It is 13:56, 15th of August 2019, full of impressions after walking like crazy in Copenhagen from 8 in the morning, I enter very happy at the train station where I should take a train to Stockholm. Should. That’s a key word. On the screen I see the thing that had not even occurred to me as a possibility: the train is canceled. At first I thought “oooh, what do I do now?”(yeah, maybe my thoughts were not so polite, but a bit of self-censorship is just fine-in cases like that), But after 5 seconds I remembered that I was hungry and that the cancellation is really great, because at least I can eat in peace. Always look on the bright side of life. So, no hurry, I bought something to eat and slowly went to ask someone who worked there. The person told me that they had definitely canceled the Copenhagen-Stockholm trains, and that I should go with the next train to Malmö (Sweden) and from there take another train to the Swedish capital. So easy and simple, I thought, and slowly, I headed for the right platform. And there, ladies and gentlemen, my odyssey through southern Sweden begins. I arrived to Stockholm at midnight. It was a very long, but incredibly fun trip by train and bus. Instead of a short, direct and efficient train, I won an adventure that made my trip much more dynamic than expected.
General information: Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, located in the south of the country. There are about two million people living there and it’s a beautiful town. I have to say it at the beginning because I loved it. It ‘ a city in several islands, but also a part of it is in the continent. There are several bridges that connect the islands with the rest of the city.
General information: Both Frutillar and Puerto Varas are located in the Lakes Region, in the south of the country. Both towns are small, Frutillar has a little less than 20,000 inhabitants and Puerto Varas around 40,000 inhabitants, or almost double of Frutillar.
General information: It’s the largest island in the whole country, with about 170,000 inhabitants, called “chilotes”. The island is located in Los Lagos Region (literally The Lake Region). Basically, it’s an archipelago, but most of the population lives on the Big Island of Chiloé, that I visited. There is also situated the capital of Chiloé, Castro.
How to get there?
For now, you can only go by plane or ferry, but very soon the construction of the bridge will end so the island will have easier access, although as I will explain later it’s very nice to go by boat. I think it would be very practical to rent a car on the big island and then go visit the other islands. That’s what I missed and that’s why I’ll definitely come back, because they say that the smaller islands have beautiful landscapes and few people visit them, so it will be a paradise for those seeking tranquility and unspoiled nature.
General information: It has 150,000 inhabitants, it’s one of the largest cities in southern Chile and the capital of Los Lagos Region. It was one of the first cities founded in Chile, in the sixteenth century, by the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, which in the end also gave the name to the city. It’s quite easy to locate in the city because it’s not big. The city, like the whole region, has a strong German influence, because of the immigrants who start arriving in the 19th century. You can see it in the architecture, but also in the fact that Valdivia is the beer capital of Chile, with many famous types of beers. (both craft and industrial)
1) botanical garden: I think it’s the biggest and the most beautiful botanical garden I’ve ever seen. Actually, it looks like a giant and indomitable forest, which sometimes allows people the luxury of exploring it. From the city center you have to cross a bridge to go there, it’s a kind of island, called Isla Teja, which the river separates from the rest of the city on both sides. It’s really beautiful and quiet, I felt the need to explore it alone, so I escaped to my companion and I went alone, it was a unique experience.
2) street art: There was not so much graffiti in the streets, but I loved those that were there because they were so different from their surroundings that it all made a beautiful contrast. I loved that several of them had as a topic something about the culture of indigenous peoples.
3) Architecture: The center of Valdivia reminded me of Europe. There I see a mixture of Spain and Central Europe and then suddenly there are things that don’t fit and that’s why you realize that you are in South America. Perfection is boring and believe me this is much better than perfection in the Western sense. There is a bit of everything and a touch of originality.
