09 October 2015

A few weekends ago we went on an adventure with a group of fun people!

With winter ending, we were yearning for some warmth to tide us over until Spring took full force.  So, we decided to head to some thermal hot springs!  As you might know, Chile lies right on the border of several tectonic plates, thus making it home to many volcanoes, earthquakes, and fiery activity.  One benefit of this, though, is that there are plenty of geothermal seeps that heat up the groundwater. 

So, with directions from a friend, we set out for Panquí.  Some graduate students and researchers from our institute were also keen, so made up a team of mostly Colombians, one Uruguayo, a tiny Chilenita, and me. We passed the town of Villarica and stopped to take some photos of the famous volcano (that just erupted in March of 2015).  We headed into the Andes foothills, climbing our way into the Coihue forest.  After asking a few people, we found our way to Panquí where we unloaded our gear into a giant cabin and headed to the thermal pools.  There were pools of all temperatures.  Freezing cold, boiling hot, and bathwater warm.  The pools are maintained by a crazy local gringo that keeps the property in rustic condition and aspires to introduce elephants as a local attraction.  We fully enjoyed a soak in the warm water while telling stories, drinking warm wine, and appreciating the surrounding nature.  Thermals Panquí, two thumbs up!

On the way back to Valdivia from Panquí, we drove up the Villarica volcano so that some of the latinos could get their first glimpse of snow!  

04 October 2015

I thought I'd share a few more photos of Spring with you.

Today, while Pablo was busy catching up on some work, I took advantage of a break in the rain to take a long walk.  I just love that my legs tire before I can even make it to a paved road.  Our little neighborhood fulfills my need for wild spaces.

The land is greening up after a muddy winter. 

New installment built by the eight-year old neighbor boy.  His six year old sister informed us that no one actually wants to sit in the egg stand, that would be too boring, but if we want to buy eggs we have to find the secret hole where to insert 2,000 pesos and eggs are supposed to magically appear.  So far we have been unsuccessful in retrieving any eggs.

This old dog is moving even slower than last year, perhaps a haircut might lighten his load.

Everything is starting to bloom!

Dihueñe season is about over. The little orange mushrooms that were not harvested from the Roble trees are now falling to the ground to rot.  One can only eat so many mushrooms.

A wary cow keeps watch over the old German house at the end of our road. I always wonder what that place was like in its hey-day.

A few weeks ago we seeded some tomatoes and herbs.  We will wait until it gets a bit warmer to put them out in the garden.

The boys seem happy with the change in season.  

Working so hard at our little kitchen table!

28 September 2015

On the 18th of September we had a grand plan.

For Chile´s National Day we would cross the river and visit Punucapa!  We decided to enlist the help of our friends, a crazy Quebecois and a handy-capable Chilean.  We drove the five minutes to their house early on the afternoon of the 18th.  We sat on the porch, ate some peanuts, and contemplated which vessel to cross the river in.  Kayaks, inflatable boats, or the little red Lanchita?  We decided that the path of least resistance would be to take the little red row boat with Christian and Maryse´s 2 horse power motor attached.  And with that set-up, we headed across the river, at not-such-a-rapid pace, in search of National Day festivities in Punucapa.

Lo and behold, thirty minutes later, we successfully made it to the other side only to find out that while we were hemming-and-hawing over peanuts, the National Day celebrations in Punucapa had more or less run their course.  We missed the Cueca and vaqueros, but there were still empanadas and chicha aplenty.  We had our fill of home-brew cider, indulged in some tasty empanadas and headed back across the river.  On the way back, we were serenaded by black-necked swans.

24 September 2015

This past weekend was beautiful.

While at night, its still chilly, during the day it has gotten up to the 70s F when its not raining.  Last weekend was full of sunny days that we were lucky to fully enjoy thanks to the long weekend.  The 18th of September is Chile´s National Day, so we had half of Thursday and all of Friday off.  As such, on Thursday evening we decided to take our neighbor´s little wooden boat out for a stroll on the river.  

We walked down the little hill from our house to the neighborhood dock.  The sun was starting to set which means that it was at its most golden.  The Bandurian birds were flying overhead, lighting up their pale breasts in the evening sun.  The humedal, or wetlands that make up a large part of Valdivia, is the interface between river and land.  It is a place for the rain water to drain into and a place for baby black-necked swans to nest.  

We untied the little red and yellow wooden boat and put the oar rings in place.  Pablo had never rowed a boat before, so I showed him what I knew and then he took over.  The loose oars were trickier than locked oars but we were soon making our way through the humedal.  It was a beautiful evening, with beautiful company.