Monday, December 01, 2003

I have had to change my plans. On my first day out to Carahue I did both my left knee and my back in and so had to get the bus back to Temuco. I was rather dissappointed to say the least. But I went back to Juanita´s and with her help have hired a car. My back is OK now but my knee is still a bit sore. I think I just have too much stuff. If I could leave all the camping gear somewhere then I think that I might be OK. But then I´d have nowhere to sleep!!

Despits all this I´m having a nice time. I went back to the coast on Saturday with my little Hyundi Atoz and rallied around the rather awful roads!! I saw quite a few birds including a flock of purplish ibis and lots of multi-coloured ibis. And of course the speciality of the area – the black necked swan. Yesterday I went up tpo Parque National Conguillio (one of the last place I wanted to go to on the original route – off to the east in the mountains). The day was blisteringly hot and despite my suncream I have a very red nose today! I pottered round a couple of the lakes and saw some red gartered coots and chiloe widgeon. There were even orchids growing in the lava fields. I stopped for lunch in the cafe down by Lago Conguillio and met an american lad having a weekend off from building a church just down the road. It was good to have a chat and he recommended I take a boat across the lake to see the waterfall. So I did just that- I had two rowers: Alvaro and Sebastien. The waterfall was magnificanet with lots of gunnera growing in the spray. In Praise of Plants here we come!!

Today I have driven down to Pucon – which I am prepared to dislike as it is very touristy and the hostel I have checked into seems to be full of back packers but it was recommended by so many people in Temuco that I thought I´d give it a go. I plan to take Toulouse with just the back panniers up to Carburga and to the volcanic tubes (blue clay!!) on Villarrica. There is quite a lot of low cloud so I haven´t seen the volcano yet but may be it will lift later this afternoon.