The Ghost Town of Frutillar

December 23, 2005
Day 86

Today I took a bus to the nearby town of Frutillar. It's supposed to be the most German community in all of Chile, and seeing all of the houses and signs in town certainly confirmed that for me. It's also supposed to be one of the top vacation destinations for Chileans from Santiago. However, today the town was practically empty because it's almost Christmas. I walked up and down the shoreline that spans the entire town and decided that there was nothing left for me to do there other than go to the German musuem.

The Museo Colonial Aleman depicted the typical lifestyle of the first German immigrants to the area around 150 years ago. The first place I went on the museum grounds was the Casona de Campo, a large house with rooms that looked like they hadn't been touched since the 1800's. It was kind of creepy walking through the kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms without another soul in sight. I was half expecting a German version of the “Ghost of Christmas Past" to pop up and start giving me a tour.

Next, I walked around the grounds a bit until I reached the Casa del Herrero, the blacksmith's house. Once again, the rooms were pristinely set up and preserved in their original form. I wasn't quite sure what part of the house had to do with a blacksmith, but still, walking through the rooms gave me a good depiction of what life used to be like.

After the blacksmith's house, I walked down the hill to the large circular barn. Barns built in that style used to be all around the area, but this one was the only one left. Farmers used to tie horses to the pillar in the center of the barns and make them walk around it, threshing the corn on the ground with their hooves in the process. This barn didn't contain any animals, but it was filled with old buggies and tractors, complete with the insignias of their German manufacturers.

My last stop was to a building that contained a bunch of old textiles that were worn to formal events in the 1800's. Outside of the building was a large waterwheel which water constantly flowed through to... I'm not quite sure where. It was still pretty cool. The museum overall was one of the best ones I had visited in a long time. I have been going to way too many museums lately, but this place was set up more like a small village, so it kept my attention.

When I returned to Puerto Varas, I found out that it was pretty dead there, too. Everyone seemed to be getting ready for Christmas, so nothing was going on. The culture has shifted to going to bed much earlier here, too. In Santiago, people just start to go out at 2:00 AM, but here, most people are fast asleep by then.

The photo album for this entry is here.

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