Planning our trip through Patagonia got waylaid a bit as we found many of the activities, down to the bus ride from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas, our gateway to the Parks of Patagonia, full. We ended up in Ushuaia five days longer than we had wanted to which would normally be fine, but the weather was decidedly Seattle-like and there was precious little to do without a variety of complicated transport out to Tierra del Fuego National Park. There was also a bit of let-down and recovery after our little boat ride to Antarctica.

The mountains and peat bogs of Tierra del Fuego, just outside Ushuaia. Very stark, and mostly inaccessible, landscapes here

Once out of Ushuaia and in Punto Arenas, a twelve hour arduous bus trip with the highlight being our ferry crossing over the Strait of Magellan, we finally committed to postponing Torres del Paine and Fitz Roy for another two weeks when a Wicked camper van would next be available and get a flight further north to Puerto Varas where we could take in some sunny day trips to that variety of mountains and coastal sights. Puerto Varas turned out to be just what we needed.

The Puerto Varas area was settled by Germans, and retains their architecture — note the shingles here. It was a really cute town to spend 4 days in.

A chance to dry out and take a few day road-trips in a rented car.

There are many small farms around Puerto Varas

There were a couple restaurants in town, one served up a pretty darned good pizza pie, and poured the tastiest beer we’ve had on this trip to date.

View of Volcan Osorno from Puerto Varas, which is right on the lake

On one of our day trips, we stopped near the top of a mountain and took a short walk to an overlook. On our way back we came across a little dog, a little dog that look abandoned by its owner to be devoured by one of the pumas that must surely live up here! Denise took a quick snapshot of it, while enduring my lecture about how we are not taking this little dog down the mountain. With snapshot taken, we agreed to drive up the mountainside a little bit further where I had spied what might be a ranger station. Once there, Denise found an older french speaking ranger guy and presented her picture and our concern. The ranger looked on attentively and gave us a reassuring stream of words that began with “Oui, oui,” some more words, then what sounded like my house and our dog. So good deed done, we ordered a glass of wine to share and looked out over magnificent views of the mountain and large lake below.

Volcan Osorno, home of the lost but not lost little dog

Locals gathering seaweed during low tide

I’d tell you about our next day overlooking cliffs to the Pacific Ocean, and the old Spanish fort built there to protect its empire’s stake, but there was no dog rescue, no old french speaking ranger. Pretty uneventful.