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The popping sound woke me suddenly and I flew out of bed thinking that we’d set the cabin on fire with the wood burning stove. It only takes me a few seconds to realise that a. it’s still bloody freezing and very dark, and b. that the popping sound is actually a drip – the ceiling has sprung a leak. A fruit bowl doubles up nicely as a bucket and I’m able to get a few more hours sleep without incident.

Despite keeping everything crossed the rain and wind follow us back up to Cunco. This makes the journey interesting enough, along with the cowboy riding against the traffic on Ruta 5, but obviously Dervla thinks otherwise. I refuse to do a U-turn so she then decides that the next slip lane which leads traffic on to the motorway, would  actually make an acceptable exit route. We’re shattered and eager to get out of the car, and even the lovely 180 degree turn doesn’t immediately alert us to the fact that we’re putting ourselves in a very dangerous situation. When Rich starts screaming “GO, GO, GO!” it becomes apparent that we might be a little bit up shit creek. I don’t know if Cielo will ever move that quickly again, but we got off that road, going against the traffic, in record time. My heart is still in my mouth. After laughing gently at the German family we saw do something similar on Day 15, I now feel like a plonker. It’s so easily done when tired and disorientated. Rich feels guilty because he’s not able to share the driving at the moment, but to be honest I needed all of this to happen to show me that I can drive well, and in different situations, and cope when scary things happen. If I hadn’t had to do all the driving in Chile I’d still be afraid of even taking the car to the local supermarket.

We’ve come back for a night at Adele y Helmut. It is at least 7 degrees warmer here than it was at Puerto Varas, and the wind is less gale force more breeze. I know that it may seem really unadventurous coming back to somewhere where we’ve stayed before, but when we had to change our plans for health reasons, it seemed like a sensible choice, and we knew that it would be a safe bet on the decent toilet front! This time we’ve come prepared with supplies so that we can self cater. Adele’s food is delicious but we don’t want to spend too many pennies, and genuinely enjoy cooking, and eating in each others company. At least the eating bit. Rich is normally banned from the kitchen when I cook. My excuse is that the kitchen is only big enough for one. But really I find cooking therapeutic, and like to get on with it in relative peace.

It’s still raining and our clothes and footwear are starting to smell mildewy, but this is all part of the traveling experience and beats sitting at home watching Eastenders. If we’d been staying longer than a month we’d find a launderette, but for a few more days it’s no great hardship to hand wash a few garments at our time, and despite the house rules saying otherwise, our studio apartment makes a perfect laundry room. Puerto Varas has the highest standard of living in the whole of Chile, but for us it felt too saccharine and we’re glad to have escaped what felt like a tourist trap. We dine on leftover bolognese transported from Bordemundo in a jam jar, gluten free pasta, and chorizo, and reminisce about our near death experience.

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