Rented a car and with friends Frank and Erhard drove southeast of Santiago, almost to the Argentine border, to the Baños Morales. This was a two hour drive, an hour of which was on dirt roads.
The baths are at an altitude of about 1800 meters (about a mile), and are surrounded by even higher Andes.
Lunch. Isabella was our waitress and cook; and in the very rustic surroundings produced wonderful chicken, pork, and salsa.
Location:Villa del Valle, Chile
Valparaiso is the main port of Chile, and where our cruise ends. The name can be rendered in English as “Paradise Valley”, though it isn’t exactly a valley, lying between the Pacific and steep hills (much of the city is on these hills).
A day of great weather. Lucky for us, as we were able to see the three local volcanos. Puerto Montt is a city of 200,000. Salmon and fruit are exported through its port, and it is surrounded by farms of the Germans who settled there in the 19th century.
It is also an exceptionally beautiful area, and Lago Llanquihue draws tourists from other parts of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, despite the facts that it rains a lot and the water is really cold. These were taken at Puerto Varas, a tourist town half an hour north of Puerto Montt.
Location:Puerto Montt, Chile
Left Punta Arenas through the Straits of Magellan, emerging early this morning into open ocean and sailing north. The waves, though not the winds, are as bad as Cape Horn. I noticed a new accessory in the ships elevators: puke bags. And I see more people with casts on an arm.
Nothing to see except the sea.
Punta Arenas grew wealthy from the ships going round Cape Horn; and fell on hard times after the Panama Canal. Oil, natural gas, tourism, and sheep – as our Spanish-accented guide put it, “ship farming” – are its current mainstays. Panoramic view.
We went to a museum whose collection was assembled by a couple of Italian priests-missionaries. One of them was a rather good photographer, who documented both nature and the local aborigines. Here’s a condor.
Across the street was the music conservatory for the local university.
Location:Punta Arenas, Chile
We left Ushuaia through the Beagle Channel, near dusk so the light is not good. Glaciers are hard to photograph – sharp contrasts of dark and light.
Ushuaia, state of Tierra del Fuego, is surprisingly large: population 100,000. Turns out there is a thriving electronics industry there (tax-free zone).
Alternately raining and snowing when we arrived, the day did not seem promising; but we hired a driver to take us to Tierra del Fuego National Park. The area is a rain forest, so it is verdant with unfamiliar trees and mosses. Not good light for photography that day, though.
Both town and park are graced with mountains. Ushuaia is the jumping off point for tours to Antarctica, and is crawling with old people like us from the cruise, and Australian back-packers, some of whom carried surfboards (?). Later, the sun came out – but so did the wind.