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Chile : The Lakes

Puerto Varas and Llanquihui

18th Feb Lan Chile - LA 273 Santiago (SCL) Dep: 13:25 to Puerto Montt Arrive: 15:10
19th Feb Sun Trip round lake (pm) Llanquihue (wood carving), Frutillar Bajo (Low Frutillar) Terraza Del Volcán (Kuchen), Teatro del Lago, Frutillar Alto, Puerto Octay Restaurant La Marca
20th Feb Mon Chiloe Island; penguin tour. Lunch at El Rincón De Puñihuil. Ancud Square, Central Market. Cafe Mawen (outdoors) at Puerto Varas for ice cream pm
21st Feb Tue Lan Chile - LA 287 Puerto Montt (PMC) Dep: 10:30 Punta Arenas (PUQ) Arr: 12:40 Transfer to Hotel Chalet Chapital, Punta Arenas. Naval museum, Sara Braun palace

18th Feb Arrival at Puerto Varas
We went out for a quick stroll in Santiago before we were collected for our flight (luckily the host of the hotel was very entertaining while we waited), and arrived at Puerto Montt in the mid afternoon. It was a bit drizzly (but then again this is the LAKES district!), but not too bad. We arrived at our pretty hotel Casa Kalfu, Puerto Varas http://www.casakalfu.cl in 40 minutes or so, driving through mostly empty rolling downs. The hotel was lovely, inside and out, and it was a huge shame for them that a concrete monstrosity was being slowly erected between them and the lake. We were hungry to say the least (“lunch” on LAN consists of a 1-sided menu listing 4 “snacks” e.g. small muffin, cereal bar, of which you can chose 2). Heading along the lakeshore towards the main town we had a bit of a wander before finding a floral brasserie for a meal. Las Buenas Brasas, San Pedro, Puerto Varas had their own gardens and was very much a brasserie, rather than a restaurant. However, the food was wholesome; sort of Chile meets Bavaria, and inexpensive. Down here the local population look quite Germanic, reflecting the huge German immigration into the region. The guide explained that many families still speak German, that some schools are German-medium and that it has even affected Spanish as spoken in the Lakes, for instance they will say “ja” instead of “si”. Certainly we were frequently greeted with Guten Tag/ Morgan, rather than Buenos Dias; or in the far south people say calentador (water heater), but in central Chile it is estufa. The food too is decidedly Germanic, with Kuchen, strudhl, nodel and soup common in all the places we visited. Naturally we had some of the local beer, Los Lagos district being famous for its micro-breweries. We tried Colonos and Salzburg, both brewed locally, and even the odd named Chester Beer, brewed next door (not all today of course!).

19th Feb Around Lago Llanquihue

We had already been told that Osorno Volcano and Petrohue Falls were closed due to landslips, so we decided to explore Puerto Varas in the morning, before a tour of the lake in the afternoon. We went first along the shore east, towards Arturo Prat and past the Lutheran church, before heading back west past the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church to the town proper. Puerto Varas, aka the City of Roses, is a city in Chile's Lake District (Los Lagos) on the southwest banks of Lake Llanquihue, with views of snow-capped Osorno Volcano and Calbuco Volcano, both still active. Traditional German-style architecture characterises the town, reflecting its colonial past. Built in the early 20th century, the red-and-white Sacred Heart of Jesus Church has three striking towers. Also in town, the Antonio Felmer Museum explores the history of the 19th-century German settlers with displays of furniture, clothing and farming machinery. In the north, Park Philippi is crossed by trails and offers views of the city. Mount Calvary is adorned with small chapels and an altar at its peak. The rugged Vicente Perez Rosales National Park lies northeast of Puerto Varas. It's home to Petrohue Falls, which flow down volcanic rock chutes formed by lava. Nearby are the emerald-green waters of Todos los Santos Lake. Farther east, bordering Argentina, is soaring Tronador Volcano. The city dates back to 1853 and is named after Antonio Varas, the Minister of the Interior at the time. It was founded by German immigrants who settled the shores of Lake Llanquihue as part of a government colonisation project during the presidency of Manuel Montt (after whom the airport is named). The area known as the “Llanquihue Lake Colonisation Territory” was created by the government 1853, and the first 212 German families immigrated to what would be Puerto Varas. The first area settled was La Fabrica, where the road from Puerto Montt and the coast reached Llanquihue Lake.
Other landmarks include the opening of a Catholic church in 1872 and the founding of Deutscher Verein (German Club) in 1885. Puerto Varas is characterised by traditional German architecture, with houses built from alerce wood. It was designated a Zona Típica (heritage zone) in 1992 and has a number of protected buildings, including the wooden Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus Church), Verbo Divino, built in 1918 on the highest point in Puerto Varas, Casa Kuschel (1915) and Casa Yunge (1932). Cultural institutions include the Antonio Felmer Museum, Molino Machmar Art Centre, Nativo Bosque Gallery and the Pablo Fierro Museum. Puerto Varas is known for traditional German dishes, especially Kuchen, which is celebrated on the annual Kuchen Day (1st Sat of Feb). Craft beers, pastries, cakes, chocolate and marmalades can also be found in the town’s shops, restaurants and cafes. The urban circuit features countless buildings that still stand and were raised upon the arrival of the German immigrants in the area. It is through them that their culture may be interpreted. Several buildings that represent the architectural heritage of the city lie within a very close radio from the main square. They give evidence of the lifestyle of the first German and Chilean colonists who arrived on the shores of Lake Llanquihue in the mid 19th century. Back in those days, Puerto Varas was not even a village, as its denizens were scattered and with no possibilities of communication. Nevertheless, as a result of their hard work and effort, these settlements slowly developed and grew in spite of the scarce means. Houses were entirely built with Patagonian cypress wood, as access to the unspoilt forests was easy in the early twentieth century. Today, that species is protected by law. The colonists used tools they had brought from Europe. The Lutheran Church boasts its attributes on Vicente Pérez Rosales Waterfront. Built in 1923, it has a gable roof and a central tower that ends up in an octagonal tambour and eight-side spire. This is a place of worship for a large community even today.
The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an architectural icon since 1918, is located at a high spot. It features a Romantic style with vertical lines that follow the Gothic style. Its inner covering and structure are made of wood, whereas the outside covering is made of undulated tin plates. It was built in 1915 and based on the Marienkirche in the Black Forest. For the best view of church-volcano-lake walk up to Cerro Calvario.
Kuschel House -built in 1915 on the way uphill towards Mount Philippi. It has two stories and a basement. Its structure has an oak framework with walls of horizontal boards and stone baseboards. It presents several roofs and a very original metallic dome. It gives evidence of the wealth of those days.
Yunge House, San Ignacio Street, dates from 1932. It has two stories and a central viewpoint over the access door, and a balcony overlooking the city. The ornaments on the eaves are Neo-Gothic. Another typical early 20th century house is Gotschlich. Its walls are covered with Patagonian cypress tiles.
Arturo Prat Station, on the corner of Nuestra Señora del Carmen Street and Miraflores Street. Many people consider that this is one of the most characteristic pieces of German architecture. In fact, every street in the city treasures samples of what used to be built in the early days of this town.

