Coyhaique, Chile. Wednesday January 11, 2017

It appears that I posted Thursday’s blog post before Wednesday. Oh well, here is the proper post. Reread Thursday’s again before I post Friday and you will be all set!

Wednesday morning! Since Steve was such a good sport in spending the day with me yesterday, I told him I would tag along with him today. I always say that I don’t want to get between him and a big fish. Steve says that he doesn’t mind. I hope I catch at least one fish and he gets the big ones!

Here is an exposed copper cut in the rocks. See the green? That is oxidized copper!

Steve and our guide for the day, Troy. They are looking for fish.

Steve looking at the condors. They are somewhere above us.

The two black spots above Steve’s head are condors.

Here is a video of them. Don’t worry about the above picture being sideways. The video plays normal.

Armadillo road kill. These guys are very hairy. This one was very flat and hairy.

Steve casting. I fished a little bit, but as I had no luck I found a nice log and leaned against it while I read a book. It sure was difficult getting back up again! You can see why Steve enjoys fly fishing so much. The countryside here is gorgeous.

Here is Steve landing a fish. Did you know that in 2016 Steve caught 2028 fish? C’s husband is a big fisherman also. His goal is to go fishing for a week every month of the year. So this is how Steve started his goal (he says I started the goal) of a fish a month until he is too old and decrepit to fish. This is why we are always traveling! So far on the three days he has fished at Coyhaique he has caught 114 fish!

Steve and his nice fish.

The fields were filled with pretty flowers.

Part of our adventure was crossing the barbed wire fence.

Foot placement and hip elevation is important in crossing the fences in your waders and fishing boots.

Steve was more graceful than I was, but he has been doing this for years.

Up and over.

When I went over the fence I was sure I was going to fall on my butt! But I didn’t. Ha Ha!

The signage for roads is great here. You would think with all the gravel roads, they would have lousy signs, but that is not true at all. This is where we will stop for lunch.

So here I am beat and tired and waiting to sit down and eat lunch. I almost caught an 18 1/2 inch fish. I lost him just at the end as the guide was unable to net him. Steve and all the other guests at the lodge say that the fish counted as it was operator error by the guide in not netting the fish. Steve caught quite a few fish in the morning. I only wanted one little fish. I was not happy to have the big fish on. When you don’t understand what the guide is saying because you don’t know the lingo it makes it difficult to land the fish. For some unknown reason, this is one of Steve’s favorite pictures of me!

This was my throne at lunch.

Steve is showing a gate where some sheep wiggle through. That is sheep fleece on the fence.

Appetizers at lunch.

Asparagus soup.

Lunch was potatoes, and pork with tomatoes and onions.

Our fancy lunch set up. Now ordinarily Steve does not look like an 80 year old man without his dentures. I must have taken the picture of him mid chew.

Dessert was rice pudding. It looked even worse in real life.

Here is a grey may fly. This is what the fish are eating. The fish eat them up like crazy!

It’s time for Pisco Sours! Can you believe it is 8:15 pm? The sun won’t set until 9:30!

Here is Julio with tonight’s snackies.

More empanadas. These are meat, not cheese. I am making Julio a star!

Deconstructed chicken Caesar salad.

Beef with salsa and some potato corn glop.

Tonight’s dessert. Dulce de leche with broiled meringue.

Almost 10:00 pm and it’s still light out!

Julio brought me an after dinner drink tonight. Manzanilla! I think he really enjoyed me taking his picture all the time!

Today Steve caught 29 fish, he would have caught more, but I was fishing also, and enticed some of the fish from his flies.

That’s it for today!

Have you ever seen a dead armadillo?

How about a live one?

Should Steve continue his streak, or just go cold turkey and stop the nonsense?

Coyhaique, Chile. Tuesday January 10, 2017

Steve took a day off from fishing to tag along on my adventures!

The day started off with another beautiful breakfast spread of eggs and fruit. There were many kinds of juice combinations that rotated daily. Always orange, but sometimes apricot, pineapple or banana mixed it with the orange.

This was an interesting hill outside of town. Our trip today is to see Cerra Castillo, a very picturesque jagged peak.

Cropped pictures make the mountains look much closer. We had spurts of rain on and off. The weather was around 40 degrees. We still have to wear sunscreen due to the high elevations.

Look! It’s a Mate museum.

We will not get too close, but drive in the area.

My layers are as follows: cotton top, quick dry fishing shirt, Patagonia nano puff jacket and rain jacket. We were told to dress in layers!

