A vist to Chile - Part One - Patagonia



You may have noticed that my weekly wine blog has been running behind for the last couple weeks. Well, I do have an excuse. You see, I have been down in Chile, on a 16 day vacation. To make that even better, I won the vacation on a Facebook contest. (Yes, people do really win those things, and I am proof.) So, the next couple blogs will be a combination of food, drink and travel from our trip.

On Skorpios w/ our Marmot Gear
If you are wondering, the contest was sponsored by LAN Airlines, along with Skorpio Cruise, ADS Mundo, SouthAmerica.travel  and Marmot Outdoor Gear. It was called the “Go to Extremes” contest, and it lived up to its’ name. We spent 6 days in the Lake and Patagonia Region, 4 days in the Atacama desert, and 5 days in Santiago. Each area had a unique character, and was like visiting different countries.

This week, I’ll focus on the first segment of our trip…a cruise from Puerto Montt, to the San Rafael glacier, aboard the Skorpios II.

Puerto Montt
Our flight took us from Los Angeles, to Lima Peru, to Santiago, then on to Puerto Montt. From the time we left our house, to the arrival on the ship, was a total of 30 hours. When you are over six foot tall, sleeping on a plane is next to impossible, so we survived on only one hour of sleep getting to our destination.

Puerto Aguirre
We arrived in the fishing port of Puerto Montt, in the Lake Region of Chile. They are experiencing a drought, similar to California. Forest fires had created a haze in the air. Our ship had a capacity of 106 passengers, but we happened to book on the week after school had started up again, and only had 38 people on the ship. Our cruise would take us to the small fishing port of Puerto Aguirre, then on to the San Rafael glacier (closest glacier to the equator). After hitting this southern most point in our trip to Patagonia, we headed north to the private port of Quitralco, with its’ hot spring pools and isolated fjords. Followed the next day by a stop in Chiloe, and the capitol city of Castro. And, finally back to Puerto Montt.

San Rafael Glacier
Since this is a wine and food blog, it is only appropriate that I share those experiences with you.
On our flight to Chile, it became apparent that whisky might be a drink of choice in Chile. At one point in the flight, my wife asked for a Coke, and was told that all they had was water, coffee, tea, and whiskey. As it turned out, our first welcome drink on the ship was either a whisky sour, or a mango sour. Since we were cruising through the archipelago, we had plenty of time to try out different drinks on the ship. The most prevalent was Pisco Sours (made with Pisco, a Chilean/Peruvian version of brandy), but the favorite was a drink called a “Chilean Vaina”. To make... in a shaker, add about 2 tbsp of powdered sugar, a splash of Cacao, 4 dashes of Brandy, 2 glasses of port (looked like Tawny), 1 egg yolk, 1 egg and ice. Shake, then strain to make sure there is no egg residue. Pour into glass, and top with cinnamon. Pretty darn tasty!

Puerto Aguirre
All our lunches and dinners included a bottle of white and red wine. If you weren’t much of a wine drinker, as our English table mates were, then beer was always available. The beer of choice was “Cristal”, a local lager that is very similar to Budweiser.

Thermal springs at Quitralco
We were offered numerous different wines, from all over Chile, including: Viu Manent, De Martino, Dias de Verano, Santa Rita, Vina La Rosa La Palma, Vina la Rosa, Tierra del Fuego and Medalla Real. These wines varied at each meal, and covered almost every wine growing region in Chile. Surprisingly, we never had a Pinot Noir. Lots of Sauvignon Blanc (which paired perfectly with the seafood rich menu) and Carmenere (which worked with the heavier red meat meals).

Market in Castro
One thing we learned is that Chileans don’t put an emphasis on breakfast. Every breakfast had meats and cheeses, along with some type of sweet tart (not as sweet as what we normally eat in the US). Every place we went also offered scrambled eggs, but for some reason, they were always very runny/watery. A variety of juices was also offered. The American staple of orange juice was there, but there was always melon juice and strawberry juice too. Occasionally we would also find peach juice.

Patagonian volcanoes along the Andes
The big meal of the day was lunch. Always served around 1:00, we found these meals to be very heavy, and mostly protein based. One heavy, but wonderful, lunch started with a king crab au gratin, followed by pork butt and potatoes. Speaking of potatoes…there is some argument on the origin of the potato. Peru has long claimed to be the original source, but as we found out, the islands of Chiloe claim they are where the Spaniards first discovered this starchy tuber.

Dinner was always served later in the evening. Most Chileans eat dinner between 9:00 and 11:00 at night. To carry them through from lunch they have a snack around 5:00. On the ship, this was tea time, and it was served with tarts, as well as meats and cheeses.

100,000 old ice with 30 year whisky
One of the trip highlights was the visit to the San Rafael glacier. As we approached in our smaller, steel hulled boat, we traveled among the numerous icebergs. We found a good sized one, that could be easily reached, and chipped off some chunks of 100,000 year old ice, and served it with a 30 year old whisky (there’s that whisky again).

Asado Patagonia
Another trip highlight was at the private port of Quitralco. While we were traveling around the fjords, climbing to the viewpoints, or soaking in the thermal hot springs, the ship’s chefs had taken two  fresh lambs, split them, and posted them over a wood fire pit. These would be just a small part of the protein rich (chicken, beef, lamb) grilled lunch we had in port. This style of lamb is known as “Asado Patagonia”, and was served with sopapillas, and traditional beef empanadas (including one un-pitted olive, and boiled egg inside).

