We left Santiago a little over a week ago and have been making our way south. We opted to drive to the coast of Chile rather than make our way down the faster interstate that runs in the middle. We thought the coast would be prettier and not as hot since we’d be sleeping in our car for most of it. It was definitely worth it.
We spent a day in Pichilemu for some surfing, then headed to Concepcion which was the site of the recent huge earthquake in 2010 that caused a lot of destruction. Our third main stop was Pucon where we went on a beautiful hike in Parque Nacional Huerquehue and had yet another amazing camp spot on the lake. Next up was Valdivia. Earlier in our trip, we met an Argentine in Cordoba who had travelled to Peru the previous year. She met a guy from Valdivia named Joel while travelling in Peru and gave us his contact information if we were ever in the area. We wrote Joel asking if we could meet him for a drink when we passed through. We received an email back from his mother inviting us to come stay with their family.
We weren’t sure what to expect but as soon as we arrived and met his family, we knew it was going to be a warm experience. The family immediately sat us down and started feeding us some amazing clam chowder and a seafood pastry. They shuffled people around so we could have our own bedroom and continued feeding us incessantly some of the most amazing food. They spoiled us rotten for the next two days and were so patient with our Spanish. I helped Francisca in the kitchen where she taught me how to make Pan Amasado which is homemade bread with some intense kneading and Kuchen which is a German pastry kind of like cobbler. Of course with no recipe – just “a little bit of this” and “a little bit of that”.
We had told them we were going to stay only 2 days but after the second day, they were begging us to stay longer citing all of the additional activities there were around the area. We would have stayed longer if we could but there was so much to do between Valdivia and Ushuaia. They made us agree that we would return on our way back to Santiago and before we could explain that we would if we had time, they started saying “cuando ustedes vuelven…” meaning “when you return…”
It was one of the most welcoming experiences we had and we left with our hearts and our stomachs bursting.