Puerto Montt, this busy and interesting port city, has provided me a great base for my explorations the past two days. Upon arrival, I was fortunate to locate Residencial Costanera, a family run Residencial looking out over the port. Small, but clean and nice, a room with shared bath for only $8000 Pesos, breakfast included.
The owners, great hosts with two beautiful grandkids and a small but lovable poodle, have made my stay enjoyable. Yesterday after my laundry was cleaned, I checked to make sure the Beemer was in good shape, explored the city and after lunch decided to take a bus to Puerto Vagas, a popular tourist destination about 25 kilometers north of Puerto Montt. A nice bus ride for about 90 cents each way. Within 20 minutes I found myself in a beautiful hilly waterfront city looking out over the lago and onto two snowcapped volcanos. Pristine and beautiful!
And the beaches! Amazing, charcoal gray sand from the volcanic activity centuries past. Boats, swimmers and divers! And sunbathers! I tooka couple of photographs, particularly of the young ladies, but then better judgement prevailed and I erased them. After all, my daughter may be looking at the pictures Jacob is posting. Suffice it to say that thong bikinis are very popular here and certainly were well modeled by the young ladies on the beach. But, I only glanced for a second!
Strolling the scenic piers in Puerto Vagas, I happened to meet two fellow U.S. visitors. Phil and Joyce Dosien, visiting from Sedgwich, Kansas had also discovered the beauty and grace of southern Chile. Interesting travelers!. In response to a question as to where I live in Texas, I told them on the Texas coast. They then asked if I lived near the Kings Inn. What a coincidence, with the Kings Inn being one of my favorite restaurants in south Texas (second only to Baffin Bay Cafe) and only about three miles from mia casa.
Today, up early and out exploring. There is a small island a short distance from the dock here and yesterday I noticed a skiff making numerous trips back and forth carrying people with bags, groceries and other goods. There is a village on the island, so I surmised it was just the villagers traveling back and forth. Last night I finally discovered that most of the people were young and were carrying camping equipment, beach towels and food. Early this morning and I was on the skiff myself, paying 300 Pesos fare and was off on another side adventure. I spent an hour of so in the village and another hour exploring the beaches. Photographs of this will soon be posted.
This afternoon, I visited a fish market near the port and strolled the city. Actually, I would like to have another couple of days here. There is so much to see and the people are great. Chiloe, a large island is only a couple of hours south, by bus, and that provides a glimpse into a whole different Chilean culture. Just the reason to return to Chile, maybe next year!
Tomorrow, up early, preparing to depart for Puerto Natales. Four days and three nights aboard the Navimag ferry, the Magallanes, pushing thru the pristine fjords and beside the majestic glaciers of the southermost parts of Chile. Then a two or three day very challenging ride through the most southern parts of Pantagonia, over gravel roads, if I am lucky!
Then, Tierra Del Fuego, passing back and forth between Chile and Argentina and finally, Ushuaia. A dream-yes, but also a goal on the brink of being achieved!
I plan to arrive in Ushuaia December 22, 2008 and will stay until January 1, 2009. Remember, I will have no internet access for the time I am on the Magallanes, nor will I while I am making my way south on the gravel, but do not desert me now! Many of you have ridden along with me throughout this adventure and I certainly want to share my experiences with you for the ride into Tierra Del Fuego and finally, Ushuaia. Then, don`t forget, we have the 12,000 mile hop back to Texas, through Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Valenzuela, Surinam, Guyana, French Guiana and all the other great and beautiful countries of the northern portion of South America, all of Central America and then my first love, Mexico. Such an adventure just awaiting us!