4) the rivers: the Valdivia River and the Calle-Calle river converge in the city and because of that the city has beautiful path next to the rivers. You can simply sit on the bench and enjoy the day (I had a day without rain)
5) the market: You have to go to the Valdivia market, not only to buy fresh food, or homemade jams, or crafts at the fair next to the market. No, the peculiarity and attraction of the Valdivia market are the animals that come there, either to rest or for the vendors to give them food. And they seem to be used to attention of the people, they don’t get upset when someone approaches them and takes a picture of them.(or a selfie) There is everything: birds that I don’t even know what species they are, but the main attraction are the sea lions, flopping in the sun. I saw something similar in Coquimbo, in the north of Chile, but there they are not as included in the “life of the city” as in Valdivia, where they are practically living with the people. I think it’s great, and from those experiences I can see why Chileans are so friendly with animals. In Europe we don’t have that, this kind of animals we can see just in the zoo and that is something very exotic. And here they are in the street, so used to human presence. Sincerely, a friend told me a long time ago that in Chile it’s like that, but I didn’t trust him, I thought that he was just trying to show off or something like that and I didn’t listen to him. The same reaction I receive from my European friends when I send them photos: “What? So close? But didn’t you find it dangerous?” First, I have to confess that by seeing these giant animals I wasn’t indifferent, but like everyone else behaved as if this was the most normal situation in the world, then I relaxed too. I recommend the same. Relax and let yourself be carried away by the magic of a different world but no less beautiful than ours.
Valdivia is a really beautiful city and I think it would be really nice to live there, despite the constant rain. It’s so beautiful that I think I could take it all and that I would still consider a reward to live in such a beautiful city. One day in Croatia I met a Chilean from Valdivia, and at that time still not knowing how beautiful the south was, I asked her why she had left her country and why she considers Croatia a better choice. She began to list so many things and in a very aggressive and energetic way that I thought that she came from hell. When I first met Chile, I realized that her reasons were actually simply different perspectives and expectations. Something that bothers one person, another loves it and vice versa. But already arriving to the south seriously I couldn’t understand her. If I had the privilege of being born in the south of Chile, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. It’s a very special part of the world, and Valdivia is the city that, in my opinion, marks the beginning of the deep south. This is where the landscape becomes truly magical and you don’t know if you are dreaming or what is happening. At one point I just felt like I was in another world and I didn’t expect it. I just wanted to go on a day trip and that was it. Never in my life did I think I was going to see landscapes like that. It reminded me of the US national parks I had seen in the movies. (yes, that kind of unknown it was for me) But the road to Valdivia (I went by car from Temuco) was better than any movie. Also, I had never imagined such landscapes in South America. It will be due to prejudice or ignorance, but I just didn’t imagine anything similar. I spent incredible moments there. My admiration was total when every 20 km I saw houses where cheese and homemade jams were sold. On the side of the road, to fill the sensation of being in a pastoral novel, there were sheep and cows eating the grass calmly. I know that obviously living there is not so idyllic always, that there are problems and that the Chilean state and the system aren’t perfect, but nothing is perfect in this life, no system and country. However, there are few places with nature as wonderful as in the south of Chile. Therefore, I still think that living there is a privilege, despite everything.
A few weeks ago, I had a flight from Santiago de Chile to Venice, with connection in Barcelona. You could say, of course, just a flight, a little heavy maybe, but it´s fine. No, it was not a trip, I had spent a whole year in Chile, I returned to Europe at the end of January and at the end of March I left again with the intention of staying at least six months, and who knows, maybe more than that? But, things just didn´t happen and instead, in Europe they had offered me an excellent internship and I decided to accept. Why not? But, you may ask, what does all this have to do with my flight? It turns out that in this year I got many friends and really a significant amount of people who love me. Apparently, Chileans like me, and other nations living there also, especially Venezuelans. Everyone, absolutely everyone tried to convince me to stay. “You just arrived, don’t leave yet, everything will be fine”, “I help you find a job, but please don’t leave”, “hey, we’re going to miss you, you really have to go? “,” But Anto, it´s not possible, you’re leaving? “,”And if you just come late on the flight, what would happen? You would stay? “,” Are you leaving? But, I didn’t know you had arrived here again, nooo, you cannot leave, “” you are breaking my heart with leaving, do you know? “,” And with who will I party now? “,” But we barely met, you cannot leave now, it’s not fair, “” don’t be boring, what will you do in Brussels? “… I could list this way to infinity. The conclusion is that there are so many people there who want me to stay and I have to admit that they have made me doubt my decision to leave, but I remained firm, I have my own reasons and it’s the best thing for me, I thought, and in those last weeks in Chile there were many goodbye parties and other kind of goodbyes, all very happy and cheerful, but always people telling me ” don’t go. “And a friend at one point mentioned karma, that is, in the sense of, you will have a hard time when you leave because we all love you so much and you still leave. I was waiting for my friends to come and pick me up to go to the airport, they arrived a little late and I was a bit nervous, I had a bad feeling (I know sometimes I am like María José Juanita de la Fuentes from a Mexican soap opera, but that’s the way things are) Luckily we got to the airport, I didn’t have any problems with the PDI (police, I have traumas) and there I calmed down and boarded my flight.
