Where Are The Alerces?

Chipped into Shingles?

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the second post of this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Chipped into Shingles?

Wood is a building material the German pioneers had in abundance. They went to work clearing the forests, tilling the land and building structures such as this, a house in the town of Puento Varas on Lake Llanquihue. In face, those windows face the lake. I have our guide to thank for these photographs of the houses, early on as we drove through Puerto Montt she shared the significance of the shingles with us.

The shape is identical to that used in Germany and Switzerland wooden frame homes. It was the wood of a tree native to Chile and western Argentina that made these possible and in the course of surviving in a new land, a good portion of their natural patrimony was spent. Since the late 1960’s Chile has backed away from this and conservation of the slow growing Alerce is now paramount.

We can intuit how difficult the winters are from the view into this house provided by the window. There is a room outside the living area, sealed by a second door to prevent the escape of warmth. The use of metal embedded into the low concrete wall is common in the South American countries we visited.

Close by, also facing the lake in Puerto Varas, is this police station, the “Civil Police,” whatever than means. It is a small, apparently historic, building. Rising around it are modern hotels.

This large rural shed, on the outskirts of the town, appears to be a structure from the original 19th century settlers, a testimony to the durability of Alerce shingles covering the siding and the large, steeply sloped roof.

Open Country

Suddenly we were graced with these cleared farm fields, here and there large modern homes high on the hill for a sweeping view of the lake.

In the distance is Calbuco, the volcano whose eruption broke the peace ten months before our trip. The wind spared these lands the destructive effect of falling ash.

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