to the highway, and passes through Collipulli. I have it almost to my self, and make a single stop, to photo an old railroad bridge, crossing a deep valley. I only enjoy the smoothness for a few kilometres, before I turn onto a new gravelroad. I am not really sure, it is the right one. My map do not show every exit on the highway, and I have to drive 20 kilometres, before I meet someone to ask. The friendly farmer confirms; I'm on the road to Parque Nacional Tolhuaca.

 20 kilometres more, and I leave the mixed farmland and pine or eucalyptus plantations, for some wilder nature. Additionally ten kilometres, and I reach the park. Accordantly to my research, it should be rather tropical and display some fine waterfalls. Well, it is only 20C, and it resembles quite a Danish forest - just with other species like the Araucaria. There is no one it the ticket shelter, nor in the information office.

 I try to find a specific trail, but without a map or directions, I fail. I take a stroll partly around the lake, look for carnivorous plants in the swamps, but here are no new plants to be found. Only interesting plant is a moss, resembling a 10-15 centimetre high Christmas tree. After an hour, I call it a day, and continues to Curacautin, on yet 45 kilometres gravelroad. The sun appears from time to time, and I enjoy the tour.

 While filling up the car once again, I ask for directions to Hostal Epu Pewen, and check-out the local supermarket. Not that I have eaten the food I brought earlier, but I need water, and food might always come in handy. The hostal is real cosy, with a live fireplace, kitchen with wooden stow and no guests. I gamble, and take a dorm bed for 8000 pesos. I thought it was high season, but It seems like I will have parks and hostals to my self.

 I get some advises on the next stretch of my tour, and directions to a possible open restaurant. So many I have seen, have been closed. I'm in luck, and get a nice steak with salad for 5000 pesos. Back to write and sort photos.

17/12. The first stop of the day is Reserva Nacional Malalcahuello-Nalcas, which allegedly should be a "jewel". 35 Km of gravelroad through farmland and forest leads me there. It opens, just at I get there, and despite the misty morning, I head straight for the eight hour trail. It starts in a field of flowering lupines, along some rich meadows with red spotted cows on. Then the path turns into a Oregon Pine; Pseudotsuga menziesii plantation, which is rather dull.

 I reach the wild part, where first Roble, Nothofagus obliqua, then Coihue comun; Nothofagus dombeyi, followed by Lenga; Nothofagus pumilio and as the last before the tree line; Aucucaria araucaria are dominating. A single new flowering plant catches my eyes. It is a little creeping plant, with rather large, red flowers. Besides from that, I have a hard time figuring the greatness of this park. The mist have turned into a greyish day, and photos of the volcano fails.

 After a couple of hours, I decides to turn around, and try my luck in Parque Nacional Conguillo, on the other side of Curacautin. As I returns to my car, I notice a semi-flat tire. I have been watching the other back tire, but this is leaking fast. I shift it with the spare, and head down to town. Just as I enter the town, I spot a huge tire with Vulcan on it. 15 minutes and 3000 pesos later, I am ready for the next park. I ask at the vulcan shop for directions, but they agree; I better ask the police.

 Before I find the station, I try my luck, and behold: I actually find the road! The centrepiece of Parque Nacional Conguillo is Vulcan Llaima. The last bit of its 3125 metres is up in the sky, and the biotope different not from the last four parks. Two things speaks for it though: It is a drive-through park, and it is a short cut. Where the first Reserva was 1000 pesos, this one is 4500 - but there are none to sell the ticket.

 I stop at a beautiful laguna and have a second breakfast for lunch at its shore. The views are absolutely breathtaking, but due to the significantly lack of sun; hard to catch with the camera. I continues on a narrow gravelroad, stopping shortly from time to time. A few wind-tears along with the rather cold wind, let me appreciate the cosiness inside the car. 

 The roads leads around the mighty volcano, but I simply can't get a proper photo of it - and believe me: I tried. I reach the other half of the park, where the trees have been buried under lava in the 1988 eruption. First, Lago Arcoiris is a blue diamond, then the dark, fresh lava dominates.

 A few pioneering plants have found a foothold, but it is generally a lunar landscape. On the brinks of the huge lava lake, layer after layer of earlier eruptions have been cut through by a spring river.

 I originally planned to visit yet one more park in this area, but considering the similar vegetation I have experienced in the last four parks, and greyish weather, I decides to head for the coast. It is around 300 Km south-west to Valdivia, which is the access to Parque Punta Curinanco. It should have four different types of forests, and ought to be slightly warmer.

 As I leave the foothills of the Andes, the weather changes - to the worse. Real light rain and darker. Never the less, I have to make a few stops to investigate some orchids along the road. Further down, swamps and lakes dominates. One is covered in water lilies. Another stop gives the old, slowly deflating tire a bit of air - and me a snack. Should have it fixed while I were at the vulcanizer.

 Valdivia turns out to be a rather large city, and the entire road leading into it, is one, huge road work. 100s of yellow and orange men stands around, and I desperately try to find a place to sleep in my notes. This is not a planned stop, but I find the central area, which should host some hostels. I spot a few, which seems to be closed, but the bigger problem is the parking spot. I finally find one, and a hotel on the other side of the corner. The rain picks up, and I retire to my little room, to do some writing.

