Sunday, March 12, 2017

Day 20: From Puerto Varas to Pucon and the Hacienda Vira Vira

Day 20:  Puerto Varas to Pucon

Weather:  mid 50s to low 60s, raining hard again this morning, then hard again in the afternoon, finally stopped in early evening

Quote of the Day:  Would you like croissants or the fresh-baked bread to take back to the room?

Department of Followers:

SP, follower and exact b'day match to THB, recognized the Puna Teal ducks from the geyser day in the Andes; THB had no clue!

Here's how great they look when walking along and sun is not in your face

Breakfast was a bit eclectic. Of course, since we’re the only ones staying here, the fact that three tables are set for two people each seems that they have a certain minimum they maintain. Lemon meringue pie is the highlight (THB eats his, DB orders scrambled eggs), along with ham, cheese, a small fruit plate that includes tuna from cactus, rolls, jam, fresh squeezed OJ, brewed café con leche (not as good as the espresso style of yesterday).

This was our only stop, para los banos, on the drive, maybe 7 minutos. THB passed up the special...

Another drive, another car accident (just outside Pucon on the lakeview road)...THB almost didn't get this shot

Our driver is 15 minutes early for the 9am pickup. The drive takes a full 4 hours, mostly on a real highway complete with numerous toll booths, to the Hacienda Vira Vira Relais et Chateau on the far side of the resort town of Pucon.
In Pucon

The short text version: we have a three course lunch, meet the owner of the hacienda, talk to one of the guides who explains the excursions for tomorrow (we opt for an easy trek near one of the volcanos in the morning and a sedate rafting trip in the afternoon), lounge around while the rain splatters down in huge quantities interspersed with “quiet” time (a bit of sun and light drizzle), take a walk when it finally clears up a bit, have non-traditional pisco sours (Earl Grey tea, honey) with olives, nuts and the cheeses made on site, eat an excellent four course meal (perfect salmon), bring back bread for tomorrow's in-room nespresso, and take an onsen-style hot tub on our deck.

Book Review: The Other Side of the World, Stephanie Bishop (novel): A woman abandons her family after moving from England to Australia with ex-pat bi-racial Indian husband and two young daughters.  Wherever you go, there you are, early 60s version? Post-partum blues? Separation anxiety? Too much sun deprivation depression? Beautifully written in large part, don’t look too deep for explanations. Recommended

Note: THB and DB sleep straight through for 7.5 hours...some sort of record!

The longer version in pics:



The "back" of the hotel except the orientation is such that the only time you are in  the front of the hotel is when you're dropped off

Dining room: there are only a few other guests at lunch (others are either on excursions or there aren't many guests...probably a combo)

The two fire places in the dining/lounge areas are encased in steel like THB and DB's TV cabinet case by Eric Powell

Communal hot tub between two long rows of guest suites

Our junior suite:

THB's favorite: the "hidden" long-ledge desk

Note the outdoor onsen which DB fired up for an extra hot pre-sleep bathing experience

A view of the river from outside our room

Champagne and dark chocolate truffle greeting

Just before the reception desk


There's zucchini soup under what THB thinks is celery foam

Mushroom, tomatoes and flowers on top of risotto (THB leaves half of the very rich risotto)

rhum soaked balls with sorbet and whipped cream (THB does not leave half of this dessert behind)

Excursion board (Note: it is going be pleasant tomorrow and hot on Monday)

Something no decent hacienda can do without? THB and DB will be passing on the fly-bys

Meadow full of small blossoms

Local cheese providers

Some berries not ripe, some past ripe, none that look just ripe

Art pic: light streaming through trees at top of ridge

Jennifer Bartlett Naoshima moment
Pre-dinner drinks and snacks:
Non-traditional pisco sour served in non-traditional cup


Quinoa salad in lemon dressing with edible weeds

Braised celery and edible weeds

Perfectly cooked wild salmon with edible weeds

Perfect creme brulee with weeds

Cafe con leche

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