We left Pichilemu around noon to drive the c 1,000km to Chiloe island on the infamous Route 5. The drive is predictably long so we aimed to cover the distance over two long days taking 2hr shifts behind the wheel.
We passed a series of cities which we opted not to explore (such as Temuco and Osorno), “eyes on the prize” and all that, but still Chile managed to surprise us when we took short pit-stops to refuel, stretch our legs and camp overnight. The landscape is at first reminiscent of British Columbia, thick forests, waterfalls and steep mountains around. Around Osorno the landscape changes again. Rolling green hills, sparse trees at a distance and cattle farms. Julie Andrews would not be out of place if she appeared singing “the hills are alive”.
In one of our refuelling stops we came across was the city of Frutillar, on the shores of Lago Llanguihue. The town splits in two parts. The more industrial part is further up the hill, whilst the quintessentially German part is by the lake overlooking two inactive volcanos on the other side of the lake. There is a museum documenting the settlement of German immigrants in the area and the place is filled with Tyrol style houses, B&Bs and waffle shops. Having driven by Chilean shantytowns for the better part of two days finding ourselves in this little piece of the Alps was a shock to the system.
A quick coffee and a waffle and we leave Frutillar for the last 2 hours of the journey to Chiloe. Another refuelling stop at Puerto Montt, a supermarket sweep (we have finally bought a cooker) and we are off again to the shore for the short ferry ride across the straight to Chiloe.