HOMEWARD BOUND

Finally I’m home and it seems like it has been a long traveling day/night. A brief summary: I arrived about 12:30 in Santiago – did have a wheelchair meet me – he wheeled me to the AirCanada ticket counter and no one was there. In fact, no one came until 5pm. So, I wrote in my blog and people watched.

I’m watching parents say goodbye to their daughter and baby granddaughter. I think the grandparents are American. Everyone is kissing and hugging one another and the baby is being held by each one of the grandparents receiving many kisses from each. Then the grandmother holds her daughter in a long embrace and pats and rubs her back. The daughter then goes to her father who embraces her, kisses her, draws apart, comes back together , embrace again with tears running down their cheeks. I have tears in my eyes too. This scene, together with saying goodbye to Jody and Tim is leaving me an emotional wreck. I think I had better just walk around a little bit.

I tried several of the restaurants close by but even when ordering an item, no one had WiFi. I was hesitant to go too far afield as I had the large luggage with me. At five, I went to the ticket counter, checked in and without my luggage, got another wheelchair to take me to the Gate. Found another Dunkin Donuts — Had quite a good sandwich – cheese, hard boiled egg, lettuce, mayo on a croissant. Even had coffee and a donut there which surprisingly wasn’t bad.

My plane from Santiago to Toronto was an hour delayed -apparently a severe tropical storm in Buenos Aires from where the plane was coming – the flight was fine, sat with a nice woman who spent 6 months in Vancouver with one daughter and six months in Chile with her other daughter. She was, in fact, born in Chile . Food was terrible – last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast – I didn’t eat the breakfast.

As expected, the delay made me late for the 8am departure to Vancouver. Then news came that there were 55 people on my flight that were scheduled on the same flight to Vancouver so they held the plane. Again, thank heavens for the wheelchair – she whisked me through – and I, along, with almost everyone else made the plane. Instead of 8am, we left at 8:30am which wasn’t too bad.

The wheelchair connection was good in Vancouver and they wheeled me down to Baggage, found my luggage quickly, and was walking out from the area when Johnny came running over and gave me a big hug. My brother too was with him. I was really glad to see them. The half-sleeping pill didn’t work and I really didn’t sleep during these different legs of the trip. Johnny did a great job leaving the airport and driving through the Border. A long, long line was waiting but I was very impressed with the Border Agent (I thought he would question me about what I brought back) – when Johnny said he was my grandson, and my brother his Uncle – the agent smiled and said we have the whole family together. Only asked where I had been and when I told him, I said I had received a few things from friends, he said it sounded like a great trip and sent us on our way.

It’s hard for me to write this last sentence of my trip and to say Adios to Argentina and my friends there. I can only say, “I hope I can return. ”

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LEAVING ARGENTINA FOR PUERTO VARAS AND FRUTILLAR CHILE

Time to leave this breath-taking country of snow-capped mountains, azure colored lakes and beautiful forests.  

We are going for a few days to Puerto Varas before flying out of Santiago.  Catching an early bus, I looked up at the sky and there was Venus glowing in the morning light. I have been in awe of the skies in this southern hemisphere – there were times on a clear night that I felt like I could touch the stars.

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The bus to Puerto Varsas is about a six hour drive.  The buses are so comfortable and clean.  We were even served a delicious cup of coffee.  A last look at the mountains….

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It was a new experience crossing the Border to Chile. We all had to get off the bus, present our documents and then put our bags and purses on a long bench to be "sniffed" for anything illegally brought in to the country. Chile is very strict as to what can and cannot enter. All the luggage is taken off the bus and given the same treatment. Here's what it looks like —

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Now in Chile and again the remains of the ash are evident everywhere on the mountain road.

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We arrived in the afternoon at Puerto Varas – two snowcapped volcanoes stand sentinel over the picturesque city and its scenic Lago Llanquihue. Unfortunately it was raining and the volcanoes were covered in heavy cloud cover.

Puerto Varas is one of Chile’s most charming villages, located on the shore of Lago Llanquihue. Also known as the city of roses. It is a spruce little town, with wood-shingled homes and a rose-encircled plaza The city was built by the sweat and tenacity of German immigrants, and this is particularly evident in its architecture which resembles European influence.

And the food!!!! The German pastry, especially the Kuchen (cake), cookies and marmalades. The home-made beers, the fish, the seafood, the cured meats all make this a gastronome delight. We opted for the seafood at “Donde el Gordito” — where we became great friends with the owners…

Our meal….the drink is a Pisco Sour which Chile claims this classic cocktail as their own. The owner is famous for making the best Pisco Sour – Jody gave him a kiss for his creation. The restaurant is a tiny room but one of the most popular in the city. We ate dinner there on both nights.

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WE LEFT A NOTE COMPLIMENTING THE CHEF ON A GREAT MEAL. I SEALED IT WITH A KISS… A GREAT EVENING!!!!

We walked to the shore of the Lake – enjoyed watching young boys having the time of their life in the water — how this shopping cart got in the water is a mystery — took photos of the area by the visitor’s center — passed a funky museum –couldn’t resist the beautiful landscape and some of the hotels..

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Jody and Tim on their last visit to Puerto Varas found this charming hotel. This visit, it was our destination and it was just perfect.

Along with the photos of the building, there are photos of Chile’s national flower (copihue) – it took eight years to reach its current growth. The flowers feel very waxy – almost looks unreal.

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Jody had read of a new opera house which prompted us to visit Frutillar. We were not disappointed.

