Sunday, August 11, 2013

Puerto Montt and Castro, Chile

Puerto Montt and Castro were the last two stops before reaching our final destination of Valparaiso, Chile.
Puerto Montt (pop. 155,000) was founded in 1863 and settled by German immigrants and is a major port for export of farm raised salmon and mussels. It is also the gateway to the Lake District of Chile.
We were offered two tours out of Puerto Montt and we chose the ten hour trip to visit Puerto Varas, the Petrohue Rapids, and a short boat trip on Lago Todos los Santos in the shadow of the beautiful Osorno Volcano. Unfortunately, the rain obscured our view of the volcano and washed out the road to the lake. After many phone calls to the tour office our convoy was turned around to retreat towards Puerto Varas and an early lunch.
The lunch spot was the Yan Kee Way Lodge on Lago Llanquihue (nice play on words there) which is owned and operated by an American. On a clear day one has a nice view over the lake with Volcán Osorno looming in the background, but not today. It soon became a running joke with the guide that there really was no volcano, only talk of one! Because we had time to spare, we lingered over lunch then had a leisurely stop to wander around Puerto Varas. Before returning to the ship we visited the local market in Puerto Montt.
Of course, some of the passengers started to gripe about the couple of sighs that we had missed and at dinner many were still talking about it. When we returned to our cabin after dinner, there was a letter from the shore excursions manager informing us that we would receive a 40% refund on the abbreviated tour!! It spoke volumes to us as to what kind of service is provided by Compagnie du Ponant.
Yan Kee Way Lodge
Motorcycle art in the lodge
Flora at the lodge
Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Puerto Varas--the outside is covered in sheets of corrugated steel

Puerto Montt market
Colorful mussels
Many varieties of potatoes
Castro, on Chiloé Island, was founded in1576 making it the third oldest city in Chile. It is known for its palafitos, wooden houses on stilts; the island itself is known for its wooden churches. We spent about four hours visiting the town and the island villages of Chonchi and Villupulli during periods of light drizzle and rain, typical for this part of Chile.
Palafitos in Castro
Street art
Strange architecture
San Francisco Church
Even the columns are made of wood!
The exterior of the church is painted galvanized iron
The wooden church of San Antonio de Padua in Villupulli
Iglesia San Carlos de Chonchi
interesting window treatment on home in Chonchi
Siding patterns
Street art in Chonchi
Let sleeping dogs lie!
Castro harbor

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