I drove down to Puerto Montt in about 3 hours and once again was awed by the scenery and the volcanoes. I arrived at my hospedaje which is simply a boarding house. This one serves breakfast. The cost for my room is 14,000 clp or about $22. It has two double beds and I share a bathroom. Extremely clean and I parked my car behind the gate. The owner Eliana is very nice.
I went down to the fish market area where there were a lot of artesan craft vendors. Since its been so cold, I got a hat, some gloves and a scarf. I can't imagine going white water rafting in 4 days but yes, that is on my agenda even further south where no doubt it will be even colder. I went to a restaurant for linner and had some very nice fish with potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce. They also served some fried bread with a delicious salsa and some soup. Cost was 11,000 clp including the tip so about $17.60.
Puerto Montt isn't much. Basically a fairly large fishing town that's kind of ugly actually. My hospedaje, that's called Vista de la Mar (view of the sea) does have a nice view but, while I could have stayed several nights at my previously two places, Puerto Montt doesn't do much for me so I'm glad I'm leaving in the morning. Plus the wifi here sucks and I wasn't able to upload my trip journal so hopefully I can do that at my next stop - Hornopiren. It was extremely cold at night. Luckily I had about 5 blankets on my bed but I could never get completely warm. (As I write this I think I may be getting a cold. :( ). I got up and had breakfast and compared notes with an Aussie named Jesse who is also going down the Carretera Austral - but on his bike. Yikes! I got on my way and stopped at the market to get some fruit, peanut butter, bread, granola bars, and wine. The ferry goes from Caleta La Arena to Caleta Puelche and then you can take either the paved route 7 to Hornopiren or the coastal road which is mostly not paved. La arena is about 45 km from Puerto Montt. It's Sunday so there weren't many people or cars on the ferry. A woman came to me and asked if I could give her a ride once we got there. I asked where she was going. She was going all the way to Aulen so I opted for the coastal route and told her I'd take her. The ferry ride took less than an hour. Jacquelina was very quiet but she showed me around her town and I dropped her off at her house and proceeded down a horrible gravel road. It was scary as shit when the huge local bus came barreling down the tiny road towards me and I'd get as far over as I could, stop and start crying and then open my eyes to see the bus driver laughing. Waaahhhhh.