Europe Meets
German influence of Frutillar.
February 23, 2007

I am now getting a touch of Europe as I travel through South America. More specifically, a touch of German. If I have a hankering
kuchen or strudel, it can be satisfied here. Heck, even fondue is an option!

I have yet to learn what brought the Germans here back in the day (I plan to do this tomorrow) but I am happy for their influence.
It is what made it possible to eat an oh-so-delectable piece of apple strudel today.

More than just being German, this area is known for being in Chile’s Lake District. I am hoping the weather will be nice and clear at
some point in the next couple days (though it is not looking hopeful for tomorrow) so that I can take a boat ride that goes to a couple
of the different villages on the lake.

In the meantime, I have a few days here. I will probably consult my Lonely Planet in the morning to see what some different
options are. I think I will head to a town called Frutillar. It’s only 15 minutes away. If I don’t like it, I can just get on a bus and come

February 24, 2007

A very nice day was had.

It started this morning with walking down to the lake. I heard some festivities taking place and I thought I would check it out.
Turned out to be a kiddy triathlon. I watched them make their way through the cold waters and come back to shore to hop on their
bikes. There were clearly two different age groups and the tykes didn’t have to swim, bike or run as far. For this reason, the super
youngin’s were the first to cross the finish line. And no Chilean triathlon would be complete without them playing Tom Jones’
‘Sexbomb’ while this was taking place. There is something funny and…well…just not really right about listening to this song while
little 6-year olds are crossing a finish line. This was followed up with a medley of Michael Jackson’s greatest tunes. Needless to say,
I was more than content. It was now time to figure out what to do with the rest of my day.

I asked the girl at the B&B I am staying at what she thought of Frutillar. She responded with a small chuckle and said “Frutillar? It’
s kind of funny.”

That was all it took to make me want to go see it. And let me say that it was
exactly what I had expected.

My Lonely Planet book talked about the German architecture in Frutillar. And I actually remember hearing about the town on a
documentary I watched on Chile before leaving on my trip. That documentary was a long time ago and I forget what caused the
German settlement out in this area. And I tried to find any hint of an explanation in my Lonely Planet and came up empty-handed
as far as information goes. So much for me providing this information. I might not have had information but I definitely got some
entertainment. The town had a very Solvang-esque feel to it (any Californian knows what I mean) - but replacing German for
Danish. I felt like I had been transplanted back in Europe. The architecture, the signs on buildings, the names of places, the strudel
– this town seriously didn’t lack in bringing Deutschland to Chile. One of the perks here was treating myself to a piece of kuchen
(the choice du jour was a cake with raspberries and custard). The only unfortunate thing was that the clouds in the sky were
covering up what-would-have-been a perfect view of Volcan Osorno while standing at the lake. Instead, I just had to use my

A few hours was all I really needed out there. What it was now time for was to tend to my chocolate craving. I actually found a shop
called ‘Vicki Johnson’s’ with some gourmet products. I found out from the guy working at the shop (he actually learned his English
while living in Wisconsin for a few years) that Vicki is from California. All I can say is that everything at her shop looked like
something I wanted to try. But I limited myself to a few things – one which was one of the best chocolate treats I have tasted in a
long time. It was an alfajor filled with fresh raspberries and dulce de leche and covered with dark chocolate. I don’t think I will be
able to find other alfajores that will even compare. I have already made a mental note to stock up on a few of these before I head
out to Santiago.   

February 25, 2007

A day with blue skies! Hip hip hooray!

I went straight down to the bus stop and boarded a bus to Petrohue. I considered it my ‘dia tranquilo’. I don’t really even know if
that is the correct way to say it in Spanish. It seems like I should be making ‘dia’ into the masculine or ‘tranquilo’ into the feminine
so that they match. Hmmm… Oh well. Not worrying about it.

Petrohue isn’t even a town - it’s more of a place on a lake in a national park. If you look to one direction, you look out onto the lake.
If you look in the other direction, you see Volcan Osorno. When I first arrived I could see a mere glimpse of the white-top of the
volcano. I sat at one of the picnic benches near the campground and let my mind wander while looking out at the lake. By the time I
was ready to get up, I turned around and saw a whole new sight – a clear view of the volcano. I never thought it was possible to
want to stand and stare at a volcano for so long. I don’t know what it was about a snow-covered top that was so magical. But it was.

When I left, I even became determined to come back to this area tomorrow.

Back in Puerto Varas I walked over to the tourism agency and booked a trip to Petrohue and then a boat ride through part of the
Lake Crossing to Peulla. I am praying that the weather is a repeat of what it was today. The boat ride is supposed to be something
pretty striking when Mother Nature is on your side. Fingers are crossed…


Oh my gosh! Could it really be??? I just found out that E! is one the stations on the television at my B&B. And it just turns out that
tonight is Oscars night. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this (however I’m not) but I am staying in for a few hours so
that I can watch The Red Carpet. I’m justifying this for the following reasons:

This is a once-in-a-year event.
I need to be up-to-date on the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ of Hollywood’s fashion world.
I am a sucker for celebrity stuff like this.
I can entertain/impress my friends with an email stating my opinions of the Pre-Show even though I am in a different hemisphere
of the world.
I am all about culturing myself this year. Doesn’t being current on ‘American culture’ count for a little something?

It is time for me to put this journaling stuff away so that the Oscars and The Red Carpet get my undivided attention. Stay tuned for
my opinions…

February 26, 2007

Sometimes with the good comes the bad.

The good: Andean Lake trip.
The bad: Overnight 13-hour bus trip to Santiago.

I had about 3 hours to prepare myself for the bus ride. A few things were in order:

  1. Buy more alfajores from the Vicki Johnson store (after all, where else can I get dark chocolate alfajores with raspberry and
    chocolate ganache filling?).
  2. Get some local grilled salmon for dinner.
  3. Go grocery shopping so I don’t starve in case a hunger pang takes place.

I am at the bus station right now. Ten minutes to go. Let’s just hope my exhaustion will provide me a good-night’s sleep…
Back to Chile.
German-architecture church in Puerto Varas.
Volcan Osorno from Petrohue.