February 9. 2020, Puerto Montt, Chile
Muerto Montt, Dead Montt, that is what Lonely Planet says the locals call Puerto Montt, our latest port of call. Lonely planet is not impressed. It claims there’s not much to see here. Generally, that does not discourage us because we ALWAYS find something interesting where we travel. But yesterday I thought that Lonely Planet may be correct. The Puerto is particularly Muerto because the riots that convulsed Chile in October and November hit Puerto Montt particularly hard. Dealers in corrugated steel sheets did particularly well. Anyway, it’s Sunday and stuff is closed. The circus IS in town with its big top, and that would be fun but performances didn’t coordinate with our schedule. There’s a museum dedicated to Diego Rivera, the Mexican Muralist, but it’s closed on Sunday. The museum dedicated to Pope John Paul was open but I wasn’t that interested. So, we decided to take Lonely Planet’s advice. “Puerto Montt’s redeeming quality is that of its plethora of exit points.”
I had originally thought we would take a bus out of town but it was not clear to me that, given the Sunday schedule, we could do what we wanted and get back to the ship on time. One of the things I wanted was to sleep in because, like half of the people on the ship, I am dealing with my annual winter cold (even though it is summer here). So, we did sleep in, (no alarm bells this time) and got a tender at about 10:30 an sought out a cab driver. We found Maurice who was of German grandparents but spoke Spanish and French. He was learning English with a computer program. His goal was to learn the language by Christmas. He already could say “Merry Christmas” which became the default when he could not find the right word. When I couldn’t find the Spanish word, I replied with “Feliz Navidad.” (Although today my default language was Russian and not Albanian. He soon learned that “da” meant “yes.”)
The only other time we were here we went to Puerto Vargas and Frutillar, both settled by German immigrants (Maurice’s Grandparents) and have the look of Bavarian Towns. They sit on Lago (Lake) Llanquihue and have spectacular views of Volcans Osorno, Calbuco and Puntiagudio across the lake. When we were there 5 years ago we didn’t see the volcanos because of the low clouds. This time we decided to skip the German towns (although we had to drive through Puerto Vargas) and go to Parque Nacional Vincente Perez Rosales. Doing so we drove along Lake Llanquihue and got those views we missed 5 years ago. Google Translate provided us with more confusion as the mechanical female voice said “The beach is closed to contamination.” I did not know if the beach was closed because of contamination or if contamination was prohibited. I thought the later because a lot of people were swimming and some more google translating revealed that Puerto Vargas wanted to dump untreated swage into the lake and it was prevented from doing so. Along the road we encountered Alpaca attached to a coffee bar which also sold “Llama food” that you could buy for the equivalent of $2 and a Roma family of tinkers selling copper pots, I had not expected this in Chile, but given the Roma’s traveling history they probably arrived in America before Columbus. These Pics are from around Puerto Vargas. For the Park, check the next post.
For pictures from the Parque Nacional Vincente Perez Rosales please go to the next post.