Frutillar arrival and update

Wow, everything in Frutillar has been excellent so far! Except for the internet… but I’m actually working to correct that. We all went up to the house on the hill this morning, which Richardo is remodeling for someone to live in during the coming year. The plan was to do a bit of wiring and finish up some molding around the new windows. After pulling a few cables, Ricardo’s dad (Sergio) showed up in a tractor and asked us to help cut down some trees further up the hill. Ricardo explained to me that we were taking down the trees to clear a path for the new internet antenna. Ricardo runs a hosterlería here in Frutillar, and he’s eager to get the Wifi up to speed… Sergio runs the dairy farm next door. We saw a Nestle truck pull up today to take away some fresh milk…

It’s a pretty strange world we’ve stepped into. We’re staying in a cabaña that usually goes for $150 a night, but we get it for free because there are no guests here (it’s the off-season), and because we’re working for our accommodation. We get fresh baked bread in the morning, all the fresh veggies we want, a hot meal at lunch time, and berries and fruit from the nearby bushes and trees. There’s a swimming pool and a private beach. Across the lake we can see three volcanoes. One of the dogs just had puppies last week. One of the cows just had calves.

Volcan Osorno and Volcan Puntiagudo sunrise across Lago Llanquihue

There are three other volunteers currently staying with us; a couple from France and a guy from Australia. We expect a couple more from France and Spain later this week. Because the french couple have international driver’s licenses, we take trips into town in the afternoon and do some grocery shopping for dinner. We’ve traded off cooking dinner so far, which creates a nice communal atmosphere in the evenings.

This area was settled by Germans in the mid and late 1800’s. Ricardo seemed very proud of his heritage and told us exactly when and how his family arrived in this area. (When I told him that I too am a decedent of German heritage, he was really disappointed that I couldn’t give him the same information…) The Chilean government was interested in moving people into this underpopulated section of the country; a form of protection against European imperial powers… They offered some sweet deals to Germans who were eager to leave the homeland and, as a result, this area has good beer and cake (kuchen)!

At the moment, I think this Work Away is exactly what we were looking and hoping for. The work isn’t too strenuous, and the benefits seem pretty great. The only question is, how quickly will the next two weeks pass?

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