Vamos a Lican Ray!
This summer I’m lucky enough to have a total of 2 1/2 months of vacation, as school ends half way through December in Australia, and school in Chile doesn’t start until March (yay me!). As a vacation this summer, my host family decided to head down to the south of Chile to their property in Lican Ray, and I got to tag along!
Lican Ray is a little town situated along the shores of Lake Calafquen in the Lakes District of Chile. It’s about 10 hours drive south of Santiago, where I live normally. As I’m writing this currently we’re driving through rural parts of Chile, going back up to Santiago after almost 2 weeks of an amazing holiday. The view is of amazing fields of golden wheat crop and luscious green native trees and mountains all around us. I can’t properly describe how beautiful it is.
The average day in Lican Ray is very relaxed and suits my teenage sleeping schedule very much. Everyone wakes up at around 10am-12pm, and we have breakfast sometime between 12pm and 2pm. I’m going to make another blog post about the different foods and eating in Chile, so I won’t go into too much detail here.
After breakfast, everyone sort of just hangs about, sometimes playing cards, particularly a game they called karaoke (I’ll teach it to everyone when I’m back in Australia, it’s heaps of fun). If it’s a nice day, we might all go down to the lake for a swim and a sunbake. The beach is normally absolutely packed full of people, and it’s very fun to go swimming in the rather cold water. The beach at the lake is quite unique; the beach has dark black grey sand, and little pebbles once you get closer to the water. The black sand is volcanic ash/sand/matter, coming from the nearby Volcán Villarrica (Volcano Villarrica), and active volcano in the nearby town of Villarrica. My host dad drove me out to where the lava from the volcano last flowed to the last time the volcano had a major eruption 58 years ago, in 1962. There was a massive mini canyon type formation of the rocks that has a clear path from the volcano to the lake. I didn’t get any photos – sorry!
Lunch is between about 3pm-7pm, and we always eat every meal together as a family. After lunch we might head back to the beach to see the beautiful sun setting into the water, or head into ‘el centro’, the centre of town in Lican Ray.
I went out into town a lot with my host sister and her friend who came along for the holiday. There a heaps of little markets selling everything from delicious food to artisan wooden knick knacks to hair braiding stalls to bathing suits. Everything is normally about $1000-$5000 Chilean pesos, equivalent to being between $2-$10 AUD. Fortunately (or unfortunately in you’re my exchange weight or my wallet), churros were only $1000 pesos (~$1.80 AUD), and so many were consumed in the course of the holiday (sorry mum).
Dinner is between 10pm-1am, and afterwards we would stay up playing cards or just talking and watching tv, eventually getting to bed at about 1am-3am.
Because it was my first (and probably only) time I was in Lican Ray, my host family was nice enough to take me on a few outings to the nearby towns and attractions.
Together we all went to Villarrica one night, and walked along the water of Villarrica Lake, and along the central strip, looking at a few of the artisan stalls and street performers. It’s a very pretty little town, about 30 mins drive north from Lican Ray. There was a traditional indigenous Mapuche (the name of the indigenous clan on which land we were visiting on) housing dwelling in Villarrica that I was privileged enough to visit and see inside of, and I’m in awe of the craftsmanship of the house, and how the practice has managed to be preserved so well.
My host parents, my host sister, her friend and I went on a day trip to the very popular town of Púcon. The markets in Púcon were very pretty but a bit pricier than in Lican Ray. We went to the Plaza de Armas Púcon, a park in town, where there were these magnificently carved wooden statues of important figures in the native indigenous culture, the Mapuche. I’ve loved learning more about the indigenous culture here in Chile, and I’m very thankful for this learning experience. In Púcon, we went to a cafe that had amazing cake and coffee, and ate ourselves a little bit silly!
We also went kayaking in Lake Calafquen in Lican Ray, kayaking up to a little island in the middle of the lake and then back. It was so much fun, very tiring, but the view was worth it. The photo files are too large to upload on here, but I should be posting some of the photos on Facebook!
A really smart and cool use of the lake was in a little pool platform on the water, made of interlockable plastic tiles that sit on top of the water and you can walk across. It’s a very smart way to create an easily protected swimming area, and a very fun time trying to walk along the platform without falling over due to the movement of platform caused by the water. It’s hard to explain, I hope the picture helps 🙂
I think I’ve waffled on for long enough, I hope you enjoyed! A big thank you goes out to my host family for including me in the family and family holiday, I’ve loved it!