The Hendersons Chile - 2016
2016 Tour of Chile
Monday - March 14
We had a shorter drive today so didn't need to rise too early. We hit the road about 11 o'clock in the morning and drove to our next destination Puerto Varas. Our hotel is another one of those upside down hotels with reception on the sixth floor. Our room is on the third floor at the corner of the hotel, and we have a breathtaking view out over the water towards the volcanoes. The one really tall and conical mountain is Vulcan Osorno. There is another volcano which we can see from our hotel room, and it has lost some of its top rather like our Mount Saint Helens. We understand that it last erupted just last year in April.
We got checked into our hotel, then took the car back into town to pick up some supplies. Later that evening we went out the back entrance of the hotel onto Santa Rosa St. Just next door to the hotel is a restaurant called Casa Valdez. We had dinner there and Mel had abalones and I had Hake. Another very fine meal.
Tuesday - March 15
This morning we were picked up at 9 o'clock and taken on a tour of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt. Our guide, Erwin, is very knowledgeable and speaks excellent English. He showed us a variety of buildings in both cities and took us to the fishmarket in Puerto Montt. That was probably the highlight of the tour.
After returning to our hotel, we walked into town and had lunch, then returned to our hotel. Later in the afternoon we walked back into town and had a cappuccino. In the evening we walked back into town to a restaurant named La Marca and had ribeye steaks. They were excellent but much too large, and I ate way too much.
Wednesday - March 16
We were picked up at 9 AM for a daylong tour of the island of Chiloe. We had booked group tours purposely because they were less expensive, and had been very fortunate that all our previous tours turned out to be just the two of us and our guide and driver. On this occasion we were in a bus with a fair number of other people. We were the only English speakers, so the guide had to explain things in two languages. He did the best he could, but a three minute explanation in Spanish became a 1 ½ minute explanation in English. I think by the end of the day he must have been exhausted.
The bus took us down to the ferry landing and onto the ferry for the trip across to the island. We visited several towns on the island, but although it appeared to be a very interesting trip when we were planning, it turned out to be not worth the time. We would not recommend this trip to anyone else.
The end of the trip was dinner in a restaurant that was less than mediocre in Castro. Mel had Curanto, a dish which is a specialty of the island of Chiloé. It was a very large quantity of mussels and various other things and she couldn't come close to finishing it. It wasn’t very appealing visually, as the potatoes (which were whole) were mushy and gray.
By the time we got back to our hotel it was quite late. We went to the restaurant in the hotel and Mel had a salad. I had been feeling off all day and had nothing to eat. When we got back to our room Mel realized that my face was rather hot and nursed me, putting cold towels on my face to help cool me down. Fortunately, by the next morning I was feeling better.
Thursday - March 17
When we awoke, it was pouring buckets. We were concerned that we would have to stay in the hotel for the entire day, but Mel found a museum that sounded interesting. She also found a restaurant that sounded pretty decent, so we decided to go there for lunch and then on to the museum. The restaurant was closed, and the location of the museum as shown on TripAdviser was not even close. We went to the tourist information office and got directions to the museum.
This museum is dedicated to the German colonists who settled in this area. The lady who greeted us when we entered was one of the descendants of those German colonists and was delightful. She took us around the museum and showed us and explained to us a number of things in the exhibits. Her father had decided to create the museum and had asked others in the area to donate items. Originally he had set the museum up in his basement, but soon ran out of space and refurbished his barn and moved the museum there. It was a fascinating collection of items that indicated what life was like for those colonists when they first settled here. The ingenuity of those colonists in creating implements for everyday life was fascinating.
The nice lady in the museum suggested that we go to the town of Frutillar for lunch. She described it as a delightful place. We went back up the highway and took the exit for Frutillar. We could sense where the lake should be but were never able to figure out how to get to it. We finally gave up and headed back for Puerto Varas. Frutillar had more street dogs than any of the other towns we visited.
We stopped in town and had a snack in the later part of the afternoon, and then returned to our hotel. A little later we went for a walk, and that evening had dinner at Casa Valdez again. We are now back in our hotel room and have done as much packing as possible in preparation for our return to the US tomorrow.
Friday - March 18
We finished packing in the morning and had some fruit in the hotel dining room, then checked out and drove into town. We went into the restaurant called Cassis to try and have a decent breakfast for a change. We both ordered omelets and Marilyn's was pretty decent, however mine was watery rather like the hotel scrambled eggs. We had to park our car on the street and finally understand the parking system. When you park, the attendant puts a time stamped ticket under your windshield wiper. When you are ready to leave, he sees you approach the car, looks at the ticket and his watch and tells you the fee. Our particular attendant addressed Mel as ‘Senora Vecchia’ or something close – which means ‘old woman’. Good thing he wasn’t looking for a tip. We finished our breakfast and made a relatively short drive to the airport, got our rental car checked in and got checked in for our flight back to Santiago. We had a fairly long layover there but eventually boarded the plane for our flight home. It was another overnight flight that left late and got into Dallas just before 5:00 AM. We actually had to wait at the gate for five minutes before we could deplane because we pulled up to the gate before the customs and immigration agents came on duty.
Saturday – March 19
We had setup an account on Uber before leaving for Chile and used the Uber app on my phone to request a ride to Matt’s home. It took a little doing to get through the app the first time, but it all worked out well. We used it again for our ride back to the airport for our flight to Seattle, and again for our ride from the Towne Center to our home. We are very impressed.
It's been a great trip to Chile and we look forward to sharing some of our memories with friends.