After two weeks happily homebound at Helen’s home 10 km east of Temuco, we decided we had much to celebrate and so we took off for the cordierra 100 km to the east. We have been tending Helen’s house, dogs and garden for the past two weeks while Helen’s daughters, Mahani and Teamai, plus Teamai’s boyfriend, Lucas, and his brother, are traveling in Europe.
Two hours east of Temuco we thought perhaps we had landed in Japan! For 3 hours we soaked in our good fortune at perhaps the most elegant hot springs in Chile. The “Termas Geometrica” is 15 km up another challenging Chilean jeep road where you put on your bathing suit and wander from hot pool to hot pool in a plant- and fog- shrouded canyon. The development is elegantly simple with its 17 slate hot pools set over or around a rushing stream and bordered by red-planked walkways. We were almost the only visitors while we were there, but in the summer we are told that this hot springs is mobbed.
So what is all this celebration? Well, it is because we have so many lucky stars! We have been happily engaged in Chile for 4 months now. That deserves a celebration. And we must celebrate our dog sitting because Helen’s dogs, Olivia and Miti, are consistently sitting now before being fed. Tennessee just became two years old! More celebration. And Annie had her 40th birthday one day before Tennessee’s. More cheers.
There is still more to celebrate. April 23, 1961 is a day that was an existentially special day for us. On that day, in the evening just after dinner, Leslie came down the stairs at Mather House in Cleveland and various cupids shot their arrows and their marks have held strong and true for all these intervening 51 (!) years. Val always remembers that he met Leslie on April 23rd, though he will be quick to say that that day is also special because it is Shakespeare’s birthday and deathday. Leslie will then mention that she learned many years ago one more fact: this day is also the birthday of Cynthia (Val’s high school girlfriend) . This verbal dance is a little tango (no, we are not yet in Argentina…) that we have enjoyed over and over again — all thanks, as we also always say, to Val’s Aunt Nancy, who arranges marriages. Another celebration that we contemplated a bit these past couple of weeks continues throughout this year when we and so many of our friends are passing the 70-times-around-the-sun mark.
Our final celebration: Volcan Villarrica did not blow its top while we sauntered along its flanks. (Check out the Villarrica Volcano cam at: www.povi.cl ) At dusk the first day we viewed the mountain smoking a bit. The next day dawned cloudy and threatened rain. We considered passing the day celebrating shopping in Pucon, an outdoor adventure vacation destination in this part of the world, where we had spent the night. But, after picking up some much-needed “warmies” because it’s getting cold here in the Arucania and Los Lagos areas, we saw the sky turning blue. By 2 pm the fall day was fantastic, so we set off on the moon-scaped Challupen Chinay Trail which goes around Volcan Villarrica on its southern side. We were high above the nearby Lake Villarica and close below the 2847 meter summit of the volcano. Villarica looked over us, puffed a little more smoke, and quietly announced, “Todo esta calma!” Time to celebrate once again….
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