When we mentioned that the highest mountain in Belgium is about 700 metres tall, we were sharing a perfect temperature hot spring with three adventorous Chileans. They smiled, and I could see them think “No wonder these tourists like our mountains a lot.” And maybe it’s true – the historic center of Bruges was not very magical to me either when biking through it to get to school.
So yeah, once again we got to enjoy some of Chile’s more remote natural features. Volcán Chillan released an impressive smoke cloud every couple of hours, while the rivers at its slopes steamed day and night. The mountains flanking Laguna Laja provided stunning sights, not only on the blue laguna below, but on the polished Volcán Antuco next to the glacier-adorned Sierra Velluda in the south as well.
But of course, it’s not all rose scent and moonshine*. Veronika’s shoes started to disintegrate, so we escaped to Concepción to buy new boots. Apart from the delay, this also means sore feet for a couple of days, as a happy marriage between foot and boot requires the painful development of (literal) thick skin. I’ve got some bruises from falling down on loose scree slopes. And of course, the psychological damage from spending every waking hour together is becoming apparent. Or not. It’s hard to tell.
The weather remains great, with only a couple of rain clouds that in the end got stuck on the mountain peaks. And we’ve gained our “hiking legs”, managing more than 20 km on most days.
Anyway, next up is passing Volcán Antuco and Laguna El Barco. I’m looking forward to see the araucaria trees after which the Araucania province is named.
*This Dutch expression is clearly better than “it’s not all roses”.