In today’s adventures Steve and I are going to check up on a separate property owned by Gaston (who owns the lodge with his brother.) Gaston is very handsome and not mean like Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

There are lots of fences in Patagonia!

C and Juan were going on a longer hike today. We will meet up with them later this afternoon. Steve and I would check out the lodge and then go on a shorter hike.

I’m not stupid. Get a chance to snoop around at someone’s house or go on a long hike? I’ll snoop. Gaston gutted the original house and built an addition to the side of the house with four bedrooms. It’s primarily used by small groups, or Gaston’s family at Christmas.

There is a similar wood fired hot tub at Coyhaique.

One of the four, bed room units. This one has two queen size beds. The blankets were made by local artisans.

Wood burning fireplace and bathroom with shower.

The main room in the house has a bar. A ladder for kids to climb to get access to the television in the loft. The kitchen and dining room is in the back.

I loved these pillows on the couch. They were as soft as they looked.

Wonderful fireplace. A beautiful place to get together with the family. Hiking, fishing, reading, relaxing, just a great place to hang out.

More neat views of the mountains.

This lake looked very green.

More fences.

Much of the land was clear cut for farming. Cattle raising is very popular.

As is sheep farming. Just like the United States in the 19th century, land was available for cheap and people homesteaded.

Gaston opening the gate for our hike. It was to be a very easy hike with only a little up and down and a waterfall to look at.

I almost gave up on the hike. It was not flat, nor short. I spend most of the walk looking at the ground to make sure I would not trip on rocks or roots.

Steve was a good sport spending the day with me instead of fishing.

I declined the offer to go further and see the waterfalls. By this time I had added another fleece jacket and rain pants.

Steve said the hike was pretty, it was not an easy hike. There were many scrambles over rocks, and much up and down. He said that I made the right decision not to go further.

On the way back we took a picture of a Russian Jeep. We had been joking at dinner about Steve traveling to Kamchatka Russia for a fishing trip. That’s what the vehicles and helicopters will be like. Held together with wire!

It was time for lunch. Gaston is unloading the truck of food supplies.

Tomato broth.

Mystery sandwiches.

Steve and I each shared a sandwich. Lots of mayo with tough beef.

We saw some gauchos while we ate lunch.

We were almost as high as the mountains before we descended to the valley.

Now we get to cross the bridge to get to the other side of the valley.

Oh, oh, did any one tell us we were going to cross over a one lane bridge in a vehicle just a tad smaller than said bridge?

View from the side window. The water was blue due to certain minerals in the glacial runoff.

This is the view of the bridge from the back window of the truck.

We passed another stream, that was rich in minerals also.

We ascended another mountain. It was so windy we could hardly get out of the car. We were in hysterics laughing because it was so windy.

The wind was blowing us toward the camera. Steve’s hair is blowing straight up. I am trying to keep the hair out of my face, and also keep my shirt down!

Steve versus the wind.

We finally met up with Juan and C. We had a choice of looking at a small local museum about the early settlers, or hike to see some petroglyphs. Can you guess what I chose to do?

Steve hiked with C and Juan. I looked at the museum. Steve says C left him in the dust. These are some of the petroglyphs, they do not know who left them or why.

After the petroglyphs we got back in the van to go to C and Juan’s starting point for their hike.

C saw this lake view on her hike. We got to see it in our truck ride! That is Cerro Castillo in the background.

This was such a pretty picture with the Andes mountains in the background. That’s C with us! Her husband does not take days off from fishing!

Here is a short video of the falls. As Steve’s father used to say “That’s not Jitterbug water!” A Jitterbug is a fishing lure that makes bubbles on the surface. It is used on extremely calm water.

The waterfall at Rio Ibanez. Glacial melt!

On the way back to the lodge we saw some rocks that were scoured by retreating glaciers.

There was a town below us that had ferry service to other small towns. There are many poplar trees planted as wind breaks. It is so crazy windy here.

Good bye Cerro Castillo!

Back to the lodge for dinner. Creamy cheese crab soup with eggs and toast baguettes!

Salud!

Our entree was salmon with a potato latke.

Dessert was many layers of dragon fruit mousse and tulle cookies. Yes, the mousse was speckled. It was served with an orange sauce.

Since I haven’t mentioned numbers of Steve’s fish that he caught I will update. On Sunday, his first day out he caught 24 trout. On Monday he caught a eye boggling number of fish. It was as he calls it “A Rock-em sock-em day of 52! As he was with me all day today, he caught 0 fish, as we didn’t fish. There is always tomorrow!

