We are already on the way to the volcano Llaima. Time is running! What happened so far:
Entre Lagos – Puyehue
We were on the way to Argentina and would pass bye the active volcano Puyehue. I wanted to visit it but it seemed that this wouldnt be that easy. I didnt really think about this anymore. Therefore it was a very nice surprise as it got possible on the camping in the Parque Puyehue. Read the report about this trekking in the blog entry before.
Puyehuhe – Siete Lagos – San Martin de los Andes
After the trekking, we kept going towards Argentina. Right and left to the street, there were huge amouts of bimsstone and other eruptive material from Puyehue. It looked like snow but it wasnt. Several lagunas were completely covered by it. After a very sweaty ride up, we finally reached the top at around 1300m. We passed the Chilenien border already before without problems. Also the Argentinian one was fine because we ate the big portion of ham/cheese and bread which we got from some friendly car drivers before the border. They couldnt transport it into Argentina but we could; in our stomachs ;-).
We stayed over night in already closed camping at the beginning of the Siete Lagos route. It only had a cold shower but was cheaper therefore. However, we were the only guests…
The next few days, we drove across the parc. Signs of the vulcanic eruption where frequently visible. And we could also feel them. Some parts were almost like a desert. Finally we reached San Martin de los Andes and enjoyed all the advantages of an Argentinien city like “All what you can eat” restaurants (Tenedor libre and fantastic bakeries.
San Martin de los Andes – Puerto Fuy – Conaripe
After a break day (yes, we are doing that sometimes too), where we met the Swiss cyclists Julie and Alex in our hostal, we kept going towards Chile again. Also this time across a mountain pass (when also a very low one) and further by ferry. Kind of similar to what we had planned in Ensenada. However, we expected it to be by far cheaper than the 280 USD the last time. We left San Martin around 10h and knew that the ferry will be at 16h. We would also have around 6 hours for the 60 km gravel road. That should be enough, we hoped. Otherwise we would have to wait another 24h for the next ferry….
We were pretty fast on the 50km to the boarder and also the Argentinians didnt make us any troubles. The Chilenians took it very serious and searched all our bags, also if not really in detail. Time got kind of short. However, the guy there ment, that its only around 8km far and everything down. The 8km were more or less right. But downwards was the view of a car driver. I for my part was hopeing the whole last part, that there wouldnt be any issue with the bike. At the end we had around 15 minutes left…
The ferry trip acrossss Lago Pirehueico took us 90 minutes and was only around 8 USD per person and bike. On we way we got entertained by a thunderstorm and because it was still raining when we arrived in Puerto Fuy, we also stayed there over night.
We kept going the next day. First fast down slope on a gravel road and then paved along Lago Pangupulli. Then we took the gravel road 201 and this one was partly very steep. So steep that you cant do it without some swearing…
We planned to camp somewhere before Conaripe for taking some pictures of volcano Villarrica at sunset. Unfortunately all campings where closed and there wasnt really another opportunity. Therefore, we drove till Conaripe and stayed at a hospedaje. But not before having a bath in the lake :-).
Conaripe – Villarrica – Cunco – Melipeuco
Over paved streets again we drove first to Lican Ray and bought there some nice Berlines (in Switzerland we call it Berliner) and empenadas which we ate a few kilometers further up the hill. We reached Villarrica already in the early afternoon and stayed there in the Hostel La Torre Suiza of Helena and Alonso. They took over the hostel from Claudia and Beat two years ago but will get back to Switzerland already in April. Two young Chilenians will be the hosts afterwards. Thats life. Everything is changing ;-).
We decided not to climb volcano Villarrica and to drive further to Cunco and volcano Llaima. When I was serving the Internet in Cunco that evening, I couldnt believe my eyes: Volcano Llaime was on higher alert (yellow) since the day before. That ment that the volcano can erupt within days or weeks. Because of that seems Parque Conguillo (where Llaima is situated) to be closed or it can only be visited during the day. That means probably for us, that we cant visit the parc. But first we hope that an eruption is really going to happen and have our cameras ready. It would almost be unbelievable, if this would really happen but you never know ;-).
All the best from Melipeuco,