So this will be an overview of the trip so far. We flew from JFK in New York City nonstop to SCL Santiago Chile on January 5.
We stayed one night in Santiago and then flew the next day to Balmaceda via Puerto Montt. That was the black line on the map. We were then driven to Coyhaique where we stayed a week at the lodge. Then we flew to Puerto Montt (the red line) where we drove to Puerto Varas and saw Lake LLanquihue and all the volcanos with Isabel (except when it was cloudy!). We then flew back to Santiago and drove northwest to Valparaiso which is on the coast. Then we will fly to Easter Island. I will keep the rest secret for now!
Santiago is inland and surrounded by mountains. There are three major tunnels between the interior of Santiago and the outskirts. Smog gets progressively worse as you near the city center.
As we say good bye to Puerto Montt, I will give you a little more Chilean history. Chile was declared independent from Spain in 1818. The government felt that it was important to exert sovereignty over the south of Chile and 212 German colonists came to Lake LLanquihue to farm. It is interesting to note that what you and I consider middle Chile, is considered South Chile to Chileans. Further south, where the Fjords and Patagonia are was not colonized until the middle area was established, and was already considered the South! Confused? I am. Just remember Patagonia is south of south Chile.
Good bye Lake LLanquihue! Good bye Volcano Orsono!
The clouds lifted the further north we flew. You can see the Andes again.
A closer view of some of the volcanoes. The one on the left already blew its top off and a glacier sits in the cone. You can tell the volcano is inactive as you can see the glacier.
When we landed I found out that the large group with us on the plane was an Alumni group from Harvard. Even though they went to Harvard, they had to board the bus with us to go to the terminal.
JP, (Juan Pablo, who was our guide earlier during our stay in Santiago) and our driver picked up and drove us to Valparaiso. It took about a 90 minute drive from the airport. Did you know that there are 5 Valparaiso’s in the world? Valparaiso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Valparaíso is also the third largest metropolitan area in the country. Before the Panama Canal was created, the city was a major port for those traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The city is known for its funiculars, graffiti, cobblestone streets, and colorful clifftop homes. There is lots of graffiti here, the city has not banned spray cans yet. Valparaíso is in the process of installing street cameras in hopes of decreasing the amount of graffiti.
There are beautiful murals all over.
After winding through many narrow streets and hills we arrived at our hotel. You can see how narrow and steep some of the streets are.
Hotel Palacio Astoreca hotelpalacioastoreca.cl will be our hotel for the next few days. Steve and I have been enjoying our stays at these smaller boutique hotels as opposed to the many hundred room hotels. These smaller hotels are all quite unique. Our hotel has only 24 rooms. The entrance to the hotel is near the front of the uppermost van in the picture.
The hotel was damaged in an earthquake about ten years ago. The inside has been renovated and it has a quite modern style. I don’t really know how to describe the outer architectural style.
This is a reception area off the lobby. The reception desk is off to the left.
There was a lovely library in the hotel and Steve climbed the movable stairs to get a couple of books. He now knows many facts about Picasso.
Our room was on the third floor. Thankfully there was an elevator! We were assigned room #17. It was the receptionist’s favorite room. We liked it too!
Steve examining the rooms before our bags got unpacked and spoiled the pristine room.
This was another view of the bed. For some strange unexplained reason there was a strange wooden frame around the side of the bed. It made it very difficult to get in and out of the bed. Steve considered this an “unfriendly bed”.
The bath with a waterfall shower head.
Hmm, should we see if this leads to the outside?
It does! Steve is a good sport and imitates an exhausted traveler lying on the chaise lounge. Now I must tell you that some of these clever posed pictures are not Steve’s ideas, but mine. He takes great pictures of his fingers so I have to direct him in the poses that I want commemorated. He is a good husband and plays along with me, I think that I will keep him.
Here is one of the views from our patio. Con Con on the top left, Reñaca a little to the right. Vina Del Mar is across the water above the large salmon building in the center of the picture. Valparaiso follows to the right and the bottom of the picture. Our room had a beautiful view of the bay, although I think all the views from the hotel were fabulous!Here is a video from our balcony during the daytime.
Let’s go to dinner at the hotel, shall we? We need to descend the spiral staircase to the restaurant on the first floor. (I hate spiral staircases!)
It’s 7:30, and we are ready for dinner. Most people in South America don’t eat dinner until 8 p.m. Your eyes are in focus, I am trying the blurred shot to soften the wrinkles in Steve’s face. Just kidding, I don’t know what went wrong!
A lovely Pisco Sour, the orange on the foam is a dash of bitters, which cuts the sweetness of the drink.
Our rolls couple, ready to be slathered with butter and eaten!
For his starter, Steve had the house special. Bacon foam, mashed potatoes, and Scallops topped with a saffron foam. It was ethereal!
My skinny knife for my beef entree.
I had the beef filet with gratin dauphinois potatoes, topped with a muleteer salad and pickled zucchini cubes. Steve had the salmon. I forgot to take a picture of it!
It’s years later, and I look at this menu, wishing I could have one of everything right now. However we were too full that night to order anything more. However, if the menu was prix fixe, no doubt I would have insisted that Steve and I each try something different and share! The pricing was in Chilean Pesos. Now 1000 pesos is equivalent to about $1.50.
The sun had set before I got a chance to take a picture of it glittering over the water. I sure didn’t miss the street signs, and utility poles! Does this win the prize of worst picture ever? No! It doesn’t have a finger in the view!
Back up to the room, I discover our special treat!
I love pistachio macaroons ! In fact, I love all macaroons!
Here is the video from our balcony at night.
Good night Valparaíso!
Have you enjoyed my trip so far?
Have you ever been on a college alumni travel tour?
One of my readers has, can she figure out how to reply to the question?
Her initials are JLB, in case she has not figured out the answer to question number 2!
Wish me luck on her answering question number 3! As she doesn’t read old blogs, I rate my chances slim to none.