A Travellerspoint blog



Home again, with grateful hearts



Santiago, Chile:
-- Lots and lots of beautiful architecture – with most of the facades defaced
-- Many public squares with tall statues of national heroes in their centers - mostly vandalized
-- Churches in every neighborhood - with almost all the pews empty even on this Sunday morning, despite a mechanized holy water font that squirts water into the hands of worshippers (Kids love it!)
-- A lush food market and restaurants inside what looks like the Eiffel Tower
-- Sadly, and in great contrast to the pure air of the Antarctic, smog covers the city,

We fell in love with it – and want to come back, but we will wait until the revolution happens or doesn’t happen and until the grass gets replanted. And then we’d stay again at the Ritz Carlton where the staff are brilliant and where Bill relaxed while waiting for our long fight back home.

And now we are back and deeply engaged in floor tile and refrigerators and where to put electrical sockets (they call them receptacles now) and recessed lighting in our new apartment. Hope is feeling better but not best.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:52 Archived in Chile Comments (0)


An end and a beginning

sunny 68 °F
View 2020 Vision - around South America on HopeEakins's travel map.


Even Noah had to get off the ark, and so did we after forty days and forty nights on the Silver Whisper. Our friends, our ship, our "parish" - are now sailing on for another hundred days until they arrive in Amsterdam. We will miss being there with them, and we are also very very excited about seeing our children and grandchildren and beginning our new life at Duncaster Retirement Community, choosing appliances and wall colors, deciding what to bring with us. The whole transition has been complicated by an illness Hope contracted around February 12. Sore throat, hacking cough, extreme fatigue ... and no fever. The latter made the ship's doctor very happy as she discharged Hope and declared her free of Corona virus. She will see our local doc this afternoon (2/18). So instead of visiting our good friends in Hobe Sound on the way home, we changed our reservations (Very lucky to be able to do this!) and flew to Hartford - where we rounded a corner and saw our son Bruce waiting to help with luggage and drive us home where he had prepared dinner.

In the meantime, we toured the region around Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile ,on February 15 and 16 with a terrific guide, Matio and his driver José. They are part of ToursByLocals, an organization we have just discovered (recommended by ship friends Rick and Michelle Chisholm) and about which we are very enthusiastic. Particularly given Hope's exhaustion, it was grand to have Matio take us to places that Bill could visit while Hope waited. Matio loves his city and his country and told us why; he loves graffiti and hates tagging (non-artistic graffiti) and told us why. He was eager to tell us about the unrest (too mild a word for this incipient revolution) and its causes. So we toured Valparaiso for the first half of Saturday, then went to Santiago where Hope napped and toured Santiago on Sunday before our ten pm flight. Both cities have a plain and many funiculars which provide spectacular views from the hilltops above. Most buildings are constructed of corrugated metal in places, derived from old shipping containers. To us, it looks quite unattractive; our Chilean guides were proud of the creativity it allows.

In the photographs of Valparaiso, note the piano key staircase and the defaced Anglican Church doors. Matio says that the rebels are wildly angry, deeply angry at the church about issues of pedophilia, especially moving bad priests to other parishes, about the use of church funds to support the excesses of clergy, about nuns who have abortions and bury the babies inside convent walls. He cited a sentence given to a convicted Bishop: he got18 months probation and had to take an ethics course. But why deface the Anglican Church? "It doesn't matter," says Matio; churches are all corrupt; they don't help the poor, they help themselves.

Posted by HopeEakins 09:54 Archived in Chile Comments (2)


Land of lakes

semi-overcast 68 °F


Snow-capped mountains, raging rapids, waterfalls, a huge lake, and a volcano – all part of Chile’s southern Lake District - and all filled with tourists from the huge cruise ships calling at Puerto Montt. We also saw alpacas (the colored ones) and llamas (the white ones) and lots of Chilean handicrafts.

Now we are packing for our return. We leave the ship in the early morning of February 15 and will be back in Hartford in the evening of the nineteenth, spending the intervening days with friends in Florida.

Posted by HopeEakins 04:34 Archived in Chile Comments (0)


Crossing the Andes Mountains

all seasons in one day 65 °F
View 2020 Vision - around South America on HopeEakins's travel map.


It was early on a cold wet and windy morning when we arrived at Puerto Chacabuco, on the coast of northwestern Patagonia and tendered in from the ship to board our tour bus. Our journey eastward followed the swift-flowing green waters of Rio Simpson through a steep rocky gorge, not that we could see much of that gorge because of damp rising from sodden passengers inside the bus condensing on the inside of the windows and the rain splashing on the outside made viewing anything very difficult. Up and up we travelled until suddenly we passed through a tunnel near the top of a mountain and emerged on the other side of the Andes with sunshine and blue sky. Below us in the lush green valley lay Coyhaiqué, the principal town of the Chilean province of Ayens.

The dramatic contrast in weather was repeated on the journey back to the ship. However, less rain on the western side of the Andes gave us the chance to appreciate the beauty of the Rio Simpson gorge including the cascading waters of Virgin Falls.

Photos courtesy of Doug Kline, our head usher in the ship’s worshipping community. Actually he’s the only usher, but he’s a great photographer, he shares, and our phones were out of juice.

Posted by HopeEakins 02:22 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 4) Page [1]