When we arrived we found not so much a farm, as a living family project. A thriving kitchen garden, various construction projects, a lot of land and some chickens (because Everyone has chickens). Steve and Loreto have built a beautiful home overlooking the ocean, and we were lucky enough to snag the first cabin before other volunteers arrived.
Here in return for our three or so hours of work, six days a week we received what can only be described as an incredibly generous breakfast and a place to call home with a path to the beach.
Our first night set the tone for the rest of the stay; we pulled the table out on to the grass to share dinner cooked for us by the outgoing volunteers, enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the water, and then were invited in to Steve’s home to enjoy a bottle of wine by the fire. To be honest, I’m not sure my three hours of leisurely painting earned this (although egg’s slightly less leisurely hacking out of the troublesome gorse roots definitely did!).
This is a cat, finding the most comfortable seat. Cats are great.
So, that was what we did, a bit of painting, a bit of firewood moving, a bit of weeding. Steve showed us his plans to generate his own power hopefully by harnessing the water that runs through his property, as well as providing their own water supply. We helped paint the foundations for a sauna, which will be incredibly pretty and just missed blueberries becoming ripe. The raspberries and fresh peas were delicious, and the latter reminded me of eating the peas fresh from the pod at my grandma’s when I was a little bit smaller.
As I said, the beach is only a hop, step and a jump away from the cabana, so after our back breaking labour this is where we often decamped to. It is again a pebble beach, which at least for now I prefer (no pesky sand to stick to your face) but with an amazing selling point….. DOLPHINS! We had no idea and seeing something in the ocean thought it was a man swimming. But no, DOLPHINS. Well, our first clue was the fins, shortly followed by the recognition that there were several all playing together, maybe 20 feet from the shore. Incredible. Egg saw them once more, but for me that first beach visit was my only sighting. He managed to count them the second time, six dolphins having a swim. We were to excited for photo taking, and caught by surprise, so instead here is a photo of Odine, the adorable puppy who joined us on our walk to the beach a couple of times.
I continued my two main non-travel pursuits here, baking and running. Putting it like that’s they seem like unlikely bedfellows, but I see them as complimentary. Actually I went a bit overboard with both. As I made my own gluten free flour for the first time, I had a larger quantity than usual and didn’t want to take it with me, so I made brownies, chocolate sponge, lemon and raspberry polenta cake, cheese biscuits, traditional Argentinian bread, pizza and banana bread. We were only there for ten days! Luckily we had help eating all this from the other volunteers and Steve and Loreto.
Similarly, after a very slow reintroductory run with egg (around 14 min per mile), I decided I wanted to see if I could comfortably run faster so tried for 11 min/miles. Being a bit fitter than I thought, I accidentally went a bit to fast but was pleased with my first 9 min/mile. Regulating myself a bit more, egg and I then managed a comfortable 4 miles in 44 minutes, which I was very pleased with. Having gone from exhaustion after 3 minutes, to maintaining a conversation at that pace we are very happy (and yes we are aware that all things considered we are INCREDIBLY slow, but we were incredibly unfit to begin with, so baby steps).
Definite highlight of the trip was the asado we did one day all together. Great weather, great food, great drinks, great people. Put my pisco sour skills from the lodge into practice and everyone seemed happy (and tipsy).
Being far from Puerto Montt, we had to hitchhike to get to even the bus stop, which we achieved comfortably and this spurred us on to hitching to Chiloe, our next stop. Egg put his design skills to work and made us an impressive sign and it must have worked because we waited not even 5 minutes for our first lift! This got us closer to the very crossing to Chiloe, and our second lift took us all the way to the town we needed and again was a maybe 3 minute wait. Both great people and a very nice experience. We may try again later.
And we met a llama!