December 8 – Puerto Montt, Chile
This port surprised us. Puerto Montt, and the surrounding area are mountainous and exhibit a very strong German influence. Apparently in the mid 1800s the Chilean government, in an attempt to populate the southern part of their country, created a state sponsored immigration program which saw some 100,000 Germans settle in this area. The moderate (chilly?) climate and hilly fertile landscape held great appeal to these settlers. Their heritage is still very much present in the names of businesses and the architecture.
This is the first port that we had to “tender” into rather than be tied up a a dock – this is typical in small ports, and the ships life boats are used for this purpose. They lower 4 or 5 of them and run a continuous ferry service all day.
While we are landing at Puerto Montt, named after an early President of Chile, we have learned that the real attraction here lies to the north in the towns of of Los Lagos and Frutillar, which means Strawberry – which is all it took for Zaga to express her preference.
Once again the value of Zaga speaking Spanish was apparent, as it allowed us to engage a driver (Spanish speaking) for the day. Chris turned out to be a most knowledgeable and pleasant guide, even though three of us had no idea what he was saying.
We traveled quickly through Puerto Montt to Los Lagos which, as the name indicates is on a beautiful freshwater lake. Sally and Zaga immediately found this German chocolate store and loaded up.
While Dan and I explored the area.
This sign advertising a German bakery fascinated me – I guess it looks like some bakery item, but I am not sure. The white border makes it look like it was photoshopped – but it wasn’t, you are seeing it as it stands on the sidewalk.
Once again – evidence of the strong German presence. Aleman is Spanish for “German”.
After consulting our driver, we decided to visit Frutillar, and then return later to Los Lagos for lunch.
On the way we passed several freshwater salmon farms.
Zaga exploring the beach.
I don’t know where Dan was – a friendly passerby took this.
This is the local event center – beautiful architecture.
A close up of the fascinating covering of the event center.
We returned to Los Lagos after Zaga loaded up on Strawberries and blueberries.
We debated whether to go to a German restaurant or a Chilean one – there were plenty of each. We decided on Chilean, and I ordered something I couldn’t pronounce – it turned out to be peppers stuffed with crab meat, and was delicious.
After lunch we motored back to Puerto Montt, said adios to Chris and rejoined the ship.