Two of the guests were photographers. One was a sports photographer, who had attended many Olympics. The other was a wildlife photographer. That photo of a tree frog on the mailing from National Geographic asking you to subscribe? He took it! He sold his catalog of pictures to Getty Pictures and is retired now. I don’t want to get into trouble for copyright issues, but I can link his webpage. davislynnimages.com

Would you rather hike, or check out someone’s house?

Isn’t it a good thing Steve doesn’t wear a toupee?

Wouldn’t it be really funny if he wore a toupee, and it went flying off?

Extra bonus question: Do you think I would post a video of his toupee flying off?

Coyahique, Chile, Monday January 9, 2017

No rainbow this morning. We could see snow on the upper elevations this morning. It’s about 40 degrees with a chance of rain. The anglers have all gone out, nothing stops them! I do have rain pants and a rain jacket so I will stay dry. One good thing about the wind here, is NO BUGS! The little black dots in the field are cattle.

Good morning! No breakfast spread for you as you have a hike to accompany me on!

Here is a view of the Simpson River that runs through Coyhaique. Steve was hoping to fish this but due to the rains it looked like he would be unable to do so.

This is called the haunted house. It represents the building styles of the early European settlers of the area. The houses were erected so quickly it was said that they were built by witches. The haunted aspect is due to a mistranslation to English!

A view of the city of Coyhaique. The city is the capital of this part of Patagonia.

Snow capped Andes Mountains!

C went off with Gaston today for a more strenuous hike. I stayed with Juan who promised me a more relaxing flat hike.

Our first hike hike was around Laguna Verde. Green Lake.

Juan was well prepared for any eventuality. He even had hot water in his backpack in case I wanted hot tea!

There were piles of pine cones many layers deep.

Here is Juan in front of a grassy bush. Juan was not tall, but this was still a very large plant!

This means trout bridge.

No trout live here, maybe once upon a time.

Here are some wild strawberries that Juan pointed out to me.

We next visited a fragile ecosystem trail in an old growth forest. Steve should come next time, he likes to look at really old trees.

Swamp lake.

Juan leading the way.

Juan said that all the lichens on the trees meant that the air was very pure. I always thought that lichens were a bad thing.

More tree growth of a different sort. It looks really healthy!

There is a trail here!

Juan really liked this part of the trail. I really liked it when he said ten minutes more and we get to turn around. I can imagine this being a place of ceremonies by the native peoples. The trees were really huge!

Yay! Turn around point.

On our way back to town. More views of the mountains.

Here is a statue of a hand holding a cup of mate. Mate is a drink that many South Americans drink all day long. We were told that it is not caffeine based, but it is. It is a communal drink that is poured into a metal cup, with a metal straw that is part of the lid. You don’t wipe off the straw when it is passed to you. You just hope that no one with communicable diseases drank just prior to you. You are not to say thank you when it is passed to you either.

You didn’t think I would not try to find a grocery store and explore did you?

Front desk. This is also where you exchanged the empty display boxes for the real boxes that held the bottle of Scotch.

I love the brand names of toilet paper all over the world!

Some of the bottles of wine were quite dusty. Although who would want to drink Yellow Tail from Australia when you could drink a nice Chilean wine?

Papas Fritas.

The world loves potato chips!

There was also a big display of Pisco mixes!

We returned to the lodge for lunch. Lunch was a chicken cutlet, mashed potatoes and a glass of white wine. I was able to catch up with C. Her hike was an equivalent of 113 flights, I am happy I didn’t join her!

Dessert was vanilla ice cream.

After lunch, I rested while C went out on another hike. I think she went on another 100 stair flights on her trek.

We had two beds in our room. Many of the guests are guys who don’t want to share a bed with their fishing companions.

The great view from the bedroom.

This is a picture of the great room. The couches were great for reading and enjoying the amazing views.

There was a gift shop above the dining area with local crafts. I bought this beautiful top for Sally.

Steve did catch some fish. Here are two trout that he caught on one cast. The technique that he used had two flies on the line. It is unusual to catch two fish at once!

After Steve came back he showered and changed for dinner. Let’s eat some Chilean food!

Seviche.

Chopped up something or other. Tasty.

Lamb prosciutto, fresh greens, onion marmalade on toasted bread.

Paella.

For some reason, staff thought that I didn’t eat seafood, so I got tender chunks of beef. I coudn’t figure out what the nuggets were made from. Dessert was a poached pear in a pastry, crumbles, and fried dough with vanilla ice cream on top.

Are you tall?