Around Lake Llanquihue. We grabbed a sandwich at Cafe Haussmann for lunch before being collected for a (rather disappointing) drive round Lake Llanquihue. Our first stop was Llanquihue town bridge where the Maullin river starts and a drive along the shore (Yan Kee Way), where we admired the carved statues. We then drove into the town itself to look at the recent wood carving competition.
From here it was a pretty drive along the lake edge through wooded areas and hamlets, with some beautiful German farmhouses that would not look out of place in the Black Forest. Some have been designated as national monuments, while others are still very much homes. On the outskirts of Frutillar we saw House Kloker, established by Tyrolean émigré Jakob Schonherr Kloker in 1860. He was assigned farm No 37b, and later farm no. 44, from where he founded the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lake Llanquihue. This, his town house, was built c1888. It includes towers, pinnacles, attics and cupolas in an eclectic mix of Neo-classical and neo-Gothic. The exterior cladding is native alerce wood (now no longer able to be used due to its scarcity, but very waterproof and weather resistant), with typical wood shingles. As usual, the joints are all wooden dowels, with no metal nails at all.

Once we arrived at Frutillar, we parked in the pretty Frutillar Bajo (Low Frutillar, on the shore) and went off by ourselves. As we’d only had a sandwich for lunch we went to Terraza Del Volcán to try their famous Kuchen, before a wander around the pretty and very Germanic town. We saw Casa Richter, Av Philippi 451, a neoclassical gem and now part of the Theatre and Arts school. It originally belonged to Carlos Richter Schultz who was one of the original 50 settlers. This house, built in 1895, was originally part of a large milk farm. After admiring the old buildings, we headed towards the lake and beach and its newest building, the Teatro del Lago.
Frutillar is known as the "City of Music". Exploring this region in 1842 Bernhard Eunom Philippi, an army officer, brought the idea to the Chilean government, under President Manuel Bulnes, that the Southern Region of Chile would be best developed by bringing German Settlers that were having a hard time in Germany with the industrial revolution and had plans to migrate to America. Settlers from Hamburg and other German cities arrived in 1852 at the port of Valdivia under the official colonisation program. Later president of Chile, Manuel Montt named Rosales as head of the German colonisation of Llanquihue 1856. Rosales changed the course of the incoming colonists to Lake Llanquihue. He reached the lake through the dense wild forest and climbed to Osorno Volcano where he saw the ships (chilotes) from Chiloe sailing in the inner waters of Puerto Montt. From then, the settlers came through Puerto Montt and travelled by land to Puerto Varas where other ships would sail the shores of lake Llanquihue to Frutillar and Puerto Octay. Bernardo Philippi "The water of this lake is as clear as that of Geneva in Switzerland..., it has the snowy Alps, the Andes Mountain." 1842 It took over 10 years to bring all the settlers from Germany to Chile and establish the first colonisation program in Lake Llanquihue. The colonisation proved to be a success, as the region developed agricultural and forestry with European technology. German schools proved to be the best in the Southern region of Chile. The German Museum and Teatro del Lago are today's main attractions in Frutillar. Teatro del Lago holds concerts all year round and is considered the largest in Chile and the best acoustic theatre in South America. Every year the musical festival conducts a continuous 2 week concert “Semanas Musicales” in the first week of February. It became a bit wetter and we retreated to the car, which now drove up to Frutillar Alto (High Frutillar), a much more utilitarian part of the town. Interestingly we passed the upper town house of the Richter family (to contrast with their nicer lower town house). To distinguish it from the other it is known as Casa Richter-Strauch. It is still in the Strauch family’s ownership as a summer retreat.

