Puerto Montt, Chile 12th Port
Feb 28, 2009
|Puerto Montt is the capital of what is know as Region X in Chile. This will be our first Chilean port since we missed Punta Arenas. It is the main port into the lake and volcano district. This is our first tender port – which we really hate but must admit that Carnival did a good job at herding 3000 people into tenders that carried only 80 people at a time. With 6 tenders working at a time we waited a mere 45 minutes to board. It was a smooth 15 minute ride to the docks. We had been warned that upon exiting the port gates we would be mobbed with people offering tours and taxis. It was true. Marcia and LuAnn took the lead in negotiating. Our reference point was $75 p/p for a day with full lunch. With that as our goal they took off. We finally got it down to $25 pp for 4 hours to the places we had planned to visit - Pto. Varas (a German village), Vicente Perez Rosales Natl Park, Petrohue Falls and views of the volcanoes. The driver spoke a little English but had a new car. How quickly we determine what is important to us.
Puerto Montt was an older city that was run down. It looked like it had been in its prime in the 20s. The drive out of town was also not impressive but then we reached Pto. Varas. What a charming city located on a huge lake. It had a wonderful square complete with the musician playing pan music, shops and roses in bloom. The guys headed off to find an electronics store – Bobby needed to replace his earphones. Marcia and LuAnn queried a guide to find the best bakery – remember it was a German settlement so they had to have good pastries. Yes indeed we found German empandas filled with either vegetables or meat. The strudel looked a little messy so they ended up with waffle cookies. They were kind of like phyllo waffles filled with caramel. These were saved for the picnic lunch at the falls.
We also found a wonderful church made of metal that has a twin in the German Black Forest. It is a jewel of the area. The area is made up of lakes, rivers at the convergence of the per-Andes and Andes ranges. It is surrounded by snow capped mountains.
Our next stop was a kuchen shop with llamas and a bathroom for $1 pp. The llamas were free. We had slight views of the Osborn Volcano but were told it would be better down the road. It was indeed. Now we have been told that the area gets rain and fog 300 days each year so the fact that it was just overcast and cloudy made it a good day. We could occasionally see the top of the volcano but never the entire mountain. We did stop at a beautiful German farm that had incredible views. Wandering the yard was a very vocal llama who was courting his cute little llama girlfriend. Anytime one of us got even close to the girlfriend the male would bellow and run closer to her when we ignored her he walked away.
Once we arrived at the falls we were thrilled. It is the dry season so the water was down but it was wonderful. For those of you familiar with Great Falls, MD, it reminded us of this area except that the rocks were all formed by lava. Picture beautiful lava formations with water rushing through all surrounded by snow capped mountains. It was also like some of the places we have seen in Alaska. As we walked the path we found wonderful knitted sweaters made of llama and sheep wool at incredibly low prices.
Our four hours were coming to a close so we had to head home. Still needing our picnic we stopped at a beekeepers pull off and thoroughly enjoyed our German empanadas while enjoying the view of the lake. We had the taxi drop us off at the local artisan market which provided beautiful sweaters, scarves, lapis jewelry, wooden items. The prices were good and hard to ignore. LuAnn came away with a kilo of llama wool to share with the hookers, a llama scarf/shawl, three wooden pins for shawls; Marcia found a lapis penguin pendant. Now that sounds easy but we walked for several blocks then headed to the downtown area to check out items in that area. Unfortunately they noticed the rain clouds (remember it rains or tries to 300 days a year). Well by the time we realized it was actually going to rain it was too late. They did manage to find another craft market so that meant more food sampling and another knitted item for LuAnn – kind of like a neck scarf, necklace or some kind of adornment – all of the knitters will think it is real cool. Another item for us to try and make. Since we had missed dinner and were soaked LAP and Marcia decided to head back to the craft market a second time to pick up the penguin pendant.
Bob and Bobby had headed back to the ship hours and hours before. What the girls did not count on were the other 200-300 people who were also caught in the rain and heading back at 80 people per boat. It took a while. We shared stories and wondered about how it could take so long for those boats to drop their cargo. A few wondered about rough seas but mostly about how wet we all felt. We made it on the 3rd or 4th boat and were greeting by the boat captain telling us that it would be rough. The boat will make noises and you will be tossed about. OK – that did notify us but really couldn't prepare us for the tossing. Or for the difficulties he would have docking. It took three attempts and each person had to be helped from the tender to the dock by two people. Please remember that Marcia and LuAnn are among the youngest people and probably most agile. Many people are in their 80s and use mobility devices. They were scary. It was kind of like jump rope or maybe redhots - the tender would rock close then move about 12- 15 inches away while the ship's workers were holding onto to each of us telling when to step. Now don't be afraid for us because we were thrilled and had the best time of our life.
Marcia and LuAnn wondered if Bob and Bobby were concerned about us then realized that they would not be and would say that we could take care of ourselves. This is exactly what they said; however they other two couples at our table were concerned. And doubly concerned that Bob and Bobby had left us and weren't worried. This is why we work together so well.
We peeled our clothes off, hung them to dry and headed for a quick dinner. Bob had brought LAP dessert from dinner – a great Tiramisu. So Marcia and LuAnn headed for the second seating of dinner to beg a dessert from the server. Not a problem. They tried to feed us and were also concerned for our well being. What a great day. We had beautiful scenery, good food, interesting crafts, and a thrill ride. What more could we ask for in a day.