Our Antarctic/South American Adventure – Part XX

Fri, Feb 20th – Puerto Montt, Chile

From Our Navigator

Puerto-Montt,-Chile-tenders During the night we sailed on mainly northern courses. Early this morning we will approach our anchorage and once we are at our proper location, lower our anchor and tenders to the water. Tonight after we have picked up our last tender and heaved anchor, we will continue with our 2009 South American & Antarctica Voyage towards Valparaiso, Chile.

Our excursion today will include a short tour of the city as we head for Lake Llanquihue and the inland communities of Puerto Varas and Fruitillar. Basically we will have a great look at the countryside that has a deep Germanic influence. A moderate percentage of the citizens of this area descend from early German immigrants. Our guide, Yolanda, kept us informed of the history of the area and its inhabitants, obviously avoiding political subjects. Our bus was very modern and comfortable, plus it had two doors, which I prefer. Our weather was sunny and much warmer than in previous ports – it felt good.

Our first stop was at the very progressive community of Puerto Varas, or City of Roses, humm…, it could be a sister city to Portland, Oregon (for you Stacie). It may sound strange for a lakeside community to have the name “port” attached to it, but since this is such a large lake (2nd in South America) it was understandable. This was nothing more than a thirty minute potty, shop, and photo stop, but very delightful. Puerto-Montt,-Chile-045 Puerto-Varas-Chile-Osorno-V Walking around in warmer temperatures was also very nice. Leaving Puerto Varas, we motored north on a section of the Pan American Highway – a very nice, well maintained toll road, half an hour later we were at our second stop – Fruitillar. Once we arrived, Yolanda handed each of us a ticket to visit the Colonial Museum with its exhibits on the first settlers’ history. The best part for me was touring the gardens which were still in bloom, although somewhat past their peak. A walk down to the almost deserted beach presented views of the volcano in the distance and a family enjoying a day at the beach with their dog. One of the specialties of this “village” was the “kuchen” a German influenced fruit flan accompanied by a local German style beer, Kuntsmann.

LPuerto-Montt,-Chile-Rest eaving Fruitillar less than an hour later, we “re-boarded” the Pam-Am Highway and traveled directly to downtown Puerto Montt and the port area. Since it was early afternoon, we decided to try and locate Frank Buckingham’s favorite restaurant near the craft market. This was less than a ten minute walk, and after one false start, we located what looked to be a very respectable establishment. We entered and lo and behold, there was Frank and the ship’s security officer enjoying an enormous mid-day meal, complete with mineral water and wine. We sat down and ordered “café con leche” or Nescafe, for Barbara and an ice cold Kuntsmann Beer for me. Since Barbara was not really that hungry I just ordered a 350 gram (I had no idea how big it would be) beef tenderloin and patatas fritas for me. Shortly after, our “Garzon” delivered a large plate of Sopaphallas (SP?) and two small dishes of salsa. That would have been enough of a meal for both of us, but we carried on. My steak was thick, huge, and very tender, and tasty – no steak sauce needed. There was so much food that I had to order another Kuntsmann to wash it down with. We left the restaurant around three which left plenty of time, to shop in the stalls across the street, since all aboard wasn’t until 5:30 PM.

Puerto-Montt,-ChileAlpaca-S At the craft stalls Barbara was in her element and I just enjoyed myself people watching. At one point she said I should go back to the ship and get some rest. As I was making my way, I passed a booth that sold shawls, one shawl said to me “Yo soy perfecto por tu eseposa – please buy me!” Since Barbara was not too far behind, I thought I had better get her take on it. She was pleased and felt it was a good price. Much to her surprise (and others I have talked with) they would not bargain down – the price was set. The ironic thing about this purchase was the price which was posted both in pesos and dollars, with the dollar price less that the peso price. Here is Barbara modeling the aforementioned – Alpaca Shawl!

Puerto-Montt,-Chile-Dancer I did take an earlier tender back to the ship and much to my delight it was the same tender that was transporting the local singers and dancers of the “Puerto Montt Folklorico Show”to the ship for their 5:00 m performance. Here is a picture of one of the lovely and delightful young female dancers. Later Barbara joined me and we attended this very lively and inspiring show. Especially entertaining was when the dancers came down into the audience and invited the passengers to dance with them. Great fun for all.

Tomorrow we are blessed with a day at sea- and warmer temperatures as we head north to Valparaiso… JWC

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