Never in my life have I been so preoccupied by the various rattles, clicks and pings that a car makes while in transit, but having dumped a significant chunk of our operating capital into our Hyundai Galloper, we’re on pistons and needles every inch of the journey. She doesn’t fail us and it seems will be worth every peso. The landscape slowly transforms from a warm, dry Mediterranean climate akin to Napa Valley, into sweeping lush hills. We joke, but not without a hint of believing that we’re headed into the Promised Land.
The northern Patagonia’s beauty warrants our feeling, but only hours after arriving we feel the weight of our next task; finding a furnished home to rent without long-term contract in a high demand location just weeks before the onset of Chilean summer when Puerto Varas will be inundated with vacationing Chileans and a healthy smattering of foreigners. We’ve been made bold by the previous weeks and set to our task immediately.
A stroke of luck lands us in a Chilean boarding house run by a most friendly Senora Alisa and housing some Chileans who after light conversation jump to our aid in the quest for a house. We meander through a not-too-light rain looking for small avisos in the windows but they are few. I call through the numbers in the newspaper classifieds and on the notice board at grocery store with little luck. Our new friend Julio recalls a conversation with a lady at church who mentioned it was lamentable he didn’t have a car because she has a little cabin on her farm for rent. He has gathered from accompanying us to the many houses we weren’t fond of, and from her description, that it may just be a perfect fit. He gives her a call.
It’s still available and we drive the ten kilometers from town, turning onto a long drive to an old Chilean-German farm. The cabin is small and rustic, but homey with antique furnishings and wood-burning stove. There are goats to keep us company, dogs, cats and even a not-so-wild boar on the property. The deal is sealed as Senora Berta throws in fresh eggs, milk, free pickings from the vegetable garden, and use of Dora the horse with rent. Baaaa says the sheep. Home sweet home.