Subject: Re: Chile as a vacation destination

Chile is such a wonderful place to visit I wouldn't hestitate to return. My trip was built around running the Bio Bio River before it was dammed, but the timing was wrong so I couldn't get it organized. I did run several other rivers with local outfitters, however, &enjoyed that. My focus was the rivers &parks of the lake district &south.

I traveled by train, bus &rented car, all very easy &reasonably priced, staying in hostels &b& b's. I always felt safe.

But I was traveling alone &many Chileans couldn't figure out why a gray-haired 50-year-old woman, not a nun, would be without her family. Sometimes it would be hard to get conversation going (& my Spanish is more than acceptable), but I put it to my oddness in a latin culture, altho John's comments about Chiloe make me wonder &as I think about it, the further south I went, the harder it was. I loved the hiking &scenery around Pto Varas, but felt very lonely &that doesn't often happen to me!

I tried hooking up with groups of hikers in some of the parks, not too successfully, so I just gave up &went it solo. The terrain was simply not to be missed!

I loved Valdivia, probably as it is a university town &vegetarian cuisine was available more widely than further south. Another strike against me: no meat or seafood??? I settled for vegetarian when I could find it, as vegan choices were rare.

I'm just too pig-headed to think about an organized tour, but on my next trip I'd rustle up a companion. There was simply so much more that I'd love to see!

Gail In Eugene, but never for long