Frutillar is called “the southern jewel of the Republic” and there’s no doubt that this charming lakeside is perfectly described. It is full of picture-perfect scenery, from the shores of Lake Llanquihue and the surrounding forests and pastures to the views of the volcanoes. We lost ourselves in the clean, tidy streets lined with gardens of roses and dahlias and perfectly maintained wooden houses. And, of course, the famous strudels and kuchen is served in all the restaurants and part of the legacy of the German colonists. The city offers more than history and food. It is the Teatro del Lago, the opera house, which features live performances of classical and jazz music.

As we were strolling the streets, many shops drew us in to enjoy the beautiful weavings and art works.

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I DID GET A LITTLE GLIMPSE OF THE BOTTOM OF THE VOLCANO FROM THE SHORE.

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THESE TWO LITTLE GIRLS BRIGHTENED OUR DAY…

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AND I CAN’T RESIST LOVERS…

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JODY FOUND A HAT THAT JUST SAID “THAT’S ME!!!!”

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AND THEN FOUND AN OUTDOOR SCULPTURE THAT SAID “PLAY ME.”

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THIS SCULPTURE REFLECTS THE TOWN’S APPRECIATION OF MUSIC.

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THIS SCULPTURE GREETS THE VISITORS .

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A LOVELY PIER TO ENJOY THE VIEW..

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AND FINALLY THE OPERA HOUSE, TEATRO DEL LAGO – WHERE WE ENJOYED A CUP OF HOT CHOCOLATE AND SALMON SANDWICHES

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A OUTDOOR SEATING FOR TEATRO DEL LAGO.

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MY, HOW PERFECTLY SATISFIED WE FELT AS WE RETURNED TO PUERTO VARAS — ONE OF THOSE VISITS YOU HATE TO SEE END. JODY AND TIM ARE PLANNING TO RETURN THE FOLLOWING DAY TO TAKE A TOUR OF THE OPERA HOUSE. I WILL HAVE TO LEAVE THAT FOR ANOTHER DAY.

LAST DAY IN BARILOCHE

Today is my last day in Argentina and Jody and Tim treated me to a delicious lunch. As you can see, it is right on the water with a beautiful view.

Before we left home, Tim took our pictures…

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GOOD FRIENDS SEE THE WORLD EXACTLY THE SAME

ON TO THE RESTAURANT…

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WHILE THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT AND THE VIEW SPECTACULAR, IT IS THE COMPANY I VALUE MOST AND AS I LOOKED ON UPON THIS HAPPY COUPLE, I FELT THE WARM EMBRACE OF A GOOD AND LASTING FRIENDSHIP. THANK YOU JODY AND TIM FOR A MEMORABLE VISIT.

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A LITTLE BIT OF HERE AND THERE

Here is a collection of photos I just couldn’t leave out of the blog.

A lunch at a restaurant where the big brown eyes of the baby pulled me to photograph him. And the charm of the interior….

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Jody said “THERE ‘S A GAUCHO”. I took this from the car.

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I FOUND THIS BIRD ROAMING IN THE YARD AT THE HOME WHERE WE WERE STAYING. IT IS A SNIPE.
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A ROADSIDE ATTRACTION – THIS IS THE ROAD IN FRONT OF TIM AND JODY’S APARTMENT AND OFTEN WE CAME UPON HORSES GRAZING ALONGSIDE.

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WHILE WE ARE ENTERING SPRING, IN BARILOCHE, THE TREES TELL US FALL IS APPROACHING.

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Barlioche’s answer to street food —

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We spent a lovely evening at Tim and Jody’s friend, Sam Smith and his wife Virginia. We were planning to attend the milonga (a gathering of tango dancers), however, it didn’t begin until 10pm and can last till 3 to 4am and as we had just enjoyed a filling dinner and felt tired, we didn’t go. But Sam sent me a link to a YouTube and if you are at all interested in The Tango, watching this will inspire you to take dance lessons.

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The ride up the mountain was dramatic as we ascended through trees that are turning to yellow and oranges and red. At the summit, there are viewing areas 360 degrees. We chose to sit in the restaurant where the seating rotates all around – much like Seattle’s Space Needle – I tried to photograph the views from all sides.

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The view as we ascended

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We have reached the summit…. And the flag of Argentina greeted me in the wind

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My eye traveled from lakes to mountains.

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We spotted a hang glider

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And caught him landing

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AND THERE ISN’T A POPULAR SITE THAT DOESN’T HAVE A ST. BERNARD TO ATTRACT A CROWD..

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It was hard to leave this magnificent site ….

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AND MORE BEAUTIFUL ROSES..

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SOOOOOO COMFORTING

It was 8pm the night before last and we were sitting in the living room when Jody said, “How about if I make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning?” Why wait until morning?

I couldn’t believe how quickly she brought out these warm, scrumptious rolls which, at 10:30pm, we happily devoured! I’m sharing the recipe.

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Cinnamon Rolls

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup soft butter
3 1/4 cups flour
1 pkg yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water
1 egg

1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter

Heat milk until bubbles. Remove, add butter till melts. Cool to lukewarm.

Mix 2 1/4 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well. Add water, egg and milk mixture.

Add remaining flour – 1/2 cup at a time. Stir well after additions. When dough has pulled together, knead until smooth about 5 mins. (Jody did not use a Mixer and the dough was as smooth as a baby’s bottom)

Cover bowl with damp cloth for 10 minutes

Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and butter

Roll out to 12×9 inches. Spread sugar mixture.

Roll in a dough in a long tube and cut rolls.

Cover and let rise until doubled – about 30 minutes.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375 degrees. Bake 20 minutes.

WE DID SAVE SOME FOR BREAKFAST THE NEXT MORNING.