Trivia question for you. Where can you find replicas of the ships of Magellan and Darwin, the ship used to claim this area for Chile, and the lifeboat that Shackleton used to get to the mainland to get help for his crew stranded in Antarctica? I’ll give you a hint. It’s the title of this post.
Magellan’s ship, Victoria
Darwin’s ship, The Beagle.
The small boat in the foreground was the one Shackleton used after The Endurance sank. The bigger one got the Chileans to this area so they could claim it for Chile.
Other notable images from Punta Arenas follow:
The huge monument to Magellan in the main square across from our hotel has carvings on all four sides, with a rather arrogant Magellan atop.
Punta Arenas was a very wealthy area at one time, and the cemetery reflects that abundance.
This mural honoring Gabriela Mistral is on the side of the school she founded (more about her later)
Sara Braun’s mansion faces the main square. This is ANOTHER good story that has to wait till I get home.
This morning, we are heading to remote areas where Wi-Fi could be nonexistent.
Although the distances don’t appear to be great, this appearance definitely IS deceiving. We will spend most of today traveling to Torres del Paine, stopping along the way for a hike, weather permitting.
Two days later, we will be on a longer drive, to El Calafate. From there we fly to Buenos Aires.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” according to Laura, our wonderful guide.
Were we prepared for our walk in the rain forest? Thanks to Laura’s excellent instructions, we most certainly were.
We are wearing our waterproof pants, boots, ponchos and parkas.
Puerto Montt is usually very rainy, and today was no exception. That means we had an authentic experience, which got even MORE authentic as the day wore on.
First, we had an interpretive walk through Chile’s first National Park, Vicente Perez Rosales. The water is normally a clear blue, but rain and wind has carried volcanic ash into the water resulting in this brown color.
My new partner in crime, Janis, is another Massachusetts gal.
In other parts of the park, however, the water was a beautiful clear greenish blue.
While we were sauntering through the park, a light rain was falling. That changed to a torrential downpour while we were at lunch. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Lunch was quite a novel experience. First, it was a short boat ride away.
Second, lunch was in a private home in the middle of the National Park. How a private home ended up in the middle of a private part, I could probably remember if I hadn’t had that second glass of wine. But the “how” is not essential to the rest of our story.
What started as an Overseas Adventure Travel home hosted meal became so successful, the host built this addition on to his home, and transformed the addition into a restaurant, now open to other travelers.
Third, the menu consisted of whatever our host caught. For us, today it was rainbow trout.
And yes, it was every bit as good as it looked.
By the time lunch was over, the rain had let up a bit, but our adventure was far from over. You see, there is only ONE road into and out of the park, and when there are torrential rains, THIS is what could (and did) happen.
The guys in the foreground are on OUR side of the street. The ones in the background are where we need to be. And in between? Well take a good look.
Remember our motto “expect the unexpected”? Well, once again, we weren’t disappointed.
My new friend Janis, also known as my “partner in crime” and I were first off the bus to size up the situation. Braving rain and wind, we returned with this video.
Fortunately, heavy equipment magically appeared to do whatever heavy equipment does,
and within two hours we were on our way. I’m thinking Janis and I have a future in cable news. Whadda ya think?
What a great group to travel with! No one complained. Here are some of fellow travelers’ comments: “How lucky are we to be in such a warm, comfortable bus”, ” Good thing we used the baño before we left the restaurant”,”It’s an adventure!”
I LOVE this group!
Here’s how our day ended.
The lake across the street from the Radisson Hotel.
Tomorrow we hit the road again, so I will hit “publish” and hope for the best!
We were forewarned: this OAT trip would include several long travel days, some by plane, some by bus. Today’s transfer from Bariloche to Puerto Varas was expected to take from 8 AM to 4 PM, including the border crossings. We need to pass thru security for BOTH Chile AND Argentina, and depending on the mood of the guards, that could be brief or it could take hours.
Our route. Laura thoughtfully marked it with yellow “stickies” We started in the lower right hand corner and ended in the left lower corner, going up and around.
But that’s okay. Days in transit allow us to see the country and decompress. Our time in Bariloche was so jam packed, a day to chill was most welcome. The beautiful pool, spa and terrace at our hotel? I had no opportunity (and no energy) to try them
During our stay, we were treated to two very interesting lectures. The first, a talk by Hans Schultz about Nazis in Patagonia, was fascinating. The second took place the next morning. We learned about the “people of the land” from a member of the Mapuche tribe.
I can’t do either speaker justice blogging from my iPhone, so those stories will have to wait till I get home. I’ll also be sure to include the stories our local guide, Fernando, told us during our bus ride. Coming attractions include highlights of those two lectures plus stories about a Texas cowboy (Jarod Jones) the famous bandits, (Butch and Sundance)and a local boy(Ernesto Che Guevara).
But let’s get back to our second day in Bariloche . After the Mapuche talk, we ALL decided to take the optional trip: a float down the Limay (Crystal) River. Our group of 12 is very cohesive and very active. We all are opting to do EVERYTHING together!
Could that be a Moai atop that mountain?
Mike and I went in different rafts so we could photograph each other and our friends.
In addition to gorgeous scenery and crystal clear water, we also saw beautiful birds, like this kingfisher that Mike photographed.
I was never fast enough. My bird photos are mainly empty branches!
We were told that at the end of the trip, we would have a “snack”. Well, that “snack” turned out to be delicious quiche, the very best empanadas we’ve had (so far), delicious fried dough pastries, breads and jams, AND a wine tasting.
Next stop, horseback riding at a family owned ranch.
Mike’s horse allergy meant that we had a skilled photographer taking shots of our group.
By the end of our ride, we were all pretty hungry. What could be better than authentic Argentinian barbecue of beef, lamb and chorizo.
What is Mike doing? He’s throwing meat on the roof of the barbecue.
Why? To get this bird to come out of the tree so we could photograph it.
Fortunately, he stayed still long enough so that even I could photograph him!
By the time we returned to the hotel, I was as too tired to take advantage of the two for one drinks at the hotel bar!
What about that long ride to Puerto Varas? It wasn’t boring at all. The scenery was beautiful, plus Laura had a few surprises for us.
First was our celebratory drink when we crossed the border into Chile. Their Dulce de Leche is their equivalent to our Bailey’s Irish Creme.
Then, our lunch stop provided more than just great food. It was also the site of a self described car museum.
But it was so much more! There was also a model train village and ancient household tools that made out grandmothers’ lives “easier”
My favorite part, however, was hanging with this sweet little guy who wanted me to admire his hot wheels collection.
Can you figure out why I decided to end this post?