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Puerto Varas and the Day of the Cake

Written on: Saturday February 2nd, 2008

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Puerto Varas, Chile


Author: Julie




After our wonderful night at the Frutillar music festival with Sandra and Will, we were excited to tell the girl?s all about it. We had seen the schedule for the remainder of the week and there were still lots of shows to see. They were planning on visiting the city of Frutillar during the day so they promised to stop at the ticket booth and see if they could get more tickets for that night?s performance.


The sun was shining so we spent most of the afternoon sitting in the yard talking with other traveller?s and playing with the dogs. Bodo, the pup, was only 4 months old and wanted only to chew on anything in sight. Unfortunately, that was usually the loose skin of Butch, the older arthritic dog, who just wanted to be left alone in the sun. Bodo would take a bite and pull till the skin was full stretched or he would bite his tail or worse his ears. The lounge chairs were very much in evidence to his chewing with the ends of the arm rests missing chunks of plastic. He was comical and kept all of us entertained. Later in the afternoon, we wandered around town looking at the architecture of the homes. Most were made with wooden siding and painted vibrant colors. We stopped to visit the colourful Iglesia del Sagrado Corazon (Church of the Sacred Heart), built in 1915 and based on the Marienkirche of Black Forest Germany. It was lovely but not as ornate as some of the churches we had seen in other countries. Its simplicity made me think of Saint-Theresa in my hometown of Temiscaming. It too was built around the same time and had a very similar design and interior. Next we followed signs announcing a look-out (Mirador) further up the hills. After 20 minutes of wandering from one neighbourhood to another we finally realised that the sign was announcing a new housing development project called the Mirador. We had been tricked by the advertisement. We returned to the hostel, the girls had returned from Frutillar to announce that there weren?t any tickets remaining for tonight?s show. The national symphony was scheduled to play in honour of the festival?s 40th anniversary and the tickets had been sold-out for weeks.


After supper, we were sitting in the yard chatting with Anna and Em and enjoying a glass of wine when we heard music floating up the hill towards us. Deciding to have a bit of a night on the town, we headed to the city center to find a rock-and-roll concert in full swing. A Chilean entertainer named most appropriately Peter Rock was singing from a stage built on one of the streets. The annual city festival was in full swing. He was a fantastic entertainer and even though he was in his late 50s or 60s, he had the energy of someone in his 20s. He had the crowd dancing along with him and a lot of people, even though they don?t speak a word of English, knew all the words to the American oldies. We were disappointed when the concert ended at 11 PM. Looking to continue the evening, we stopped at one of the local bars named the Garage. It was decorated with car parts for tables, lamps, and wall decorations. We stayed for an hour listening to the live entertainment, but once our beers done we decided to wander over to the casino. At the entrance we were informed by security that we needed to pay 2,500 pesos as an entrance fee or go straight to the bar and buy a drink, at which time we could enter for free. The beers were only 1,500 pesos so we definitely went for that bargain. The first floor of the casino was all the slot machine where I managed to win 20$ USD from one of them. The girls wanted to see the card and roulettes tables which were located on the second floor. We watched the roulette table and one particular individual was on fire, he kept winning. Around 2 AM, we were a little bored so we returned back to the hostel.


Around 3 PM the next day, we went for a walk in center town to see what was happening. Yesterday, we had seen banners proclaiming today as ?Dia de la Kuchen (Day of the Cake)?, a most wonderful day. The area where we had seen the concert the night before was closed off with security barriers and inside were quite a few older women dressed in traditional German dresses, a long table, and a stage at the end. Dozens of German cakes (more like tortes) were being unloaded and placed on the table by type. Within a half hour there must have been 300 cakes from end to end. There were so many that they had to get more tables to place them all and more cakes were being delivered all the time. We imagine every German granny in town was probably in her kitchen the night before with her secret family recipe, whipping up these lovely sweets. Next, the princesses of the festival arrived dressed in traditional dresses. They lined up along the table and took photos holding the cakes.


The crowd had grown considerably and at 4 PM they announced the sale of tickets to buy slices. We were only a few short meters away so we got there quickly and beat the long line and bought two tickets at 2,000 pesos each. We then lined up along the security gate in front of the cakes that look to be topped with raspberries. There were hundreds of mouth-watering cakes covered with coconut, nuts, fruits, chocolate sauce, caramel, creams, etc. Kevin and I were so excited and we kept changing our minds about which one we wanted. Every time we had made our minds up, we would spot another more delicious looking one. Finally, at 5 PM they announced the sale was open and people practically threw themselves at the security gate to be first to be served. Everyone wanted to get a slice from the cake they preferred the most. Some people had bought so many tickets that they were buying whole cakes at once. Kevin got in there with the best of them and finally got our slices. They looked so good. I think every country should have a Day of the Cake, and really why stop there? Couldn?t we also have Day of Ice Cream and Day of Chocolate? We moved away quickly to find a quiet place to sit and enjoy the sugary snack that we had been anticipating for the past couple of hours. They were as good as they looked and we had to resist the impulse to buy more.


Instead, we walked over to the local beach and found a quiet place to relax. Across the blue waters of lake Llanquihue was volcano Osorno, presiding over the town with its snow-capped dome. Unlike Villarica it does not have much activity and if we didn?t know better we would have said it was dormant. Near us was a little boy who was playing beach soccer with his dad and occasionally the ball would roll past him and we would throw it back. Was he so happy because he too knew it was Day of the Cake?