Caleta Gonzalo to Puyuhuapi

What a contrast to yesterday. The cloud is almost down to sea level with a steady drizzle.  Easy to see why everthing is so green here.  Breakfast at the Caleta Gonzalo lodge was a DIY affair because most of the kitchen staff didn’t start until after 8am. No shortage of home made bread and freshly laid eggs but a big opportunity for someone to take the initiative and sell proper coffee machines to every restaurant and cafe throughout the country.  A bit of a mysteryhow Nescafé Instant has the market cornered when South America has the best coffee beans.

The road out took us through the southern section of Parque Pumalin with its lush rainforest.  Everywhere we stop there are amazing displays of native fuchsias and other colourful plants right by the roadside  The display continued almost to Chaiten, a fairly run down town which was almost devastated by lava flow from the eruption of a nearby volcano in 2008. Just a few kms before Chaiten, George and Cherie had the first puncture of the trip. They are running the same tyres as our car and several others – Michelin XM2 which we selected as the best compromise for wet grip and compliance over the rough stuff but a bit of a gamble compared with the much harder riding light truck tyres we used for the previous trips. They managed to find a replacement in Chaiten and we were relieved to see the piece of steel rod which caused the puncture – not a sharp stone.

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Our destination this evening is the very upmarket Puyuhuapi Lodge and Spa which can only be reached by boat leaving our cars on the other side of the lake.  Built to take advantage of a series of hot springs, the attraction is its almost complete isolation and apart from a phone and single computer in the entrance there is nothing for guests to do apart from lie back and relax.  We had hoped to get there early to do likewise but just 17km from Puyuhuapi we were stopped by roadworks which have closed the road from 2 to 5 pm. Missed it by just a few minutes!  So here we are sitting in a long line of similarly uninformed travellers catching up with notes for our blog. An elderly gentleman came by after a while and apologised with his hand on his heart on behalf of the entire Chile nation for the inconvenience – a small consolation.

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