I’d been waiting for this point in the cruise – to visit Puerto Montt. I’ve read so much about it and knew of the German influence in the area from settlers who were invited to Chile in the latter part of 19th century. This was another “tender” port – this is how it works:
We had attempted to make arrangements to rent a car whilst there, so that we could drive out to the smaller towns of Puerto Varas and Frutillar, but while walking toward the car rental company, we saw numerous local buses with those names listed. We were curiously looking at one of the buses, trying to figure out where we would catch such a bus, etc. when the driver stopped and signed whether we wanted to go – we jumped on, and for a few cents, were on our way to Frutillar.
Frutillar is on Lake Llanquihue, with its crystal clear water and magnificent views of Orsono Volcano, which at almost 9,000 ft and conical shape is very similar in appearance to Mt. Fuji.
Teatro del Lago is situated on the edge of the lake and is nationally known for its amazing acoustics. We found the construction from the various woods interesting.
Visiting Puerto Varas, on our way back to Puerto Montt, we decided to have lunch at a place that Chris had read about (Donde el Gordito) which was said to be near the fish market. We made several failed attempts at finding it and checked out some other places on our wanderings, but something kept pushing us to persevere (despite Dennis’s groaning knee). Entering this little Mom & Pop restaurant was like being enveloped into the family and we knew we’d made the right decision by sticking to our guns!
We’d heard that the local conger was the specialty (we falsely assumed this was conger eel, it is in fact a local fish), but Chris opted for Chilean Sea Bass and Dennis for the “poor man’s sausage” which looked like about 1000 calories worth of homemade sausage, fried egg, and fries! It was while we were enjoying this delicious meal, along with a locally brewed beer that we struck up a conversation with a younger couple who had just sat down at the table next to us. They introduced themselves as Rebecca and Dade from New Hampshire, and we soon discovered they were on the same ship, but also liked to travel independently rather than take organized excursions from the ship. (They were my inspiration for starting this blog). We ended up riding with them (they had rented a pickup truck) back to Puerto Montt to look for an artisan market.