Open water fish farm
Some other interesting facts about this part of the world…Did you know that Chile is the second largest producer of Salmon in the world? As we cruised, we passed open water fish farms everywhere. Shellfish is also very productive, but only north of the Corcovado Gulf. South of the gulf, they have had a seven year stretch of red tide, which has affected the shellfish population, and made it poisonous.

Our final night on the Skorpios ship included the semi-formal captain’s dinner. There was an amazing spread of fresh shellfish and seafood, along with an array of desserts from the talented pastry chef. The perfect end to a cruise in the Patagonia region in the south of Chile.

Our next stop would be to the north, with a visit to the Atacama desert. Check out the next segment of our trip by clicking here.

2 comments:

  1. Everest Base Camp Trek is one of those journeys that create your vacation dreams return true. Hiking on the legendary foothills just under the mighty Mount Everest 8848m with exciting views of the master peaks will solely be found within the Everest Region. This celebrated trek is thought worldwide for its trailblazing routes & the landscapes speak to your senses. On this trip you furthermore Mera peak out at the celebrated Kala Patthar (5,600m/18,373ft) read purpose for a few grand direct views of the very best mountain in the world. Everest Base CampTrek additionally includes different celebrated eight thousand peaks like Mt mountain peak (8,516m /27,940ft), Makalu (8,485m /27,838 ft) Cho-Oyu (8,201m /26,906ft). The culture of this specific space is of nice notebook stuff & interacting with the native of us puts a lot of zest into your venturesome journey as you walk through the Khumbu region of the Asian country. This legendary path could be a psychological thriller for top & wild hikers World Health Organization want the tread the methods wherever legends walked before on their thanks to conquering mountain peak, some did some didn’t however the Everest Base Camp Trek path keeps those legends alive for many trekkers World Health Organization head to the present region. The trip begins with a stirring mountain flight to Lukla, one among the world’s highest mountains; & as shortly as you set down at that altitude, the remainder is history. Your hike takes you to the favored village city of Namche, referred to as the ‘gateway to the Khumbu’’ & from there on you rehearse quiet monasteries with the acknowledge Sherpa of us World Health Organization inhabit this region & their culture is price noting. On the way, we have a tendency to visit the Sagarmatha parkland, home to some rare fauna & flora, this additionally wherever we have a tendency to adapt for a few time. We head deep into the Khumbu hiking into the forest of shrub, birch trees & pine, with colorful villages wherever we have a tendency to square measure sincerely welcome by the Sherpa community. we have a tendency to square measure pleasantly stunned to return across a hospital-based mostly in Khunde and health post at Pheriche that shows this region not solely cares for the locals however also are able to look out of trekkers World Health Organization have altitude issues. Doctors square measure invariably at the post for aid treatment. The Everest Base Camp Trek is arduous however varied teahouses square measure found on the paths providing smart grubbed to shelter from the generally harsh climate. Our trek culminates at base camp so we have a tendency to create a path for Namche as we have a tendency to hike back to Lukla to rendezvous for our flight to Katmandu. we have a tendency to add an additional contingency day for inclement weather which will delay flights. It’s recommended to be pretty acceptable to undertake this journey; you only want some smart hiking exercise before doing this trip. And Nepal Base Camp Treks can do the remainder to allow you AN action-packed odyssey of a period.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Annapurna Base Camp Trek is an amazing walk through diverse landscapes and culture complete with rich mountain views. This route lies in the Annapurna region of Nepal which is the very much beautiful place in Nepal. The trek is incorporated diverse terrain, culture, and wildlife. It is a popular choice among diverse outdoors enthusiasts, from a solo female traveler to hikers traveling in groups to Nepal. Their beauty is indescribable and they draw your attention and walking further leads to the Lush forest to waterfalls. We get the chance to see wonderful views of the mountain, landscapes, small villages, the beautiful scenery, and the small waterfalls of this route. The fabulous mountain scenery and the rich cultural diversity traverses across a wide spectrum of lush rural farmlands and pretty villages. We will walk through terraced rice paddies, lush rhododendron forest and high altitude landscapes with the Annapurna region in view most of the time. Many villages perched on ridges tops surrounded by ancient terraced fields. We cross the mountain passes, fascinating mid-hills, colorful villages and slowly gaining an altitude to the base camp of the world’s greatest peaks. The steep sides are covered in the Lush forest and it is the most dramatic treks in this region.
    Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular walks on the earth. The starting point of this trekking route is Pokhara city which is also known as the city of the Lake. While trekking in this route, we will pass through the many suspension bridges and a small natural hot spring of this route. At the time of trekking, we get chance to know about the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the Gurung, Magar, and Thakali people who are the local inhabitants of this route. We will have great chance to see the wonderful vies of the Mountain which includes Dhaulagiri, Machapuchhre, Annapurna south, and many other mountains of this region. During the time of trekking, we get the chance to explore the Annapurna Conservation Area which is home to many rare birds, animals, flora, and fauna. The best season is February to April and October to December for trekking in this route. The Annapurna base camp trek is one of the beautiful treks in the Annapurna region. The good trail is often neatly stepped, as far as the prosperous villages of Chhomrong. After a good scenic walk reaching the Base Camp with ample time to marvel and enjoy the mountain views.

    ReplyDelete