What is your favorite brand of potato chips?

Shouldn’t liquor stores in America have a better Pisco selection?

Coyhaique, Chile Sunday January 8, 2017

Good Morning!

A beautiful breakfast spread.

I need to photoshop out the little bit of scrambled egg that escaped!

Here is a beautiful mural on leather in the dining room. The artist projected the design unto the hide and then scraped off the hair.

We are to go on a hike with K and Juan. Off we go through the gates.

A beautiful view. I am told that an even better view is only thirty minutes more of a walk. Will I make it?

Five minutes past the last picture and I change my mind. The part of me that says an eight mile hike is not my idea of a vacation says “yes!”, that is my throne, and it awaits me! K and our guide Juan will hike for another twenty five minutes to see the view.

My view. 4965 steps is enough for me. I will have 4965 steps on my return.

Lo and behold a hearty group of mountain bikers chug up the hill. Hola! They are past me before I realized what a great shot I could have had. This is them farther up the hill.

C and I returned back to the lodge for lunch.

Potatoes and chicken.

Salad.

Dessert.

I settled down with a book while C went hiking again.

What was under my book? In the coffee table was a display of flies.

Around 5pm a beautiful rainbow appeared.

It’s time for a Pisco sour!

Here is Julio offering me some empanadas!

The mushrooms were not pickled, but warm and sautéed in spices.

The bar in the dining room was very interesting.

Soup with conger, which is a fish, not an eel, although it looks like an eel.

Hearts of palm, corn, asparagus and some tough beef.

Currant mousse, with crumbly pieces of meringue. It was way too sweet for me, but several guests finished it!

What’s your step goal for the day?

Do you wear a helmet when you ride a bike?

Shouldn’t all watermelon be seedless?

Santiago, Chile to Coyhaique, Chile Saturday January 7, 2017

Good morning from Santiago Chile!

Breakfast was from the buffet at the Club Lounge in the Ritz Carlton.

There was the display of fresh fruit.

Juices. The raspberry juice was very sweet, it tasted just like-you guessed it! Raspberries! I am sure it would taste great in a fruity martini!

Cold meats and cheeses.

Fresh honey and the honey comb!

After breakfast, JP and Maximo picked us up to take us to the airport and make sure that we were on the right flight to Balmaceda where we would be picked up and brought to Coyhaique River Ranch.

Santiago is in a valley and gets quite smoggy. You can barely see the mountains in the background. My throat was getting quite scratchy, I thought I was getting a cold, but it was the smog!

Lots of agriculture in the Santiago area. The Spanish were looking for gold here. Hardly any was found, but the climate was great for growing fruits and vegetables.

Agriculture went up as far up the mountains as could be done.

A snow covered volcano.

My snack. Chocolate chip muffin, raisins, and a Coke, straight up.

Steve picked the cheese muffin. Very dry.

Flying over the Lake District. We will visit here next week!

Ohh! A bon-non! How exciting. I have always wanted to sit on a couch and eat these!

No flavor. Airy with crunch inside and smooth milk chocolate. Will think about passing next time I am offered one.

The Andes! Let’s hope we get some better pictures than this on our trip!

A view from the window of the plane as we near Balmaceda. It has been raining, and the streams appear to be very muddy. This may put a damper on Steve’s fishing plans.

We landed at Balmaceda and picked up our luggage. We weren’t sure who was going to meet us. Finally I noticed a gentleman wearing a Coyhaique River Lodge shirt. This was Gaston, one of the owners. Two other guys joined us. They were boyhood friends, who decided to meet up and fish together for the week. They were going to meet their wives in Santiago at the end of the week. One guy was from Alaska, and it took him a really long time to get to Balmaceda.

The water was very muddy, Steve would not be able to fish this river, the Rio Simpson, which is supposed to be the best river in the region.

The farmers set the woods on fire to clear the land for cattle grazing.

The view of our valley in the late afternoon. Off the deck is a wood fired hot tub!

Here is Julio offering us a bacon wrapped date. Delicious! In the background is K, a non fishing spouse. I am to hike with her. She is into hiking and mountain biking. I am into reading romance novels while on the recumbent bike at the gym. I have asthma, she doesn’t. She will enjoy the hiking. I will last as long as I can!

Deep fried salmon and dipping sauces was another canapé.

This was a Chilean soup. It was very spicy. There were chunks of tender carrots and tough beef.

Squash with cheese, pork that looked like ham and delicious apple sauce. Steve doesn’t eat apple sauce, so I got to eat two applesauces!

