Puerto Montt is set on hills above a sheltered harbour. We drive along the waterfront and explore a few small fishing towns before hunting down a place to balance GR2's wheels. This exercise means we get a good look at the suburbs. This completed we now plan to head to the coast via Lago Llanquihue and Volcan Osorno. When we arrive it is such a glorious day we drive right up the side of the volcano (nearly to the snowline)
John isn't feeling too fantastic, so we hole up for a few days beside a river and then the lake. Then it is on to the coast to the playas (beaches) via the city of Valdivia. The city is set on a large river and a huge wetland area - very pretty. We meet some of the locals (a group of sealions) down by the river, and see them again at the fish markets waiting to be fed. A very environmental way to clean up.
On to the beach to explore, first the old Spanish forts in the area and then to follow the lovely coastline north. Once we have had our fill of dirt roads we head east towards the border via Villarrica & Pucon. We were in Pucon in January, and the place was packed. Now it is very quiet and the camp site we intended to stay in is closed, so we park for the night right in town on the waterfront.
The next day was another border crossing - we made sure we got our full 8 month vehicle permit. We had exited Chile with great views of Volcan Villarrica, and entered Argentina with views of Volcan Lanin. Each side of the Andes is so different. Chile with lush forests and Argentina with dry open spaces.
After Lanin Nat Pk we head south to drive the Route of Seven Lakes that we missed previously due to rain. It was very pretty, but we have probably seen enough lakes for a while, so it is time for new horizons and we head north into the pampas. Not lush farmland, but dry scruffy desert with huge blue skies, with the occasional gorge or two thrown in.
We stop at the town of Zapala to get a leaf taken out of the springs - in readiness for more dirt roads ahead........more to come