Suspension bridge into the forest
For a little more relaxed day we decided on going to the volcanic caves at the foot of Mt Villarrica. We picked up a map at the tourist information centre and headed off to give polar bear another workout.
Most of the road was fine, but the last few km were quite rough and the her bottom got a couple of scrapes. Nothing serious.
As the caves are privately owned you need to go for a “guided” tour. This includes a guide who speaks a mixture of Spanish and English (spanglish I suppose) and basically cocks up both. There was another couple who were either Chilean or Brazilian who were Spanish speaking and they were struggling with understanding as much as we were. They were an off couple. He was quite smooth, but she was wearing high heals.
The artist formerly known as a river of lava
For a tour of caves. She was kind of a Patricia Lewis type.
The most interesting part of the tour was a section of the caves called the chocolate cave which has chocolate brown walls. Very nice. The tour takes you about 200m into the caves and is not very well lit which makes it a challenge going in as you cant see where you are walking.
There are also some nice photos of previous eruptions dating back to the 1940’s, 60’s, 70’s etc with the last big one being in 1998. Time for another we were thinking.
After that we went for a brief walk in the forest to ease our mildly aching muscles.
Villarrica (the town) has a Mapuche museum and market, so we thought it would be nice to go through there. The Mapuche Indians still live throughout the area so it would be good to learn a bit about them.
Not an elephant. Luckily the lava was no longer moving
Unfortunately, when we got there, pretty much everything was closed up. I must say that Villarrica as a town does not seem to have much attraction.
Pucon is a much neater and more organised place and reminded us a lot of San Martin de los Andes. Which is a compliment. It feels like a resort village. Also another place that, if it were anywhere in Europe, would be completely packed with people all year round. As it is, there is only a town population of less than 10,000 people.
We had dinner at Suiza again, and another excellent meal. I had roast goose with nuts in gravy (chestnuts, walnuts and what we think are pine nuts). The sauce was quite sweet but really tasty and unusual. The pine nuts are quite strange as they have the texture of a bean or a root vegetable but the taste of a nut.