Our ports of call took us to three distinct area of the country. Our first stop was Punta Arenas...where it rarely rains but the wind always blows and the warmest it ever gets is 57°F in the heat of the summer. It was summer while we were there...though it never felt like it! Punta Arenas is a sprawling port city on the edge of the Magellan Strait.
The cormorants were out on the dock...awaiting our arrival. From a distance...one could mistake them for penguins.
We took a tour through the untouched landscapes to Otway Sound.
Sometimes called the Jackass penguin, the Magellenic penguin is the largest species of warm water penguin. They seemed to be having a whale of a time...in and out of the water.
These five suddenly realized they had been left behind...and were making a bee-line for the shore. They were a rather noisy lot...squawking, shrieking and braying.
Following our trek across the wilds to the penguin rookery...we returned to the ship and carried on up the coast to the city of Puerto Montt.
The Osorno Volcano seems to show up in most of the photos I took during our time there!
We drove towards it...passing through beautiful farmlands.
The herds of cattle were all red...Holsteins, apparently. Where I come from...Holsteins are usually black and white!
Our most excellent tour guide...was quite eager and willing to pose for a photo. His name is Andres Oyarzun Gonzalez and if you are ever in Puerto Montt...he is the one you want as a tour guide. The sign is a little hard to read...but you can contact him at Patagonia Southern Land Adventures. He was awesome!
The Osorno Volcano rises 8,700 feet into the sky...and is one of Chile's most well-known active volcanoes. We got 'up close and personal'!
Also in the Vicente Perez National Park and not far from the volcano...is Petrohue Falls. We walked to the viewing platforms...where we watched huge quantities of clear turquoise water rushing over the volcanic rocks. Quite beautiful!
We spent some time at Puerto Varas...a city on the edge of Lake Llanquihue that was established by the German immigrants some 150 years ago. It is also known as 'the city of roses' since the German locals have a fondness for flowers and roses bloom throughout the town. We wandered about...enjoyed Chilean music in the city square...strolled along the waterfront...and took note of all the European architecture. It felt rather like a Swiss resort town to us.
Once back at the pier...we took tender boats back to the cruise ship...for our final leg of the journey to Valparaiso. This is where our cruise officially ended...but we joined a group of 55 others who were not going home but staying to spend a week in Peru. From the ship we carried on by coach...another 70 kilometers from the seaport city of Valparaiso to Santiago.
We passed through the Casablanca Valley and the beautiful Indomita winery.
Soon we were in Santiago...Chile's capital and largest city. Founded in 1541...it appears to be quite a modern city in this day and age. At least...from a distance!
As we walked about the city square...I got a slightly different perspective. It seems they deliver gas to your door...on wheels.
Fruits and vegetables are pushed about the main streets on carts. That is not something we would see in Vancouver.
We spent some time at the Plaza de Armas...which has been here since the founding of Santiago in 1541. Shade, benches and pigeons... a great place to watch people.
Facing the square is Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral...several centuries old and open to the public. Quite lovely!
We arrived at Palacio La Moneda...the Government Palace...as the crowds arrived for the 'changing of the guard' ceremony. All the nearby streets were closed off...and the flag with the coat of arms was flying over the building...indicating that the president was 'in the house'. Unfortunately...we had a schedule to keep and couldn't wait around for the main event to take place. The historic palace itself was definitely worth seeing though. Built in 1805...it has been home to all the Chilean presidents since that time. Much of the building was destroyed by bombs during the military coupe of 1973...and underwent major restoration.
A statue of Diego Portales stands facing the palace. He was a 19th century statesman who shaped the government politics and wrote the Constitution of 1833. Almost two centuries later...he still has a body guard...it seems!
Our tour of Santiago came to an end...as did our time in Chile.
Though I may not recall all the historic facts and dates for long...my memories will always include our visit to the beautiful countryside...and the mountains of Chile.
Next stop? Peru.