What I didn’t like at first was the fact of buying a flight from Iberia that turned out to be operated by Level, because they are very bad. The plane seemed old, the seats not so comfortable and everything was paid, not a glass of water for free. And we are talking about a 12-hour flight. But hey, that’s life. I thought that very soon I would be at my house, because my parents were going to pick me up directly at the Venice airport, and I was happy. I got ready to sleep and just when I was already sleeping, there is a pilot announcement: “We are going to have emergency landing in Brasilia, a passenger is nor feeling well.” All the people were kind of confused, because it was like one hour after starting our flight. And besides, there was no doctor or person in charge, what was going on? Anyway, I loved seeing Brasilia at night, it was my closest encounter with Brazil, and I was hoping that they would let us get off the plane.
But no. First it was assumed that everything was going to be fixed very quickly and that in an hour we would continue the flight. The passenger who was ill went out with the doctors outside the plane and apparently, she didn´t feeling so bad. Actually, what was said later was that the cabin crew was afraid to continue the journey and start crossing the Atlantic with the risk of the person’s condition getting worse. I wasn’t so surprised by this outcome since the staff was quite young and inexperienced, reacting too aggressively to the questions of the passengers. In the end we stayed three hours inside the plane at that airport for some reasons. So, we all knew that we would be late for our connecting flights in Barcelona and we were unable to communicate with anyone because the Wi-Fi was not working and normally it’s supposed to work. Interesting. And after spending just one hour on the plane there my subconscious began to reflect on the karma, but I kept quiet and told myself “go to sleep”, who knows how long we will stay here. But, the passengers behind me had another plan. There was an old Chilean woman who was talking to two Belgian girls all the time (those two girls, by the way, destroyed Spanish language, it was painful for my ears) and they started to be hysterical: “why are we here, why don’t we move, this is wrong, I didn’t pay for that, my parents didn’t see me for 10 months, they will wait for me and I will not be there, I cannot tell them, but what is this, I went on vacation, and they don’t tell us anything, how spoiled, this is not the way “……. I mean, there were hundreds of passengers on that plane, many people had connection flights or just wanted to get to their destination on time. No one was happy to get stuck on the plane in Brasilia, no one. But, the others either fell silent, tried to sleep, listen to music, make funny comments, or whatever, but they didn’t shout and bother others. Except those three fucking idiots. Excuse the expression, the old woman I can understand, she is old and complains, is typical, but those two Belgians were so hideous and unpleasant, they say they traveled 10 months through South America, 10 fucking months apart from their family and friends enjoying there and they didn´t care, and NOW they are bothering all the people practically crying for their parents. What’s going on with those people? It’s like I feel bad and because of that everyone will feel bad. And I couldn´t sleep because of them. At one point I thought to say something, but actually it would only be to lift the tensions and that wouldn’t make sense. On the other hand, my idol was the guy sitting next to me. He had a gin and tonic, he fell asleep and he didn´t give a fuck about anything. I wish I could have done the same. Sometimes I think it was the bad Spanish of the Belgians that has not let me sleep. I studied Spanish linguistics, 5 years studying Spanish at university, and there are simply things that one cannot tolerate. I spent two months more than them in South America and I assure you that a random Chilean guy in the street in Santiago could not assure me that I am not Chilean. And those could not say two words without destroy it with their French accent. And the last straw, the old woman says “you speak Spanish so well, how did you learn it”. It´s not even worth a comment. Damn karma and damn my friend who will surely laugh when he finds out what happened to me, I thought, and finally after starting the flight again, I fell asleep. Unfortunately, my flight was interrupted by constant turbulence, they were very strong, at one point I thought that I had made a serious mistake, the karma was reaching me and I will end up at the bottom of the ocean and my remains will be shared by the sharks. But, I thought that at least I had a very intense life for a 25 years old person. And well, all mortified, 100000 hours later we arrived in Barcelona. I was exhausted, but happy to be alive. I have not slept well for 2 nights, I am dying, but I need to run to see if they can board me on a flight that day. Mission impossible. In fact, even my luggage doesn’t appear. I’m running like crazy all over the airport, cursing Iberia, Level and all the airlines in this world, like my poverty that didn´t let me go with Alitalia. I arrive at one and another and another ticket office, they send me here and there and at the end they tell me that that day it´s no longer possible to board any flight, but they would give me dinner, hotel and transfer to hotel and airport. Excellent, at least I’m not going to sleep at the airport. I tell my parents that I arrive the next day and that they can go home. I went to eat, and I finally pick up my suitcase, join the group of my flight and go to the hotel. Yes, the fucking Belgians were there. Hopefully they miss all flights that want to go in the future. It would be good. So, they do not pollute the air of other passengers with their hysterical tantrum. Whatever, at least they gave me a hotel and I wasn´t hungry anymore and this is enough to put a smile on my face. I am a simple person.