Dessert was gorgeous but oh so sweet. Dulce de leche sauce, a fried dough spiral, and vanilla ice cream with crunchies on top. I did not finish this!

The view from the windows in the great room. The rainbows didn’t photograph well. It will stay light here until about 9 p.m. One of the wonderful parts about visiting the southern hemisphere during our winter.

Do you drink your tea with honey?

Do you honestly believe there is gold in a pot at the end of a rainbow?

Where do you eat your bon bons?

Off to South America! Thursday January 5-Friday January 6, 2017

Our bags are packed again, and we are off on a three week trip to South America. Yes, this is 2019 and the date on the posting is 2017. I haven’t blogged this post before, so if you don’t like reading about my old trips, well, too bad. Just delete the e-mails and come back in three weeks to see if I have posted something more current! We were flying from New York to Santiago on Latam Airlines. Here are our not warm nuts and sparkling wine. Our aircraft is a Dreamliner, that has lights that change colors. Everyone was full of smiles on the flight. There were many children on the flight. It is very strange to be on an airplane where the native language is not English. We are off to South America, so we are going to have to get used to it.

The lie-flat seats were great, but very hard. There was nice leg room on the flight. The room color has changed to blue already!

Dinner was some kind of beef. We ate it quickly so we could go to sleep. Eyes shut at 9:30.

Good morning! It’s time for breakfast on the plane. It is 3:30 a.m. NY time, but as we land at 6, we need to get breakfast over with. We are 2 hours ahead of Eastern Time.

Daybreak from the plane!

We landed safely and went through immigration without any problems. We got a little nervous as our guide was not at the pickup area right away, but he showed up soon after and we were on our way.

Maximo, our driver drove us to what he called Sanhattan (Santiago/Manhattan), and to our hotel.

Who doesn’t like staying at a Ritz-Carlton?

Today we would be going on a tour of Santiago. We will be brought to the airport tomorrow morning for our flight further south where we will stay at Coyhaique River Lodge for a week.

This is one of the neighborhoods we drove through. There was lots of street art on the buildings.

First stop was the fish market.

Many stalls of fresh fish.

These clams were still talking to each other!

These scallops look like pastries!

Sheets of giant squid!

Black on one side, white on the other.

Fresh fish is the specialty in the restaurant at the market.

We walked through a beautiful open air market.

Orange juice freshly squeeze before our eyes!

A chapel in the cathedral in Santiago. Pope John Paul II prayed here for peace.

Outside one of the government buildings a group of Mapuche, one of the indigenous peoples , were protesting.

The women wore no tops, they looked like they were daubed in mud.

The man wore an outfit that represented an animal.

This was a building built around another building. There were a number of pop up craft sellers here.

Our guide Juan Pablo (JP) explained how bridges and buildings were made with clay, eggs, and water.

I spied this drink stand with an interesting concoction. It was made with fresh peaches, some type of grain and tea.

The cart and seller making our treat.

It was sweet but tasty! I was nervous that I might get indigestion, but JP told me it was safe to drink!

We took a drive to one of the highest peaks in Santiago, hoping for a great view. Unfortunately it was very smoggy.

Best times for views was in August when it rains.

We drove to a local park for a walk. Here was a young girl feeding the flamingos.

There was an artificial pond with carp. They were humongous! Many people were feeding the carp and flamingo pellets of food from the machines.

This is a view of the Parque Bicentario and the ritzy section of Santiago.

We went back to the hotel and rested before dinner.

We started to walk around outside the hotel looking for a restaurant. It was nice to see flowers in bloom!

After not finding anything exciting we decided to have dinner at the Ritz Carlton instead of wandering around further. Pre dinner snacks and champagne!

Steve is either asleep or in a love fog. It is seven pm and the restaurant is empty. We were warned that most people don’t eat until eight pm. They did have a dining room area outside, but it was too warm for us. There was also what appeared to be a meet and great for a very large travel group. Too noisy and hot for us!

Rolls with melted grated cheese on top and filled with sautéed onions! YUM!

Amuse bouche. Salmon carpaccio.

Steve had the winning dish. Chilean sea bass with beans and corn.

I had the duck. I didn’t like the swirly sauces. Steve’s fish had clams in the broth. As Steve doesn’t like clams, we asked for them on the side and I got to eat them.

Dessert was pound cake and mint tea from the club level lounge. No pictures, but it still happened!

Do you eat street food?

Does it make you sick, but you still eat it anyway?

Are you going to continue to read the blog, even though this is not a current trip?