I love everything about Germany (well, except for their history of starting wars and slaughtering innocent people by the millions), so when I found out there’s a town in Southern Chile that looks like it’s straight out of Bavaria, I had to check it out. After a number of run-ins with the locals, Santiago was getting a bit hot for me anyway, so I went to the airport and told a passing pilot, “Hey bro, take me to Pucon!” He told me to go lay an egg, but I was able to find a flight that was heading that way, so I took it.
It was worth the trip, because Pucon is absolutely beautiful. It’s nestled on the banks of the crystal-clear Lago Villarrica and surrounded by densely forested mountains. Oh, and there’s a massive fuck-off volcano looming over everything, that’s so magical it’s hard to believe it’s real. The big fella is known as Volcán Villarrica and he’s 2,860m tall, so he’s quite spectacular and extremely active (just like me!). Pucon is a tourist town, with adventure-seekers from around the world rocking up to go hiking, white water rafting, and skydiving. There are also tonnes of good restaurants and lively bars, so if you’d rather sit around and get drunk and fat, you’re in luck.
As I strutted around, I really did feel like I was in München or Wanknōbbel – not surprising, seeing as the area was largely settled by sausage guzzlers 100 years ago. The buildings have been lovingly constructed in the traditional German style, and most of the people look European. The only thing that broke the illusion was the lack of schnitzels the size of my head. So I smashed about a thousand empenadas instead, then bought some el cheapo (my Spanish is already getting better!) beer to drink by the el agua. The weather was miserable, but I was enchanted by the scenery around me.
With so many fun-lovin’ people in town, it came as no surprise that my hostel was absolutely packed and full of life. The Chili Kiwi is right on the lake and has a great little bar stocked with a wide range delicious local beers, so I set about testing them all out. I’m pretty thorough when it comes to that sort of thing, so I ended up drinking close to my body weight and getting riotously drunk. There’s a party atmosphere there, so a good, safe and responsible time was had by all (except when a few of us started drinking a mixture of beer and red wine out of a flower vase).
As the night got blurrier, I wound up picking a fight with a pot plant and passing out in the toilet, thus ensuring that none of the good sorts in the hostel wanted anything to do with me. The next morning I was so hungover that I couldn’t stand to look at the volcano, let alone climb it, so I just sat around the hostel watching episodes of Becker and eating cold completos I found in the bin. I live a full life.