Waking up and having some sweet freshly baked bread in our cozy hostel, we had a nice breakfast while our Polish friends already ate in the comforts of their own room. During breakfast, our host asked us “Quieren mas vida?”, and we were quite confused until she repeated “Quieren mas agua?”, which meant would you like more water. This was rather strange but every region has their own little version of Spanish, which made the ONLY graffiti we saw all of yesterday make so much more sense…. “Agua es Vida!”. Ha ha. Water is Life.
We headed out and drove to the airport located in the town of Balmaceda, a bit out from the city of Coyhaique. The Polish couple was extremely grateful, and we were also grateful for having their company. They would make their flight, and we made their day. Public transportation is NOT easy in this part of Chile, so they were happy to make Iit to the airport.
The drive towards Coyhaique are some beautiful rolling hills with farms harvesting their crops, as it is harvest season in the Southern Hemisphere. We didn’t plan on spending much time in the city of Coyhaique, but we had some errands to run to do it all. On our way into town, we saw two young girls with backpacks twice their size, and we thought “Why not?”, and picked them up! We weren’t going to the same spot so we dropped them into town centre, we later saw them working the streets hoping to collect money for food or bus? A pretty crazy way to travel….
In town, we were totally shocked by the massive amounts of traffic and the lack of parking space, both of which are never a problem in Patagonia! Stopping by the tourist centre, we got an EXCELLENT map for free , with the person speaking fluent English helping us out. He even pointed us to a great and cheap place to eat lunch! At first, he recommended us to go to a place downtown, which would’ve costed about $30CAD per person, and he made it sound like it was “reasonably priced”…. W T F? That’s SUPER expensive for lunch! Then he offered something else outside of town, and for about $5CAD we had a comfy, hearty meal cooked up by what appears to be an awesome, chubby mother. Chile is so expensive…. And what was even more surprising is that, in this town of 10,000 people…. They have a Mercedes-Benz dealership. What? Okay…
By 4pm, we were on our way out of town! We drove north, and after going past a strangely wet and humid National Park (it felt like the Amazon…but in Patagonia!), the sun started setting and we were in some pitch darkness, rounding a lake. There were some really strange buildings in the lake, and resembling something like a run-way with lights and red carpet? Yup, in the MIDDLE of the lake, so we’re thinking this must be one exclusive resort or something? There are thermal spas around here, but red carpet and flood lights floating on the lake seems a bit excessive… After driving for about an hour in the dark, we finally reached what appears to be civilization.
Our guidebook tells us this town is inhabited by about 600 people, and was formed by the hard work of 4 German immigrants back in the 1940s. Rolling into town, we turned into the first hotel, Casa Ludwig. It was the only place recommended by our guide book, but to be fair, this place was so small that it only warranted barely a page of words.
The hotel was charming, with a classic wooden interior, antique objects laying around corners, and a beautiful reading room with a fireplace warming it up. The owner was this charming German lady who spoke fantastic English, and being a very warm and welcoming host. The house was beautifully decorated, and within the reading room lays some great information about the history of this settlement, and some old photographs…. We cooked dinner, showered and huddled up in the reading room drinking mint tea and checking emails on Wi-Fi! Yes, Wi-Fi!
Honestly though, walking in the dark around the house was sort of creepy…haha!