That night I didn’t sleep either because I was already very afraid of being late for the flight to Zagreb. (Iberia showed their kindness and they sent me directly to Croatia). So, I had not been sleeping decently for three days. First I was happy because in the morning I had a free coffee, and that is great. There is nothing better for a croatian person than a coffee.
But I couldn´t avoid my thoughts that it was all the fault of karma and those beautiful people who sincerely told me “don’t go” and I left. Apparently, that this “don’t go” of pure words and good intentions became force majeure that ended my dreams of having a quiet trip and go to my house to eat mortadella. No, in the end, after passing through 4 airports in two days I ended up in Zagreb, in another part of the country, where my Master thesis defense was waiting for me (at least I approved that, apparently in Croatia that karma thing doesn’t work) and 100000 people that wanted to welcome me. Here we go again. After a goodbye comes a welcome. Yesterday I ran away from them and I came to my house, in the countryside, where with all the tranquility of the world I can prepare myself for my new challenge, life in Brussels, and hope that karma cannot cross the ocean.
General information: The region is located in the south of the country (although southern Chile is a relative concept) and it has approximately one million inhabitants. The capital is Temuco and the currency is the Chilean peso as in the rest of the country. In terms of language, the official language is Spanish, but Mapudungun, one of the chilean indigenous languages is also used. I visited the region several times, so I went to different places: I visited Temuco, Capitán Pastene, Lumaco, Lautaro, Villarica and Pucón. In the previous article I spoke about the commune of Lumaco, to which Capitán Pastene also belongs, and of Lautaro. In this article I am going to focus on Villarica and Pucón, the tourist centers of the region. The only place I will not talk about is Temuco, because, although I had my accommodation there almost always when I went to the region, I never got to know the city, only surroundings. Sometimes it´s just like this. I always was telling my friends that I was going to Temuco and then I returned without knowing that city, but knowing everything else around. Typical for me.
General information: This region is located in the south of the country (although southern Chile is a relative concept) it has approximately one million inhabitants. The capital is Temuco and the currency is the Chilean peso as in the rest of the country. In terms of language, the official language is Spanish, but Mapudungun, one of the Chilean indigenous languages is also in use. I visited the region several times, so I went to different places: I visited Temuco, Capitán Pastene, Lumaco, Lautaro, Villarica and Pucón. In this article I will talk about the Lumaco department, to which Capitán Pastene also belongs, and of Lautaro.
How to go there?
The ideal is to go by car, because the connection between towns is not so good and you lose a lot of time if you go by public transport.
General information: About 20 minutes by train from Berlin, there is Potsdam, a German city not so well known, but beautiful. It has about 200,000 inhabitants and is a very quiet, orderly and safe city.
Where to eat?
Well, the city is full of places to eat or just have a drink. Cafes, restaurants, bars, there is everything in Potsdam, you can choose.
How to move around the city?
There are trams and buses that will take you everywhere, I went practically to the last station, to also know the surroundings. So, public transport is really good, you can visit every corner of the city. And, if you want, you can also make a tour by bike, it’s a small town.
General information: Vienna is the capital of Austria, with 2 million inhabitants. (2.5 with surroundings) It’s a multicultural city, where hundreds of thousands of people from other countries come to work. The official currency is the euro, which is used in a big part of the European Union. The city is definitely prepared to receive tourists, so you will feel very comfortable. The official language is German, but most of the people speak English.
Where to eat?
You definitely have to eat the Vienna steak and a Sacher cake for dessert. It’s the most famous of the Austrian gastronomy and yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it. I ate Sacher cake in the café Aida and it was great, with a wonderful view also. And the rest of the food is also expensive, it doesn’t even depend so much on whether you are in the center or not, it’s still expensive. The most recommendable, if you don’t have money, is to buy salads and things like that in the supermarket.