Blogs from Chile, South America

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South America » Chile » Araucanía » Pucón March 26th 2020

On the rare occasion you must visit the grocery store, I have a great idea to break the boredom at home. Venture over to the well stocked wine section of your store. Nobody is there, six feet social distancing is not a problem! Instead of buying your usual red or white wine, try this: step over to a section of a country you have not tried before. Some choices I would recommend: Chile, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and France. But you might ask why? I say give it a try and do a little research. Be your own sommelier. How many times have I discovered a new wine by chatting with the wine steward, or another diner? Maybe try something sweeter or drier than your normal choice. Or my favorite, a sparkling wine! ... read more
Lots of choices
Wine and duct tape

South America » Chile March 23rd 2020

Sunday 15 March – Punta Arenas harbour We woke at 6.45am in order to be ready for cruising glacier alley at 7.30am, where it was planned that we’d pass 5 glaciers before 9am. I opened the curtains, saw a plethora of lights on the shore and my first thought was “Glacier Alley is a lot more populated than I expected.” At this point, my hubby used a couple of choice swear words as he read out a statement that had been popped under our door during the night. It said “ As we were sailing down to Glacier Alley late last night, we were informed that Chile would be following Argentina in closing its ports at 8am due to Covid. We decided to turn the ship around and we anchored in Punta Arenas harbour at 2.30am ... read more
Sarmiento Channel, Chilean Fjords
Torres del Paine NP in the background
60mph cross winds

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago March 15th 2020

It's a beautiful Sunday morning here in Santiago, Chile. Most of our small group arrived on Friday morning, looking forward to a lovely trip through four countries in South America, and for me, another chance to escape some of the winter's colorless cold in Maine. Our group numbers only ten intrepid travellers; eight had already cancelled for fears of the coronavirus or of the unknown. As it turned out, they were the smart ones. I hardly expected this trip to go forward because of all the shutdowns, but after calling Vantage and the airline multiple times (including on the morning I left home), I was repeatedly told that there were no problems in South America. So I travelled most of the day Thursday, and after arriving on Friday morning we met our Vantage leader, Nadia, and ... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Zapallar March 6th 2020

It’s summer in Chile, and that means Santiago drains of people and everyone heads off for summer vacation. Traffic is lighter and the city is quiet. Everyday is sunny and 30-35, every Sunday includes an afternoon BBQ at your friend’s (including lots of wine) and really, my favourite, most evenings include sitting out on our terrazza and enjoying the beautiful Santiago summer nights. This also means that the protestors, politicians and maybe police have all gone on vacation too, as despite the ongoing turmoil in the country, there has been relatively little protesting going on, except for the usual Friday night shenanigans in Plaza Italia/Dignidad that have been ongoing since the social crisis started in October. It is however, still on everyone’s mind, as right now there is a lot of anticipation for the return to ... read more
Christmas in Zapallar
Feliz Navidad...
Preparing for a different kind of Christmas Eve Dinner

South America » Chile » Santiago Region March 2nd 2020

Saturday 22nd February 2020 Another sea day and we didn’t get to Magellan Straights until mid afternoon. Bitterly cold wind, even though the sun was out - it was Chile!! Lol. The straights narrow to a gap about a mile wide which we reached about 7.30pm – we saw a few Comison dolphins but otherwise very quiet! Sea wise!! Sunday 23rd February 2020 I hope the penguins appreciated the effort (and cost – $310!!) to see them!! I somehow doubt it!! Up at 6.00 am to meet in the Theatre for our Cunard trip at 7.45am. Onto the tender, then onto the coach and along to our transport to Magdelena Island that was declared a national monument in 1982 and had a pinguinera (penguin colony!!) Transport left a lot to be desired!! It was an old ... read more
Our Ferry Boat
Sei Whale on Magellan Straights
Bad selfie with Amalia Glacier

South America » Chile » Araucanía » Pucón January 20th 2020

I think there is probably a general feeling, because I misunderstood this before I came down here, that the working culture in South America is let’s say, a bit more casual…more days off, less hours, etc. This is a misconception as I quickly discovered by a quick search of Chilean work culture before I came down here (uh-oh, spaghetti-o!). Workweeks are actually a standard 45 hours, and the standard hours in the office 8 to 6 every day. Time-off is generally pretty limited, with standard contracts having three weeks, with very little flexibility to negotiate further (although I did, heh-heh)…I should mention that Steph is on an expat contract, while little ol’ me, well I’m on a Chilean contract, so I am part of the system – Pension (AFP), Health (Isapre), time-off, etc, and also a ... read more
Hiding from the Hail
Salto La China
Zoe Falls?

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso January 9th 2020

Our cruise came to a rather abrupt end when we couldn't moor at Puerto Montt because of an approaching weather system. Storms are not called storms any more but weather systems. The captain made the decision to run for home before the storm otherwise we may have become stranded there and not been able to make it to San Antonio, the port for Santiago, in time for us all to make our onward flights. Our last two days were very relaxing playing cards and Rummicub, reading, doing puzzles, swimming (me) and probably eating and drinking too much. We did go to the gym twice. The sea was as calm as a mill pond. We have been so lucky with the weather. Arriving in San Antonio at 2pm a day early every was keen to get off ... read more
The Promenade
Permanent chess set up on the promenade
The caricature artist at work

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Chacabuco January 6th 2020

The weather certainly changed as we came north through the Patagonian Fiords, rain, wind, mist, and lower temperatures. Not as low as the Antarctic but it felt much colder with the wind chill factor. Photos are not very good with all the rain and mist. A few sea days have seen playing games - chess, rummicub and catching up on reading. In one of the fiords we passed a wreck caused by a confusion between right, left, starboard and port. I hope the officers on board the Zaandam, know the difference. A couple of small ports have been interesting, Puerto Chacabuco and Castro. From Puerto Chacabuco we travelled over the Andes, albeit the lowest part of them, to the capital of the region Coyhaique which is on the eastern side of the Andes not in Argentina. ... read more
Scenery by the Museum
Small fuschia is the national flower
A convoy of modern buses.

South America » Chile » Magallanes January 2nd 2020

We sailed though Glacier Alley in the Beagle Channel after leaving Ushuaia yesterday. The weather was misty with a freezing cold wind. Colder than anything we've had so far, although it may have been because the temperature got up to 20 in the afternoon and we all thought we didn't need antarctic clothes any more. We knew there were 5 glaciers, all named after countries so had to stay out side as we counted them off. The first four went past and we had to wait a while for the fifth which was the most spectacular - a hanging glacier with a torrent of water cascading out from under the ice splitting in two as it reached an outcrop and carried on to the sea. It's a pity it was so misty as the photos are ... read more
Close up of the face of it
The ferry that goes between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas
Glacier 2

South America » Chile » Magallanes December 21st 2019

I have always wanted to see December Solstice in the southern hemisphere. Growing up in North America, December 21 was always so short and this year I decided to experience as long of a day as possible on December 21. In Punta Arenas the sun rose at 5:12am and set at 10:10pm. Of course, being so far south it got light long before 5am and was light out until well after 11pm. It was exactly what I was hoping for! I had planned three tours with https://turismoselknam.cl from Punta Arenas: Magdalena Island, Tierra del Fuego and whale watching. The day before the whale watching it was cancelled due to predicted high winds, which I gather is quite common that close to Antarctica. Fortunately, I was able to replace it with a day in the Torres del ... read more
King Penguins in Tierra del Fuego
King Penguins Incubating Eggs
Flamingoes and Andean Geese




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