With homework starting to pile on, I haven’t taken the time to update very often. There are so many things that I want to share, but I will try to keep it short and sweet so I can get back to researching for my history class (not that I am incredibly excited to do that). : )

Since the seasons are opposite here, winter begins late May and lasts until September. Before it started getting too cold, my friends and I decided to take advantage of some vacation days from school and see what both ends of this long, skinny country have to offer.

On April 4th we started a week of travels by heading 14 hours south to Pucón, a small city at the base of a volcano in the lakes district of Chile. Southern Chile has a lot of German influence, and a lot more trees. For this reason, Pucón has an an entirely different aesthetic than northern Chile. Seeing wood paneling reminded me of the Midwest…(what a strange thing to be nostalgic about wood paneling)…and if I had to imagine what a small village in the Swiss alps looks like, I would picture Pucón (although I have never been to Europe). I felt like I was in an adult Candyland, surrounded by chalet-style coffee shops and wood-plank walkways. Pictures capture the imagery better than my words, but the point is that it was a quaint town that opened my eyes to how truly diverse Chile’s geography and climates are. We had a great time, and enjoyed a lot of adventures in Pucón: hot springs under the stars, bumming on the black sandy beaches of Lake Villarrica, cooking American meals at our hostel, hiking to the top of the Villarrica Volcano, eating at an asado (barbeque) with new Chilean friends, shopping at the local ferías (markets), and picnicking at the park!

We found a box in the grocery store that looked like Mac and Cheese. Unfortunately, we didn’t read the box close enough to realize that it was mac and cheese with TURKEY flavoring….YUCK!

Earings, scarves, hats, mittens, hair braids, socks, bracelets, necklaces. Welcome to the fería!

Walking along the main street of Pucón. Some cute stray dogs lounging around, as always.

Better than a boardwalk.

The beach at Lake Villarrica with black sand. It was warm outside, but not warm enough to be swimming in the cold water like that man in the background! At this beach, we were frequently visited by stray dogs who liked to play in the water and then show us how much fun they were having by coming over to us and shaking off all over our towels.

The view of Mount Villarrica from Pucón with an awkward tourist pose : )

Scaling the volcano with crampons and ice picks! From the bottom of the volcano, it felt like our guide’s key phrase was, “Only one more hour to the top!” After 4 hours of hiking….we still had an hour left to go.

But, all that hiking was worth it! At 2,500 meters above sea level, the view was breathtaking.

A darling llama wool shop where cute old women made homemade goods!

I will be back to update you on La Serena, northern Chile! Take care, miss you all!

Peace and love,