We flew from Santiago to the town of Temuco, a city known for having the largest percentage of Mapuche (local Indian) inhabitants in Chile, as well as a large number of German descendants who immigrated to the country between the two World Wars. We stopped for a quick lunch of beer, sausage and artisan cheese, before driving the sixty-six miles to Pucón.
|Hubby in Pucón with Villarrica volcano in the background|
As these were pre-Google days, I did much of my research on South America through travel books such as the Lonely Planet and Fodor’s series. I read about a great spot in Pucón called the Hotel Antumalal. Antumalal, whose name means “Corral of the Sun” in the native Mapuche language, opened in 1950 on the side of a hill overlooking Villarrica Lake. The Bauhaus design, conceived by hotel architect Jorge Elton, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, is retro-chic in design and décor, with wraparound glass windows, goatskin rugs, tree trunk furniture and walls made with thick slabs of monkey puzzle wood. The hotel has been host to many famous names, including Queen Elizabeth, Jimmy Stewart, Neil Armstrong and, interesting for the AZ crowd, Barry Goldwater, whose portrait hangs alongside the other luminaries in the lobby. Memories of our stay include the stunning views of Lake Villarrica, cozy fireplaces in each room with breakfast in bed, hours spent exploring the 12 acres of gardens, and (not to be missed) the nightly cocktails of Pisco Sours.
|View from our room at the Antumalal|
On the fourth of July, we had high hopes of summiting the volcano, but because of deep snow, we opted instead for a sunny day of skiing. The views of the surrounding valleys and volcanoes were breathtaking from the slopes. I must have been in Lala Land, because after lunch, on a groomed slope (!!) I took a nasty spill and dislocated my shoulder. An ice-pick, crampon-wielding climb up the volcano was therefore out of the question for me, and I had to “settle” for snuggling up next to the fire back at Antumalal with copious amounts of Pisco Sours to ease my pain. Hubby, on the other hand, woke up at the crack of dawn to tackle the ascent to the rim of the volcano at 9,317 feet with his guide, Claudio. Starting at the top of the chairlift, the ascent took them 4-5 hours. And the way down? Forty-five minutes, using their slickers as sleds and ice picks as brakes. Yippee!!!
|Ski terrain at Ski Pucón found on Powderquest.com|
|Moi just prior to my spill|
|Villarrica Lake from the ski slopes|
|View of another volcano as seen from Hubby’s ascent|
|Hubby at the rim|
Que tengan un buen fin de semana!
Km 2 Camino Pucón
Región de la Araucaniá, Chile
All photos by Marci Symington and Hubby for texaztaste.com, unless otherwise noted.