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  • Day14

    Day 11 - Lake and Volcanoes

    January 9, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 2 °C

    Up early for continental breakfast then line up for tender tickets as we docked in Puerto Montt. The port does not have a bearth long enough for the Eclipse, so to go ashore, we take the tenders, lifeboats acting as water taxis. We were invited to jump the queue because we were ready to go immediately. The tenders hold about 120 people each and the ship deployed four to ferry us to the dock. The ride was smooth and quick (10 minutes).

    At the Celebrity dock, the shore staff guided us out into the Chilean port. Our tour guide was to meet us outside the port gate and she was waiting as a brief shower passed over. We were early so sat in the lobby of the port building to wait. Right on time, we loaded the 30-passenger bus with the rest of our tour group and took off. Darla, our guide, kept up a running commentary of what we saw as we passed through Puerto Montt and on the rest of our trip.

    Puerto Montt is the gateway to Patagonia, the southern Andes highlands, shared with Argentina. It is a large, fairly modern city and a big port. The Great Chilean Earthquake of 1960, created a tsunami that wiped out most of the town. The people have rebuilt and it seemed a thriving city as we drove through it. We headed out of the city, climbing past a colorful folk art painted wall.

    Along the whole drive from around the area, the land is heavily and productively farmed using up-to-date methods. There are grain fields, vegetable farms, fruit orchards, cattle ranches, and other crops. The area was settled by German Lutherans fleeing persecution and economic hardship in the 1840s onwards. The architecture is very German. The drive throughout the day was sometimes in rain. Short showers came and went, usually lasting only five to ten minutes. At one point, hail spattered the bus and ground for 15 seconds.

    The hills and mountains rose up as we went inland to Lake Llanquihue, a huge glacial lake. Puerto Varas is on the shore of the lake, a short 30 minutes away from Pto. Montt. We continued through Pto. Varas to Rosales National Park . The 15 minute drive along the lake was beautiful. The towering Osorno Volcano rose up, snow-topped, its peak hidden by clouds ahead to the left, on the lakeside. Rising up on the inland side was the Calbuco Volcano.

    The Petrohue Falls are between the two volcanoes. This is a falls on the glacial fed Petrohue River. A short walk over well marked and crowded paths opens onto to the rushing, intensely aqua river crashing and swishing over and through the old volcanic basalt. The river drains a glacial lake high up between volcanoes.

    We went back along Lake Llanquihue the way we'd come to Pto. Varas. We stopped in town for a half hour look around then to a parking lot on the lakeside where our guide and driver served us homemade empanadas and Chilean wine. Best empanadas we've had and a great wine.

    The tour took us to the small town of Fruitilla while Darla continued to explain the German heritage of th he area. Another of the German settlments along the Llanquihue, Fruitilla is only two long streets on the lakeside but it is known for its kuchen and struddle and theater. We carried out a blueberry kuchen and tea and coffee from a packed, tiny bakery and ate under the eves of the theater-on-the-lake while another shower passed. The theater is a modern building that produces many shows and holds classes.

    The bus took us back to Pto. Montt and left us at the passenger terminal where we got the tender back to the Eclipse.

    In the evening, we took in the show before dinner. The stage hosted Teacake, the "Duchess of Soul." She did a tribute set to Areatha Franklin and Whitney Houston. She was great! We lingered over dinner with our table mates, talking about our common but coincidental professions (3 engineers and 3 educators) and our German ancestry.

    Tomorrow and the next are days at sea.
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