Chile Day 1 & 2: Patagonia, Casillero del Diablo and Me

It’s hard to believe but I have been back from Chile for one whole month. Chile was such a transformative experience that I think I have been jealously guarding my thoughts and photos but have finally decided to share. I began my trip in Puerto Montt, part of the Lake Country in the South. I headed for a four day adventure on a big cargo ship with an outfit called Navimag. The boat takes you down a Fjord in Patagonia for 1000 miles to Puerto Natales. I have been fortunate to visit many beautiful places in my life but Chile rivals almost all of them for its scope, diversity and natural beauty.


We spent four days and three nights on the boat. The ship offers cabins at various prices and open bunks in units of four. I opted for this version which was fine but by no means barato or the Spanish word for inexpensive. The boat had a bar where they served Chilean beer, Austral and wines from Concha y Toro. Casillero del Diablo is everywhere in Chile and in most places in the United States thanks to a big marketing push by Banfi Vintners, the US importer. As is often the case, it tastes differently in situ but oddly enough was no less expensive than in the United States. The food on board was not bad but they have very few fruits and vegetables.


While joyously drinking Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc from Casillero del Diablo, the 250 travelers on the ship were treated to unbelieveable vistas. Here are some of my favorite photos…


On the way down the Fjord, we saw Whales, Dolphins, Otters and some birds but no homes or people and very little wildlife on the shores.


They showed a variety of documentaries and films on board to keep the mostly European and South American travelers occupied. On our first evening I saw a very upsetting film about Chile during the Pinochet/Allende years called Machuga about the lives of two boys from different socio-economic classes in a private school. It is an old film but I would recommend it to anyone interested in Chilean history.


The boat was pretty social and we met lovely people from France and Italy with whom I continue to correspond. Constants on the boat were bottles of Casillero del Diablo, picture taking and wind. Patagonia is extremely windy all year round. While it was Summer at the time of the trip, everyone on board looked as though they were prepared to ski or mountain climb in cold weather except for one odd Canadian in shorts…This was my first Sunset. Did I mention that I saw a rainbow everyday in Chile, even when I wasn’t drinking…:)


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