Sunday, 2 May 2010


Back in Osorno, we met Gabi & Achiya again. We all (Oren, Lilya, Gabi, Achiya & I) thought about climbing the great Volcan Puyehue together, but checking the weather it looked as though we are to late in the season. A quick look at the weather status in Pucon helped us agree that we would probably have a better chance at climbing the Volcan Villarica.
One last night in Osorno, a goodbye dinner from Gabi & Achiya (who just returned from Pucon, and now headed for Mendoza), morning packing, buying tickets and we're on our way to Pucon.
We got to Pucon after a long (many stops on the way) drive. Night time. Getting off the bus a pretty lady asks me if I've got a place to stay, I started saying (In Spanish of course!) ''Sorry, I already got a hostel but I can't remember the name...'' (One Gabi & Achiya recommended) As the words slowly come out of my mouth, I see her adv. poster, and recognize the name of the hostel. It was the same one. Maitahue.
On the bus I met Dror & Alek (two bearded fellows whom I already met on the hell bus to Perito Moreno, and again on the Carretera Austral). So all of us went to the same hostel together. 5 people in one night, the lady's face was very pleased!
Walking to a van, with the pretty (& nice) lady, getting in, driving to the hostel (which turned out to be a bit to far from the center). The hostel was full with people, all Israelis, watching TV, using the computer, or cooking dinner. very bad first impression (for a traveler trying to avoid Israelis). But as it turned out, 5-6 of them left 2 hours later, leaving only the 5 of us, with about 3 more Israelis. That's fine with me.
The next day was known to be rainy, and so it was. Knowing that, we went to book ourselves to the Villarica climb, the day after that.
07:30 AM, arriving to 'Gideon's' travel agency all ready to climb. Weather was supposed to be great.
08:30 AM, getting in to the vans (with very loud Israelis), headed to the starting point of the Volcano's ascent.
09:10 AM, Dismounting the vehicles at 1200 meters above sea level. Everyone said that if the ski-lifts work, we should take them (''saves you 400 meters of climb, and cost just 10$US''), they didn't.
09:20 AM, Starting the ascent of the volcano. 29 Israelis, 2 Holland chicks (one extraordinary beautiful), 7 guides (all very much like to be back in Pucon for a very important Barcelona-Inter football match).
For me, the climb was easy. At first. Some other people, those filled with Testosterone, or without, typical Israelis who (from real sentences I've heard on the way...) didn't really know why the hell the were on a volcano, and why the hell did they pay so much for such suffering? If they said it or not, none of them really liked the ascending part.
With 400-600 meters to go, the head-guide announced we can't continue with the climb. To much wind & ice on the top. Two minutes more, and he changed it to ''Just the fit go on from here, and be honest with yourselves''. I went on, already said it was too easy...until then.
The last part of the climb was steeper, and we, for some reason (maybe the football match), walked even faster than before. Then came the last 100 meters.
In which, the smoke coming out of the volcano, swept off with the the summit and in to our lounges. You try climbing up, but there's no clean air to breath. Somehow, we made it.
From the top, above the clouds, we could see 3 more volcanoes! (the guides said it was a day with bad view, in good view you could see up to 5) Standing on the summit, you can see volcanic crater. You just stand there, so small, and wait for the lava to jump out, just a bit, and show itself.
The three guides left (the weak climbed down a long time ago with the other guides), rushed us off the summit (football match?) after less than 10 minutes. We started the descent. At first on our feet, and about the same height we abandoned the 'weak', we got the order to put off our crampons, and were introduced to a very fun gliding technique. One which helped us descent to about 1600 meters above sea level. A few more steps, another annoying drive with different Israelis (same amount of 'too loud'), and we're back in lovely Pucon.
The next day was Oren's Birthday. He felt just fine, so we had to cancel our planed trip to the 'ants' trek. we found ourselves wondering around the city of Pucon, which has beautiful beaches on Lago Villarica, Lovely street dogs who followed us everywhere, and a secret homey restaurant ('La Picada') recommended by the nice workers from Gideon's. Went to see the lake, played on the beach with our new dogs, and ate at the great restaurant. When asking for 'La cuenta' (the bill, for you Inbal) we were amazed hear (no actual bill) it was very cheap as well (5 $US dollars per person approx.).
The fourth day in Pucon was said to be more cloudy, and Oren still felt fine, so Lilya and I went 'Cannioning' waterfalls (''Snapling'' in rubbish Hebrew). Oren doesn't like heights anyways. Set it up again, through Gideon (because it was cheap, and because we liked the workers there), this time just Lilya, me and a Huver the guide. first drove to the river, dressed up on the spot (diving suit, boxers, raincoat, helmet, diving shoes, and harness), and started walking. 10 minutes later, we were above the first waterfall. The ad said we'll have 4 water walls 15-25 meters high. We climbed down 3, and one had a very unusual technique, we glided on our bellies! It was fun, and the guide was kind of a Ninja, or maybe didn't care for his life too much, I couldn't tell.
Fifth day in Pucon. This time all were feeling well, and on their way to Ojos de Caburgua. Two rivers meeting on one geological step, causing a 300 degrees of waterfalls that could be circled around and be watched from every wanted angle. At total we witnessed 4 major water falls, 2-3 smaller ones, and one Laguna Azul (blue). All spectacular, and just 15 minutes drive from Pucon. From the waterfalls we walked back to the road, and Hitchhiked our way to Caburgua. A small town established on a lake with the same name. Caught a Hitch on the back of a pickup-truck (Oren was very exited for his first ride on the back of a pickup-truck, and smiled like a little girl on her birthday). Walked on the shore of the lake, its called 'Playa Blanca' for its slightly less black sand (all the rest of the sand around here is black from the volcanic rocks). Sun was hot and we just fell asleep for half an hour on the shoreline. Just like in Tel-Aviv.
Next stop, Junin de los Andes, Argentinian lake district.

Tips for Pucon:
1. Gideon is a nice man, and hires very pleasant workers & professional guides. The only downside of my climb was the too many Israelis.
2. Everybody said the Cannoning is only for women. I enjoyed it very much. and as far as I know - I'm all man.
3. 'La Picada' - The secret homey restaurant. Located on Cacique Uruguay #215. But don't tell anyone.
4. Hostal Maitauhe (casa de Andrea) - Cacique Paillalef #965. Clean, cheap, a bit far from town, too many potential Israelis.

1 comment:

  1. הי אהדי, אתה כותב מרתק, כייף לטייל איתך בין השורות. הישראלים אינם סתם עם הם מעצמה - נמצאים בכל מקום ובעיקר נשמעים.
    ניכר שלמרות הכל נהנתה בגדול מה לעשות " משפחה לא בוחרים"
    נשיקות וחבוקים אוהבת הבי בעולם