Saturday I went horseback riding on a Mapuche Reserve. The Mapuche are a group of indigenous people of Chile. All together there were six people, including myself. Two were from Finland, one from Germany, and I don’t know about the other two. We also had two Mapuche guides, a father and son.
I should point out that the extent of my horseback riding experience is one trip I took with my mom when I was thirteen. Luckily, I was given a very tranquil horse, who was more concerned with eating than with walking. This pleased me very much. The last thing I wanted was to be on a horse galloping off in the wrong direction, with me screaming timorously atop it.
So it was the German girl (whose name I don’t actually know, but she’s the girlfriend of David from Pucon Tours) and me in the back while we slowly strolled through the Mapuche reserve. The weather was gorgeous and we had stunning views of the mountains and of Volcan Villarrica.
Yes, that is smoke coming out of the volcano.
As we passed houses and small farms we were greeted by a bevy of small dogs and children. The dogs barked ferociously at the horses as the children ran up to us excitedly to say hello. It was the children who informed me of my horse’s name: Bambi. But it was pronounced more like Bahm-bi, which in my opinion makes it sound less stripper-ish.
My horse Bambi.
We began a steep ascent of the mountain. When I say ‘we’ I really mean the horses. We stopped every so often to give the horses a rest and to let them eat. After about half an hour we came to a large clearing. We got off our horses and were awarded with absolutely stunning views of the Mapuche reserve, Pucon and Lago Villarrica.
It was ten times more amazing in person.
One of the Mapuche guides taking a break.
We ended our ride at the home of our guides. They had prepared some typical Mapuche food for us to try. There were two types of empanadas and three types of bread with homemade jam and a salsa made from tomatoes, onions and herbs. Everything was delicious. Our guides also brought out different Mapuche artifacts: clothes, jewelry and instruments. It was all pretty amazing.
Delicious Mapuche food.
In the front is the hut where they cook and eat their meals.