A Travellerspoint blog

Hornopirén - Chaitén


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Chile must be the nirvana of baby boomers in outdoor clothing. They are everywhere. They are grey. They are wide on all sides around. They look like they are ready to go bear hunting. Nothing like us, clearly. We just for a beer and a glass of wine.
In Argentina, every bank, government building, and street corner is guarded by heavily armed men in uniform. There are regular road blocks where somewhat less heavily armed men, and some unarmed women, run identity checks and inspect your luggage. Not so in Chile. Here you do not need to carry an ID. Here people congregate by rivers, in parks, on squares, and chat. This may be my naiveté: their Dutch is much worse than my Spanish, after all, so they may well be planning to rob us or depose the immensely unpopular national lady in chief, but it just doesn’t feel that way. Instead, in a restaurant without a menu, four of them gather at our table and patiently try to explain what they can prepare for us. Usually we wind up with “salmón” because it is the only word we recognize and, this being fjord country, we trust them to know how to cook fish. The salmon isn’t half bad, either. In many ways, despite its fairly recent violent dictatorship past, Chile is more like the New Zealand of South America. You know: New Zealand of four seasons in one day, where they do things differently, and the most dangerous animal is the sheep. I like it here, in other words, and so far the weather is really nice, too.
Yesterday was the ferry ride through Fiordo Comau. Actually two ferries:
A big one:
The big ferry

The big ferry

With views like these:
View from the big ferry

View from the big ferry

And a small one:
The little ferry

The little ferry

And then on to Chaitén, a town wiped away by a massive volcano eruption in 2008 but slowly getting back on its feet again, where today we took a hike in Parque Pumalin.

The volcano over Chaitén

The volcano over Chaitén

Chaitén - Parque Pumalin - El Amarillo glacier

Chaitén - Parque Pumalin - El Amarillo glacier

Posted by FierceOrc 08:19 Archived in Chile Tagged carretera_austral 4wd Comments (0)

The road taken. And shaken.


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Today we got the car and hit the road for the first time. Not the Carretera Austral at first. Drove by and stopped at rapids called Saltos de Petrohue and the Osorno volcano, again,

The Osorno volcano

The Osorno volcano

as well as some others and then went the unpaved way for a couple of hours until we reached Ruta 7, Carretera Austral, at Caleta Puelche.

Carretera Austral

Carretera Austral

Picked up two Dutch girls with bikes, no seriously two Dutch girls on bikes,

Two Dutch girls with bikes

Two Dutch girls with bikes

who had apparently underestimated how tough unpaved roads can be, and took them with us to Hornopirén. They just about fit in the truck bed.

Ferry, tomorrow.

Posted by FierceOrc 16:49 Archived in Chile Tagged carretera_austral 4wd Comments (0)

Puerto Varas


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Puerto Varas
Flew into Puerto Montt along with a whole bunch of elderly Americans. Discussed how they should be prohibited from leaving the airport. Were driven to the lovely German-heritage town of Puerto Varas with a Feria de Café in progress and bratwurst was sold. Nice views.

The hotel

The hotel

Osorno volcano

Osorno volcano

Had a relaxing dinner with a bottle of syrrah wine at La Gringa restaurant. Then a whole bunch of elderly Americans took over the place. Looks like the Chilean authorities do not have this travel restriction policy down yet. Need more practice, better examples.
No fires to be seen. First usage of duct tape. We’re getting in the mood.

Posted by FierceOrc 03:05 Tagged carretera_austral 4wd Comments (0)

Santiago


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The first thing we do in Santiago is go to the hotel. Even with a 90-minute delay, the room is not ready. We head into town and grab a table in the first restaurant. Turns out to be Peruvian and not at all a bad choice. The bill is in beautiful longhand:
90_20170128_183735.jpg

The Heineken was not mine, by the way. After lunch, we detour through the Mercado Central:
20170128_184706_1_.jpg
I guess you can tell what it is also known as.

Posted by FierceOrc 12:09 Archived in Chile Tagged carretera_austral 4wd Comments (0)

The arrival


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So, how does Business class stack up?
1. You get to sit on the tarmac for an hour and a half. Waiting for a dog apparently. I know, in Economy they’re not going anywhere, either, but that’s pretty much what you would expect there.
2. You get your appetizer and dessert served on one plate. They’re not saying that they’ll come by with your main course a little. In my case after I had finished my French selection.
3. Chicken, FISH or pasta. Whatever will I choose?
4. The seat is a tad more comfortable than a dentist’s chair. And you don’t have two people talking to each other over your head and you can’ tell them to shut the f*ck up because of all the metal sticking out of your mouth.
5. The hostess fastens your seatbelt for you when you’re sleeping and the plane hits turbulence.
Overall, I’d say this was a successful night spent in the air.

Posted by FierceOrc 11:48 Archived in Chile Tagged carretera_austral 4wd Comments (0)

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