After leaving San Martin de los Andes at 1:30 PM (late), we reached Junin de los Andes quickly, with the help of an endless descent and strong back wind. This town was apparently established for the military base surrounding it. Accordingly it is boring and uniform. As we couldn´t find its center or any other nice place or park there, we chose to eat lunch at the exit from town. After lunch, Shoham had her second flat tire for this trip, and again it was the fault of the protective (?!) silicon band. We found the perfect place to camp next to a river.
On the following day we got up early, and managed to leave before 11 AM. The way to the border was, as usual, the best natural reserve, as no one lives there (except for some Mapuche who sell stuff to tourists). The fauna was astonishing: dears (first time this trip), different kinds of huge birds, and many parrots, and all this we saw from the road.
The topography was also very interesting. We had a combination of cliffs, desert hills, forests and one huge snowy volcano. This is Volcán Lanin (3,750 m) which is the highest mountain of this active volcanic region.
10 km before the border, we reached the worst unpaved road, when we entered Lanin NP. There is a nice camping there, recommended by our Japanese friend, Naoki, who is now in Santiago. We skipped it because of the early hour and went to the border. This was our first time (out of 3) in which our bags where checked while entering Chile. Fortunately, they scanned just our backpacks, so we managed to smuggle some forbidden food products into Chile (some spices, oatmeal, corn meal, dried tomatoes, peanuts, etc.). We had to eat the apple and carrot we had at the border so they won´t be thrown away though. From there there was a frightening descent of 17 km on a worse road full of stones. When we reached the paved road, we still had some time before sunset, so we continued riding. Unfortunately, there was no place where we could camp, as there where fences and farms all over the road. Eventually, we had to ask a local family in Caren, a tiny village that doesn´t appear on any map, if we could camp in their garden (30 dunam).
Raul Heladio and Sunilda gladly gave us water and told us we could camp wherever we wanted.
In the morning we picked blackberries, which upgraded our usual oatmeal porridge. We cycled all the way to Pucón with just one stop to eat some more blackberries. We passed many long villages which reminded us of Romania. Suddenly we saw Volcán Villarica (2,850 m), with an impressive amount of snow covering it.
We planned to eat fast food in Pucón, so we tried 2 good Empanadas places. We looked at some very disgusting campings, and finally we chose the more expensive one, that has a kitchen, apple and prune trees and lots of cats and dogs. We bought Shoham new handcraft socks in one of the many artesanal markets in town. We also enjoyed the low prices of fruit and vegetables in town. We even found some "Oznei Haman" in the supermarket.
We hope we manage to leave tomorrow, towards Temuco.