Well it’s been about a week since we did a real post about what we have been up to. We successfully crossed back from Argentina to Chile without much of an issue. Taking the car across the border was my biggest concern, however we have our title and US registration and that has been all that’s needed. It seems with vehicles in South America they go off of your plate tag and not the acctual VIN # – so you have to have paperwork (registration) that shows the vehicle tag, your name and vin #. One guy at the border going into Argentina said “very good paperwork” to me – so I think we are doing well by the customs people. Nobody asks to see insurance paperwork at the border either. But insurance is mandatory. When crossing back into Chile they made us take everything out of the car, off the top,, etc and put it on a table, then they looked at a couple of bags and said “you’re good” … so loaded the car back up and off we went.
The drive from Bariloche to Frutillar is a beautiful one – going back through the mountains, old volcanoes, and generally climbing up and over the mountains. There is a no mans land between the border check points here of about 50 km – so you’re driving and you aren’t in any country technically. We finally got acoss, then you process back into Chile – again with passport line, then customs line, then car inspection, then you can go… each border stop takes about an hour. It’s just the way it is here. Cindy and the boys always seem to find nice people outside to talk with – we get to try our Spanish, and usually they can speak in English. Cindy was very proud to have had about a 10 minute converstation with a lady and her kids outside – very proud of her speaking skills – she’s coming up to speed nicely. Hayden’s speaking has been rock star level. He’s having fluent converstations with people these days. Gavin is even getting into the mix as well. All in all we are geting more comfortable with language, customs, etc.
Frutillar – So we are in this town called “Frutillar” – pronounced “Frutijar” – it’s very small – maybe 5000 people actually live here. We are staying in lower frutillar – which is right on the beach. The scenery is spectacular. I remember this place from when we were here before – not much has changed. It’s a German settled town. We went to the Lutheran church on Sunday – looking around Cindy and I were thinking – no one here looks South American – everyone definately looks German. Very wealthy people built a huge music/performing arts center here – Gavin is going to write about that – but it is spectacular – nicer than many places in the US to hear live music and see the arts (dance, plays, music, etc.).
We have been working out while in Frutillar – the boys have been running almost every day – it’s nice and flat here. Other people (not us) have been swimming in the lake – but I think we might be a little “beached out” and it looks really cold to me so we simply keep walking by. But every day we are running, doing push ups, sit ups, or hiking so we are doing well in the physical conditioning area.
I think the best thing about Frutillar is that there is hardly anyone here. Summer vacation is over and kids are back in school – so it is very quiet. We can run down the street and see one or two people and that’s about it. I did a run the other morning and had a dog follow me back to our cabana. He curled up outside our front door for awhile and the boys pet him – so it was good for all involved. I can tell we all miss our pets.
Since Frutillar is German oriented they have a lot of Kuchen – basically fruit tort. We have had our fair share and I think now we are ready to be out of “fruit tort” town and onto a different sort of food theme. The food in Bariloche was outstanding, the food here has been so-so. Our cabana is small so we typically will eat one meal out and smaller snacks for other meals here. It’s sort of like scout camp, but you have a toilet and a bed and wi-fi when it works. We started the fire in the stove the other day because it was raining and cold – if you want heat here you build a fire. Good thing we have scouts with us – oh wait I’ve been starting all the fires.
Studebaker Museum – So on our way back fro Bariloche we are driving towards a town called Orsorno – I looked to the right and see this car museum, so of course we need to stop. We went in and it’s a Studebaker museum. A local dairy farmer had a car collection and his kids built this in his honor – it’s very nice place with lots of cars, including others that are not Studebaker.
Submarine – ok we read about it, heard about it, and finally we found it. There’s a drink down here in chocolate world of patagonia that is called the ‘submarine’. It’s pretty simple – they bring you a hot cup of foamed mile, with several pieces of chocolate on the side – you then get to submerge the chocolate yourself and stir it – thus making your own hot chocolate. It’s an extra step, but it’s very good and enjoyed by all in our family.
3500 Year old tree? – So we drove from Frutillar to a larger city, Puerto Montt, yesterday and went to a park that is about 30km outside of the city. You do a hike up to a waterfall and then continue on to this tree that they say is 3500 years old. Not sure how they know that but it’s back in this very moist area – and the top of the tree is at least 100 ft. higher than any other tree around – so I guess it’s possible. Sort of hard to believe that this tree was here in the BC era – but it’s cool to think about – and that we humans somehow managed to not cut it down. One of the things we do see here are signs of global warming – people talking about how it “used to snow” and “how dry” the summer is, etc. etc. This area is a wonderful place – most of it is untouched by humans – and probably will remain that way since it’s so extreme and rugged. One can hope that we do our best to preserve places like this for all people to see. On all of our hikes I have encouraged the boys in the “leave no trace” mantra – and we pickup extra trash, etc. if we see it. I will tell you though it’s very rare to find a loose piece of trash on these trails – which is great.