January 2024 – Stay at the Country House San Sebastian
Imagine this: you’re driving along the 7 Lakes Route in Argentine Switzerland, a breathtaking panorama of snow-capped mountains reflected in crystal-clear turquoise waters. Emerald bays beckon you to swim, while the crisp air is alive with the calls of exotic birds. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, this was my reality on a recent trip to Pucon, Chile, and the epicenter of this adventure was the charming lodge Landhaus San Sebastian.
Beyond the 7 Lakes: A Hike Through Araucanía Forests and Volcanic Wonder
Our journey from Bariloche to Pucon wasn’t just about stunning scenery; it was an immersion into nature’s wonders. Hiking through ancient Araucanía forests, gnarled trees that seem to whisper secrets of a forgotten time, was like stepping into a prehistoric wonderland. Strange bird calls echoed through the air, and with a bit of luck, you might even catch a glimpse of a hummingbird, a tiny emerald jewel flitting through the sunlight.
But the highlight of our hike was undoubtedly the encounter with a palm-sized tarantula. My arachnophobia flared briefly, but this surprisingly docile creature simply basked in our scrutiny, adding a touch of the unexpected to our nature walk. And then, the grand finale: a breathtaking panorama of snow-capped volcanoes, Villarrica towering majestically against a pristine backdrop of araucarias. It was a scene that stole my breath away, a postcard come to life.
San Sebastian: A Sustainable Haven of Hospitality and Culinary Magic
Nestled in the countryside near Pucon, Lodge Landhaus San Sebastian is more than just a hotel; it’s a philosophy. Here, sustainability reigns supreme, and the warm hospitality of the German couple who run the place makes you feel instantly at home. Andreas, the host, takes you on an informative tour of the farm’s extensive fields, sharing his passion for sustainable agriculture and beekeeping. You’ll learn about the fascinating differences between European and Chilean flora, marvel at a 450-year-old Chilean elm, and be charmed by a colony of bees buzzing contentedly in its branches.
Gabriela, Andreas’s wife, is the undisputed queen of the kitchen. Her in-house garden, a riot of colorful vegetables and herbs, is a testament to her dedication to fresh, seasonal produce. And when you see the chickens and chicks strutting around, you know this farm-to-table philosophy is more than just a slogan.
Volcano Views and Unforgettable Meals: A Sensory Feast at San Sebastian
As the sun sets, casting an orange glow on the Villarrica volcano, a gentle reminder of its active nature sends a shiver down your spine. But any worry quickly melts away with the warmth of Gabriela’s cooking. The breakfast buffet is a symphony of flavors, a feast for both the eyes and the palate. Homemade breads and rolls, fresh fruit adorned with edible flowers, and Gabriela’s artistic touch in every dish – it’s a culinary experience that sets San Sebastian apart.
And dinner? Well, that’s a daily adventure. After returning from exploring the nearby Ojos de Caburga waterfalls or the Huife thermal baths, you’ll be greeted by a three-course meal that showcases Gabriela’s talent in all its glory. Each dish is a surprise, a creative expression of the day’s harvest, a testament to her passion for good food and good company.
More Than Just a Stay: A Connection to Nature and Each Other
San Sebastian is more than just a place to stay; it’s an experience. It’s a connection to nature’s grandeur, a celebration of sustainable living, and a love letter to the transformative power of good food and genuine hospitality. Gabriela and Andreas, with their warmth and dedication, are the heart and soul of this place. They have created a haven where you can relax, explore, and connect with yourself and the world around you.
So, if you’re looking for an adventure that goes beyond the ordinary, a travel experience that nourishes your body and soul, look no further than San Sebastian. Just be prepared to leave your heart (and maybe a few pounds – in the best way possible!) behind.
See for yourself: Lodge Landhaus San Sebastian