|I arrived in Puyuhuapi during a very brief lull in the rain so I could take my suitcase in without getting doused. I stayed at CasaLudwig which is run by the daughter of one of the founders of this village back in the early 1900s. The founders were all German so there is a heavy German influence here. Luisa Ludwig speaks Spanish English and German. Her husband Jamie was born and raised in California. Go figure. The house is three stories and gorgeous. It has a huge salon with tables chairs and couches with a big wood stove. A beautiful view of the fjord (they call it the canal) too. My room was 25,000 clp per night with breakfast so about $40. It's a historic monument given it was the first house there. My room was colder than all hell the first night. I had to sleep in a long sleeved shirt yoga pants socks and a cap on my head. It rained all night and the wind beat on my window. I told Luisa in the morning when she asked and she moved me to a room the second night right above the salon where the heat would rise and it was great. I drove to the Ventisquero Colgante national park and did some hiking. Lucky for me the rain broke the entirety of my walk. I could see a little of the glacier but most was covered by clouds. The park was right off the Carretera Austral (CA) but because there has been major road work on the CA just before the park all vehicles have to take a ferry part of the way. The Chileans are so chatty. I chatted with the guardaparque (ranger) and the woman who sends the vehicles to the ferry. Right before you get to the ferry you have to turn around and back in so you offload forward. I think everyone chats with me because they are intrigued by the fact or feel sorry that I'm sola in my little Fred Flintstone car.
I was caked with mud after my hike so was glad I was getting clean clothes in the morning that Maria, a worker at casa Ludwig, had taken home to launder for me. When I returned there was a family from Santa Barbara - two teenage girls - so we chatted. I decided to go out to dinner since the rain had let up so I walked down to Mar de Sud. There was a woman standing in front and I asked if it was open. She didn't understand my Spanish and I detected she spoke English only so I asked in English and she said they were about to open. It was 7:30. Lol. We got to talking and she and her husband are Aussies traveling with a big group in this huge yellow bus truck thing. Karen and Martin invited me to join them which I did.
The next day I set out for coyhaique. Definitely parts of this road were the worst I've encountered yet. Of course I started laughing. But I made it. I reached Manihuales just as the sun peeked out. It was joyous. I was looking for a cafe to stop at and noticed the big yellow bus in front of one and sure enough there were Karen and Martin. So I pulled in and we laughed. I got some cafe and a delicious pollo y queso empanada. I could actually see some mountain tops and was ecstatic that I could finally see the beauty of the CA! The rest of the drive was incredible. So beautiful.