Every morning for the last four days a thick fog lay outside my window. I had seen this in Temuco, but it would be up and out of the way by midday. In Osorno, however, the low clouds stay down and around. It is very easy to understand why the city is so grim and why it has very few high buildings. I was walking downtown yesterday and it stroke me the bright colours of peppers that a woman sold in the open market. Peppers! When have you ever been lured by the contrasting reds and greens of peppers? Only in Osorno.

Walking to the road from my hotel. Foggy morning. (Photo by me)
Walking to the road from my hotel. Foggy morning. (Photo by me)

 

If you google images of Osorno, they will show calm sunny days of the city’s centre. I have experienced the calm, but not the sun. There is not much wind here because it is located in a valley, which is explains why the clouds do not go away. Yet, you need the clouds and the rain to form a rainbow, and hence Osorno has a lot beauty hidden in its busy concrete streets.

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Many of the old buildings were moved to Mackenna avenue. Since some foundations broke, the City council decided to give them “modern” ones made of cement instead of wood.
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Wood still remains the preferred material for building houses. This brings serious fire hazards every now and then.

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The Cathedral, ugly yet so emblematic it shines over the city (all photos by me)
The Cathedral, ugly yet so emblematic it shines over the city and gives personality to the main square (all photos by me),

Sundays are boring. Most shops are closed, except for big markets or malls, which are usually filled with Argentineans who cross the border in search of cheaper goods. Dino’s, the traditional fast food restaurant in one of the Main Square’s corners, offers FIFA World Cup matches for the delight of the transandean football fans.

Because Osorno is not a city devoted to tourism, to discover its charm, its pace, its rhythm is, in my view, more rewarding than doing it in cities such as New York. Here, the real city is not hidden, it is what you see. The market, the streets, the mall, the square, everything is Osorno. And I find this fascinating.

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Some buildings are bending over their own weight.
Some buildings are bending over their own weight.

Osorno offers three things: cars, car parts, and trophies. Yes, down Lynch road there are two trophy shops, one in front of the other, and I have seen others on side streets. Car dealers, everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Hence car-related goods and services are also widely available: car repairs, petrol stations, driving schools, car parts shops,…

I wonder what other places can you think of that offer such a non-touristic view and yet guard some beauty in their not being conventionally beautiful.