Beth's Grossly Negligent Gap Year travel blog


My route more or less from Puerto Montt

Getting off the ferry



On the second ferry

Inside the second ferry


Destruction from the 2008 volcano




My place for the night - a room in the house to...

On the ferry on my way ultimately to Chaiten, I took out my guide book and started reading again about the town and getting there. I was reminded this is the town where I need to be mindful that when the road widens, I need to keep to the east (I'll use the compass on my phone to confirm that's the right side?!) because the road is also used as a landing strip. Huh?? If a plane lands while I'm driving down the road I'm going to have permanent white knuckles.

I drove off the first ferry and originally was thinking I'd stop and get some lunch at a little cafe before getting on the second ferry. This fantasy was quickly dispelled a few minutes off the ferry. There was nothing but what appeared to be a hand cut pathway big enough for a truck that cut through what appears to be the setting for Jurassic park. Seriously, was it filmed here????. The road was full of potholes and there was no sign of life. At all. I started laughing at my naivety. The road led directly to the other ferry. Lol. I drove on and made a peanut butter sandwich from my trunk. I went up stairs and saw the Canadian guy from the tourist info office in Hornopiren. We started talking and said he has traveled in his own car for a year from Quebec down through Mexico Peru Bolivia and brazil and now is going all the way down to Punta Arena. He said he's driven 55,000 miles. I thought I was crazy! The drive into Chaiten was uneventful. The approach was as expected for a town that was completely destroyed by a volcano in 2008. Only tree sticks and some low vegetation. But the city rose up again from the ashes (literally) and now is home to about 3,000 people. I got gas and stopped at the only restaurant that looked open. A pizza place and the guy there was really nice. Once again though cold as hell. Their primary, and at times only, source of heat is the wood burning stove. He lit it and it warmed up some. I set out to find my house which I understood to be on the road some 12 km South of chaiten. This is one of the few places I have booked through Airbnb. I didn't see it. My Garmin said I passed it (this is out in the countryside so no address - only coordinates) so a ways up the road was a tienda so I stopped and showed the picture of the house to the lady and told her the hosts name and she knew her and gave me directions. It was just about 500 meters back so I found it right away.

Myriam and her 3 year old granddaughter Celeste met me at the door and they were nice and welcoming. From the outside the house doesn't appear like much but the inside was very cozy and nice with a big kitchen that included of course a big wood burning stove in the middle two dining areas and a lounge area with TV. The wood burning stove serves several purposes. The obvious - oven and stove - as well as the primary source of heat and dryer for clothes which hand above on a clothes line for days like these when it's cold outside. Since Celeste and I speak Spanish about the same we had a nice time looking at my pictures on my phone. When I told her where I was from she thunked her head like omg! Lol. She was very cute. Myriam made me breakfast in the morning and we talked about all sorts of stuff. She also told exactly about the road to FutaleufĂș and she had it exactly correct. I asked her about insurance on the house and she said they couldn't get insurance in the countryside because it's too far away from the fire station in Chaiten. This couple with the risk of destruction from volcanoes. Side note that in Chile the fire stations and firemen are all volunteers. They aren't publicly funded. So, for example, in Santiago, the fire station raises money by serving lunch every day. Also volunteer fire fighters collect donations at toll booths and other places. On to Futaleufu.

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