Thursday, March 19, 2015

chile ~ vineyards, volcanic peaks and vistages from the past

Chile is a long, narrow strip of a country...situated between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  Today it is one of South America's more stable and prosperous nations.

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 could mistake them for penguins. 

We took a tour through the untouched landscapes to Otway Sound.

Though our destination was the natural habitat of the Magellanic penguin colonies...we saw much more en route.  There were guanacas (a camel-like mammal), rhea (an ostrich-like bird that cannot fly), and flocks of condors (the national symbol of Chile).

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 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 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 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 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 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 seems!  

Our tour of Santiago came to an did our time in Chile.

Though I may not recall all the historic facts and dates for memories will always include our visit to the beautiful countryside...and the mountains of Chile.

Next stop?  Peru.


  1. Beautiful photos....really enjoy seeing other parts of the world through your travels!


  2. What an adventure between penguins, mountain peaks, farmlands, vineyards, modern high-rises to fruit carts and guarded places! I thought of Central park in New York, the diverse city sights in Jakarta and the vineyards in California as I scrolled through the photos. Thank you for letting us get a glimpse into a South American tour/cruise.

  3. Beautiful country with a lot of interesting historical facts and pretty amazing animals. It dawns on me that I know precious little about the animal kingdom. I am not certain, but somehow I'm thinking Peru will be a lot like Chile. Those mountains are beautiful, but not as wonderful as your very own.

    1. Forgot to say that I love the sound of a pan flute. That dates me to my Zamfir (sp?) days. Ha!

  4. Your visit to Chile will always be remembered thanks to the great guide you had. i find it's the contact you have with the local people that leaves a lasting impression in my mind. Beautiful photos Judy. I will look back on your other posts.

  5. It really is beautiful countryside there Judy, with a nice variety of landscapes. You had a wonderful tour.

  6. Why a beautiful place and lovely photos!

  7. Wow Judy - this trip was amazing. I am so enjoying reading and seeing about your adventure. The Osorno Volcano is magnificent! Looking forward to Peru - one of the farmer's wish destinations.

  8. Such amazing scenery. Places so different from what we are used to. I'm still enthralled that you got to see penguins in their own habitat.

  9. The Chilian countryside looks very lush and fruitful! The Osorno Volcano looks beautiful. The people look very the city. I've seen pushcarts selling fruit in NYC but that is a fast fading era.

  10. Those are beautiful photos of Chile. I can totally enjoy the landscape and yes, it does have an appearance of some European towns. Red Holsteins are rare here but are highly sought after.
    I can see that you really enjoyed people watching....the bright colors, and just a different way of doing life.

  11. Honestly, I cannot think of a better thing to do on a very cold and windy Sunday afternoon, then to sit here reading and looking at all of your latest posts!!! It was the best way to pass time, and because you are so good at documenting, I almost felt like I was there too. Wow! What amazing places you two visited, and what interesting facts you shared! Thank you! Thank you! Now I too want to go.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson