QuickPeek: Rolling hills. Sunny. Incredible Hospitality.
I could have stayed on, honestly. But time and tide don’t wait up and in our forecast, we had 3 beautiful days ahead and a rainy day to follow and we had to get the show on the road if we wanted to ride thro a national park and get out of the high hills before the rain hits. So today, we decided to get out and ride. Goodbyes are never easy, but we had to get going. Carla had been extremely generous and I was glad our paths crossed. We got on the road around 11ish with strong gusts from the east and gorgeous sunlight.
The road was pleasant, but seemingly a lot of traffic due to it being Easter. The traffic was well behaved though and given the route was hilly with numerous curves, the cars were generally slow and not driving dangerously. The route from Conaripe to Licanray was relatively flat and pretty much hugged the lake. It was pretty to see the intense blue of the water in the sunlight and once we got past Licanray, a bit of a hilly section started.
The pass up and over to Villarica was a small hill with a few bumps on it. The views were stunning and we had heard of some eco commune living in the interiors of this route. I can easily see the appeal of setting up a space here to live and grow food here. Can’t ask for much better in terms of natural beauty! We had views of Volcan Villarica all day long and lovely campo’s and beautiful houses along the route too.
The weather was perfect, lovely sunshine with good winds to keep things cool. The hills were stiff with one good climb followed by rolling hills. Along the way, I passed thro a mountain biking race and tried to keep up with the riders. I could ride their pace uphill, but on the flats and especially on my circumspect downhill riding, they just got away from me. It was a pretty day to ride and workout in the sun!
After the small hill, we got to the town of Villarica. It was an obviously tourist heavy place with posh cafes and markets and artesania shops. We stopped for a bit of lunch (though it was already 3 pm by then) and planned our options for the rest of the day. We still had a bit of daylight and the route out was a hilly bit again. I had heard that we’d have a bit of a gravel track at some point and eventually decided to head to a small village called Pedregoso. It was strange once we left Villarica as this side of the hill was just campo’s! I was hoping to see more Camping areas, but there was not much to be seen. Hopefully the village would have some options!
We eventually got to the village after navigating thro a small hill and with a good sized hill coming up, figured we should stop there. Turned out that this tiny hamlet didn’t have any serviced campsites and pretty much the entire place was fenced up private land too. Dang. I walked up to a grocery store and asked the lady for options, she pointed us to check out some potential options near the river. I rode up and it seemed a bit of a ghost town as everyone was celebrating Easter and most houses were closed. Ah well.
I returned back to the Grocery store as the lady was friendly and asked her if I could camp in her yard. One of her neighbors was happy to have us and instead of permitting us to camp, she invited us to her place and gave us a loft space to sleep in! Sweet! She later left to go for her Easter dinner letting us, perfect strangers, to take care of her home! Incredible trust and goodness of heart on display in South Chile! One more reason to love this place eh!!
I made a quick dinner and when the family returned from their dinner, had a bit of a chat to explain my travels and eventually knocked off to sleep!
Route: Conaripe to Pedregoso
Distance: 61 Km
Traffic: Moderate to heavy till Villarica (It was easter of course). Light to Pedregoso.
Expenses: SG$ 26.75
Comments: Incredible generosity yet again on display in South Chile!