Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Valdivia, Chile: River, Ocean & Seafood

I arrived in Valdivia with a 2 night booking in a hostel that soon became 5. The US lady that owned the hostel joked about me knowing her daughter who just got back from studying in Brisbane. After we met the joke got freaky... we lived in the same suburb on the same street. Small world!

Valdivia is a city that most people have never heard of. Although, it holds a very infamous record. In 1960 it set the record for the largest earthquake ever recorded on earth with a magnitude of 9.5, this record still stands today. It sent tsunamis to New Zealand, China, Japan and most of the Pacific.

Valdivia is the capital of the region and a university city containing many bars. It is very famous for its seafood and has a seafood market in operation everyday. The river running through the city is also full of seals.

Sleeping Beauty


1000 Pesos is 2 Australian dollars

Chile is the South American king of seafood. Tuna at 5 dollars a kilo.

On my second night I met up with a local couchsurfer, David, at a bar for drinks. David spoke no English at all so it was challenging but good. The rest of the night involved meeting more Chileans, going to a sky bar in the casino with an awesome view, entering a club through the fire escape to avoid cover, getting street food on the way home, getting into a bit of a fight (my first and hopefully my last on this trip) and becoming friends 2 Chileans that broke up the fight and calmed me down at 5:30 in the morning... They both offered to host me for the night as well but my hostel was closer. Crazy!

The next morning I awoke very dusty but had an epic tour awaiting me with a couple that are friends with Carolina (a Couchsurfer I met in Pucón). My hangover quickly disappeared after meeting, Milena and Sebastián.

The 10 hour tour involved the river, seals, trying lemon apples in the massive seafood market, the university, slacklining with random students in the botanic gardens, catching a boat to an "island" across the roughest seas I've been on in my life and having an amazing seafood lunch on the island.

A one ball pendulum

Milena y Sebastián

I managed to walk the slackline on my 5th attempt

That by itself would have been an awesome day but after lunch the seas were incredibly rough and people were panicking (in Spanish so I had no idea what was going on). I eventually got told the sea is too rough for boats. After visiting the police station and the naval office it is established that there will be no more boats. Then it turns out this island isn't really an island and the 30 min boat ride can be done as a 2 hour bus ride. After running through torrential rain to the bus station we get on a bus that travels on a single lane dirt road through the mountainous countryside... and breaks down twice! After another bus and 4 hours later I arrive at my hostel.

It was fun not understanding the panic with these signs around

Sebastián the mechanic

One of the nights also included earth hour which we participated in turning off the power (including WiFi), lighting candles and making a big bucket of hot wine, fruit and pisco... I was the only Aussie so I made sure everyone knew earth hour started in Australia.

Next Stop Puerto Varas!

Lessons Learnt:
Some hostels do provide awesome unique breakfasts (bowls of muesli, yogurt and fruit).
Briefly meeting someone in one town can lead to an awesome tour by other people in a different town.
Earth Hour can be fun, it just requires alcohol, conversation and a group of awesome people.
I can still make stupid decisions when drunk (and sober).

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