 A combination of hunger and boredom forces me out in the surprisingly cold city; 15C and light rain. Wished I could remember where I parked: Could use some shoes and a raincoat! The rain continues, although softly, makes me consider alternately route. It is just a bit hard, Chile's shape taken in consideration. I did consider taking the boat to Chiloe Island, but if the weather is this cold and rainy along the coast, I find the eastern side of the Andes more appealing. 

Then I start the hard work; deleting photos. I ought to take less! It turns out something went wrong with the upload of the first, and I upload the missing ones.

 A few observations: The locals hardly speak any English, but they are extremely helpful, and easy to communicate with. The parks along with the roadsides are without any trash. It is a rather expensive country; around the prices of Germany.

18/12. The rain have stopped, and I head for Parque Punta Curinanco. After a bit of fumbling around, I get the right road out of the city (my map does not show Valdivia on an peninsular, nor Curinanco is not an island). The road soon turns into gravel, and passes through shrub and open fields. In the fare side of the island, tiny huts are scattered around in the hills.

 The entrance to the Reserva (not Parque), is hidden behind two of these tiny shelters, and I have to go through a closed gate, further down the path. Then I reach a gate, which not only is closed, is so entangled in barbwire, pointy sticks and a 50 meter fall to the sea, it actually able to keep me out. Here should be an officer and I call out, and do a round in the vicinity. Only living things I can find is hens, cows and a dog - none seem to be willing to open the gate for me.

 Well, I haven't driven this fare to just look at a gate, and I try to find a path inland. All gardens are fenced severely in barbwire- can't figure why! On the other side of a swamp, I find a dried-out creek. It leads through thick bushes, and in general, it is only one meter high. After quite some struggling and a steep ascent, I reach what I presume is the right track within the Reserva.

 The first interesting flower I find, is a white terrestrial orchid, quite similar to the one I saw yesterday, but the flower is smaller. Giant terrestrial bromeliads, some a meter and a half in diameter sits in tiny openings in the dense bush. The vegetation in generally "new", and I find wild vine; Vitaceae, Berberidaceae and other spiny plants.

 A couple of entangled snails, some birds and some metallic stick beetles make up the wild life. Most of the tracks are carved into the thick bushes, giving me a feeling of walking between two well groomed hedges. When I reach a viewing point, the very strong wind almost throws me over. The bushes are truly marked with the wind!

 The view it selves is great: The waves are white in the entire lagoon, 50 to 100 metres down. It would be great to see it a sunny day, but I'm here on a real greyish morning. I find a few beautiful flowers and some orchids with loads of fruits. When I turn a corner, I meet a friendly dog.

 I have done a circle and as I approach the real entrance, I hear voices. The gatekeeper is explaining things to the three tourists, at a second gate at the official trail. At first, he seem baffled about my presence, then he start asking me, how I have gone into the park. He claims there is only one entrance, and he got the key. He winds him selves quite up, and even though I pay the entrance fee, he is pissed. A map between the two gates reveals to me: I have seen all of the 81 hectare large park, and I flee.

 As I close the car-door, it starts to drizzle. I head down to the other end of the island, passing a ox carriage with the man talking in his cell phone. The I reach a big pool on the road. I pass real slowly, thinking I might ought to walk it first. Good thing I didn't: Would have my Wellingtons flooded, and stopped. Now, I actually get through, but the air-condition is on for the next 100 kilometres - refuses to turn off.

 A fox crosses the road, right in front of me, rabbits hides as I approaches and the rain continues, although light. I'm a bit ahead my original schedule, and decides to do the full tour down to Chiloe island. It is a 300 Km tour through bush and grazing country, first with quite some agriculture. The rain comes and go, but the temperature keeps between 15 and 20C. Even inland, the wind is strong. Plenty of branches and even some trees lies on the road.

 I am a bit in doubt: Down through Chiloe to se the island and catch the Thursday ferry further down south - or turn towards Argentina up in Osorno? Chiloe is famous for its wooden churches and special atmosphere. I'm not that much into churches, and I doubt I catch any atmosphere. Never the less, it is a nice shortcut to the south of Argentina. I enter the third map out of eight Chilean ones.

 As I pass the huge city; Puerto Montt, I see 1000s of tiny huts, all alike, in huge clusters. Around 30m2 on a 40m2 lot. Scary! The road passes around the city, and I avoid it. Seems like the cities I have been through, have no major roads, and even only a few passes through: They are only connected by minor roads in the centre. There are signs, but not at every turn.

 I have not idea to when, or how often the Chiloe ferry operates, but they have begun loading, when I reach it, and I'm the last to board it. The voyage is 45 minutes, and despite the wind, I glance over the sea. That is rewarded with the glimpses of a pelican, several jumping seals and penguins. In the fare distance, a sunny island appears.

Photos from this part of the tour is on: Central Chile.
Read the next part, about the Southern Chile


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