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Turning 30 South American Style With the dreaded 30th birthday looming, I ran away to South America to celebrate the landmark birthday in style.


ARGENTINA | Friday, 8 February 2008 | Views [1055]

After two months of being told just how beautiful the lake district of Chile is, we were happy to find that yes, it is really rather spectacular. All rolling verdant fields, rather like the British pastoral scene, then your eyes drift up to find a snow capped Volcano towering above you and a humming bird twittering beside a fruit tree. Just stunning.
We based ourselves out of Osorno, heading first to Entre Lagos with a camp site right on the lake. It was beautiful, crystal clear water and the people there were beyond friendly, all lovely camaraderie. Could have done without the family of traveling folk singers though!  Some fishermen camped next to us one night and the next morning offered us a plate of fresh caught barbecued salmon. Steve was well happy because he go to eat mine as well. We happened to be there for the salmon festival so watched the procession through town with much hilarity as the final truck proved at the last minute to be too high for the height barrier and had to be reversed out guided by 200 drunk festival goers. It ended with a big fireworks display on the lake side.
After that, we headed to Puerto Octay where the views of Volcano Osorno and the two others whose name I forget were just amazing. Needed to be in town to meet Steve so stayed at El Molinas camp site which is by a dammed river and spent the day swimming around in the crystal clear water, until I saw a fish, then I promptly got out. There was a power cut that night and the sky was choc a bloc full of stars, you could even see the galaxy swirls. Unbelievable. The next day we went to the little museum there and learned all about the German settlers who came over in the 1800s to start the town. They built lots of wooden chalets dotted about, all rather nice if somewhat in need of a lick of paint. They even had some Staffordshire pottery on display. Very exotic!
Then finally to Las Cascadas, a teeny tiny little place on the shores of one of the biggest lakes in South America. It was a huge lake, you could easily believe it was the ocean, it even had giant crashing waves. After a fruitless attempt to find the tourist information lady (one woman even took me to her house but she was out) we decided to give up on trying to trek up in the mountains but we did want to see the waterfall the town was named after.
They don´t seem to want anyone to find it, not being signposted anywhere until you are right on it, but it was really really spectacular. You clamber over rocks and boulders Indiana Jones style for around half an hour before emerging beneath the water fall which is the height of a 12 storey building, falling down a sheer cliff face in a total drop. Ace. Had a picnic of bread and peaches. Very very good day.
Tired as anything we returned to the camp site to find a group of students drinking rum and coke at four in the afternoon and listening to very loud and very bad music. We got all grumpy and had a nap then woke feeling more inclined to be pleasant. Turns out they are all lovely and we all got very drunk together, drinking the night away until we finally called it a night in the wee small hours. Steve was given a T Shirt featuring the local beer to wear on his bike adventures, I taught some willing ears the words to the Man Utd chant ¨build a bonfire¨. Great international relations.

Tags: camping, chile, fish, lake, lake district, osorno, patagnonia, puerto octay, the great outdoors, volcanoe

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