Continuing on round the lake we ended at Puerto Octay. The town, the oldest in the region, was established by German settlers in 1852 and until the railway arrived in 1912 was an important port. We drove to the old port, now being transformed into a marina and fishing centre. The whole town is very much 19th Century, and mostly built of wood. Important buildings include Casa Niklitschek (Strauch family), Hotel Haase, Wulf House, Colegio San Vicente de Paul and Haus Werner. Puerto Octay is now designated a national heritage town. There is only one shop, run by Cristino Ochs (whose family founded it over 100 years ago. In fact, Octay comes from “donde Ochs hay” or “you’ll find it where Ochs is”. Today there are only 3,000 residents in the quaint village. San Agustin Church was pretty, but the rain was increasing, so we didn’t stay long.
Casa Werner left- the first of the Werner family to arrive in Chile was Alfred Wörner, who changed his name to Werner. The first documented owner was Don Antonio Werner and the building dates c1910. At first it was residential, but due to the proximity to the pier also functioned as a lodging. It was a bakery from 1970 to 2000, when it became a house/ shop. Old German School below right: 348, Germán Wulf street is a wooden construction of traditional style, without ornamental details on its facade. Constructed c1900, the building was first a school, then a butcher's shop and now a guesthouse. Due to the change of uses and owners, it is possible to identify the modifications made through its history: the creation of a subway with perimeter concrete walls, which served as a cellar and slaughterhouse, the height of doors and windows were diminished (you can still see its original height), the wooden tiles on the left were replaced by zinc plates, and two rooms added to the second floor.

It was raining enough to take the quick way back to Puerto Varas, via the Panamerican Highway (South). Arriving back, we walked back into town to find a restaurant recommended to us, La Marca. As we hadn’t booked and it was supposedly very popular we went early, at 7pm. What a good thing! We had the last free table. The food, cooked on an open fire in the corner of the restaurant was delicious www.lamarca.cl.
Osorno Volcano is a 2,652m tall conical stratovolcano lying between Osorno and Llanquihue Provinces on the southeast shore of Llanquihue Lake. Osorno is a symbol of the local landscape, and noted for its similarity to Mt Fuji. Osorno is one of the most active volcanoes of the southern Chilean Andes, with 11 eruptions between 1575 and 1869. The basalt and andesite lava flows generated during these eruptions reached both Llanquihue and Todos los Santos Lakes. The upper slopes are almost entirely covered in glaciers despite the latitude and its modest altitude, sustained by snowfall in the very moist climate of the region. The cone of Osorno was constructed above a 250,000 year old eroded stratovolcano, La Picada, which has a mostly buried 6km wide caldera. The forest that protects its slopes houses a wide range of species; 200-1000 m above sea level has coihues and lengas. Above 800 m, is the most ancient species in the forest; the endangered Andean birch, 4,000-5,000 years old. Pudú deer, chingue (Patagonian skunk), culpeo (Patagonian fox), quique (a kind of ferret) and puma may be seen. The long-muzzled weasel, huet-huet, hummingbird, kestrel, tit-tyrant and woodpeckers take shelter in the humid forests. Between Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas is Volcan Calbuco, a 2,015m stratovolcano. Its last eruption was 2015, after a 40 year gap. Close to Osorno is Puntiagudo-Cordon Cenizos, a 2,493m volcano that lost its point (puntiagudo) in 1960.
Petrohué Waterfalls (Saltos del Petrohué) with Osorno volcano. Red Crater on Osorno slopes (a flank crater). Petrohué Waterfalls (Saltos del Petrohué) is a chute-type waterfall in the upper reach of Petrohué River. The waterfall is supported by basaltic lava (andesite) from Osorno Volcano. The average water flow is 270 m3 per sec, but can be much greater during the rainy season when Lake Todos los Santos rises by up to 3m. The water is usually clear with a green hue; however, occasionally, when lahars descending from the volcano are active, water can be loaded with sand and silt. Transport of these abrasive materials explains the polished aspect of the rocks. Lake Llanquihue is the second largest lake in Chile with an area of 860 sq km, in the southern Los Lagos Region in Llanquihue and Osorno provinces.
The lake's fan-like form was created by successive piedmont glaciers during the Quaternary glaciations. The last glacial period is called Llanquihue glaciation in Chile after the terminal moraine systems around the lake. The lake's views of Volcán Osorno make the surrounding cities such as Puerto Varas tourism hotspots.

Posted by PetersF 12:31 Archived in Chile Tagged volcano church lake chile puerto_varas puerto_octay germanic frutillas Comments (0)

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