Chris' (Previous) Daily Journal
February 8, Puerto Montt, Chile
Brrrr….It’s chilly in Chile. Today, the high temperatures were only in the mid-50’s. It was very windy and then rained during the afternoon. Typical summer weather for this part of Chile.
Once the ship’s tours had departed, we hopped aboard the tender to the pier. The downtown area wasn’t that far from the pier, so we decided to walk.
Not far from the pier, we came across a delightful, eclectic artsy center – small, old buildings, each with its own unique character. Various products for sale, ranging from clothes to purses to flowers and various foods – the cheese really caught our attention. Unfortunately, we couldn’t purchase any as we would not be able to take it back to the ship. And, we were just a bit deterred from purchasing as there were flies everywhere. Not real appetizing!
The city has a lot of German influence – as it should, considering it was founded by German immigrants. The cathedral in the center square was interesting – it’s made of redwood. Small, and quite stark inside, compared to the churches in Italy, especially.
We almost felt like potential criminals when we were checking out some of the stores. We walked into a couple pharmacies where armed guards stand on small platforms watching the customers. All the medications are behind the pharmacist’s counter, so stealing drugs certainly is not an issue.
Guards were positioned at the front doors of the major stores. Rather makes one not want to shop!
John decided (as he has in many other cities) to feed the homeless dogs, which were everywhere. So, he purchased some empanadas with meat and off we went. One dog was so happy to receive food that he began following us. It’s heartbreaking to see the animals as they wander the streets in search of food and water.
Puerto Montt is a hub for travel to other cities in the southern part of Chile. The bus terminal was huge and extremely busy.
We noticed that for the city buses, in addition to the normal bus stops, can also just be flagged down and they will stop and pick up the rider.
We mentioned the presence of security to one of the ship’s staff in the internet lounge and he said it’s probably due to all the pickpocketers. We didn’t have any problems and didn’t really even notice anyone that we felt looked at all threatening. But, we certainly don’t wear good jewelry or carry big bags. All we have that is worth taking are the cameras we wear around our necks. And, if they want the camera, then get us along with the deal!
Puerto Montt is located in the lake district – at the end. Just north and east of Puerto Montt are volcanoes (mostly inactive) and the Andes mountains. The snow-capped mountains are absolutely beautiful. We were able to spot a couple waterfalls cascading down the mountains. Of the two nearest volcanoes, Volcan Calbuco is the closest, while Volcan Osorno is much larger and dominates the horizon.
Puerto Montt is known as the “end of the line” when traveling by road or road. It’s the terminus for the railway and for the continental portion of the Pan American Highway.
We had to be moved to a different dinner table this evening. During the early seating, a fire sprinkler broke just over the wait station near our section of the dining room. Water spewed everywhere, soaking the waitstaff, the diners, the food, carpeting, tables and chairs. We felt quick lucky we weren’t at that seating. Our new table (for this evening only) was not nearly as desirable. We were in the middle of the main dining room and the area was so noisy. The sounds from all the other tables are distracting. All of us were happy the move was for one evening only.
We will travel overnight to Puerto Chacabuco, located at the head of the Aysen Fjord. Weather will be even cooler – the Captain said the forecast is for the temperature to only reach 40 F and perhaps rain. Nothing unusual for this part of the country. We are looking forward to the beautiful scenery.