March 5 – 15
Llifen is a town so small that if you blink while driving through, you’ll most likely miss it. Like many other towns situated around Chile’s third largest lake, Lago Ranco, Llifen has a smattering of stores, a restaurant or two, and nothing else. No bank and no gas station. There would be absolutely no reason for us to go there except for the fact that the house my parents rented for their two-week stay was located just outside of town.
For those who are curious, my parents found the house on Vacation Rentals by Owner. Our specific requirements included a location in the South of Chile close to Puerto Montt and with access to quality fly fishing locales (for Mark and my dad, Dan). This retreat in the woods couldn’t have been more perfect.
The lush greenery we had missed so much in Santiago was profuse and glorious in Llifen. And to our great joy, the house had many windows from which to view it. And the view was truly spectacular; the house was situated on a steep bluff that overlooked the Calccuripe River. A winding pathway led in switchbacks down to the river’s edge where a small green rowboat was chained to a little dock.
Because days and nights are colder in the South, the house also had a wood-burning stove, an indoor heating system (not at all common here), and heated towel racks (a luxury). Out on the back deck was a rounded wooden hot tub, in the Japanese style with a wood-burning stove to heat the water. We spent many a happy hour in that hot tub. It was a particular favorite of my dad’s.
While we were there, it rained for four straight days. Because it was so beautiful and because we had yearned for damp for so long, the rain wasn’t tedious. Rather, it was wonderful. It came in roaring sheets and light drizzle and at times the sun tried to peak from the clouds of mist obscuring the tops of the hills around us. We just threw another log onto the fire and cozied up with a good book, or alternately, jumped into the hot tub, rain and all.
Our days in Llifen were certainly relaxing, as we spent quality time talking, playing games, knitting, and fishing.