Valparaiso Departure I

Thoughts on Departures

Late afternoon of our departure from the Chilean port city Valparaiso,  Pam and I enjoyed entertainments on the Regatta.  This painting of a ship under sail brings to mind the history of Valparaiso, as a place only reachable by ship, clinging to a narrow ledge on the Andes, barely existing for centuries, repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes until the 19th century brought sailing vessels such as this, growth and prosperity.  Major earthquakes hit the years 1730, 1822, 1839, 1873, 1906, 1907.  After 1907, the city was rebuilt anew in the modern form.  The inhabitants must enjoy spot, naming it “Vale of Paradise.”

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-1

While, in the 21st century the city enjoys a refreshment of an influx of artists and visitors such as the Regatta, the danger of the next massive quake is ever present and unpredictable.

As we enjoyed the artwork….

ValparaisoDeparture-13

….a pianist entertained us.

ValparaisoDeparture-14

As usual, I was carting photography equipment to capture the moments as the afternoon moved towards…

ValparaisoDeparture-15

….the scheduled departure among still life painting in the style of the Dutch masters.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-16

That day I chose the upper decks as the best vantage point.  From there, Pam and I viewed the departure of a similar ship to the Regatta, the “Ocean Princess.”  It must have been the last voyage of the Princess under that name as, the same year, it was acquired by the Oceania line, refurbished, relaunched as the “Sirena”.

The Chilean navy base and Naval Academy is there.  The Ocean Princess navigated around this docked destroyer…..

ValparaisoDeparture-2

…with the assistance of the tugboat Alcatraz, a name derived from the Spanish word for pelican as in “La Isla de los Alcatraces” (Island of the Pelicans) where the former Alcatraz prison was built in San Francisco Harbor.  Spanish speakers think of birds when viewing the tub boat.  Americans think of prisoners (escaping) and San Francisco.  Unlike San Francisco Harbor, Valparaiso Bay is a semi-circle open to the ocean, the harbor is on the southern, north facing (away from the ocean) shore, protected by a long (3,000 foot) breakwater along which the Chilean war ships dock.  We are viewing the Alcatraz after most of the work for the Ocean Princess departure was done.

ValparaisoDeparture-3

The north end of the bay is residential, behind the towers are homes arrayed on the hillside, the only land available.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-4a

Much of the harbor and city business district, in the foreground (below), on the south side is on land reclaimed from the sea.

ValparaisoDeparture-5

All around the Regatta was a working port.  Here rolls of cable (wire?) are prepared for hoisting onto a cargo ship.  Note the hawsers, taught under the strain, between the workmen and the ship hull.

ValparaisoDeparture-6

Passengers board the Regatta from the last tours.  I expect this is the trip to Santiago.  Most of the dockings the Regatta was surrounded by the port, the only way to access the city was on a tour bus as the port activity made walking too dangerous.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-7

I can only guess the role the Alcatraz is playing here…..

ValparaisoDeparture-8

…. probably it is positioned to give the Ocean Princess a nudge if the harbor pilot misjudges the turn around the breakwater and warships.  In a harbor, a ship’s crew passes control to a harbor pilot who knows the navigation challenges much better than is possible for them.

ValparaisoDeparture-9

Today, as 99.9% of all days, the pilot makes the turn safely.  Here is a better view of the warship.

ValparaisoDeparture-10

Looking back toward the harbor, the crane is hoisting those rolls, the tug boat “Lauca” framed by the superstructure of (I think) the crane.

ValparaisoDeparture-11

The Ocean Princess is will under way, as shown by the long wake.  As luck will have it, When the Regatta follows the sun will be much lower, the light better for photography.  At the stern of the warship, the masted vessel is a training ship for the Chilean Naval Academy.

Click this link for my Fine Art Photography gallery.

ValparaisoDeparture-12

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved 

German Club “To the Watermill”

Nostalgia and Great Food

Our tour of Chilean Lake Country and Volcanoes began from the harbor of Puerto Montt, in the tender we boarded from the ship Regatta. This is a small boat carried in the hold and deployed to transport passengers to ports without docking facilities. Once on land, we met our guide for the day and boarded the bus.

I have yet to post about our first stop, Puerto Varas, a 20 minute ride and our first exposure to the influence of 19th Century German settlers seen, from our bus windows, in the architecture. Today’s post is about our lunch stop, a restaurant half way between Puerto Varas and Ensenada.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Club Aleman Molino de Agua

Club Alemans (German Clubs) are found in Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, and here. Each is a gathering place for locals to celebrate their heritage, a feeling somewhat diluted over time to where, now, they speak of themselves as “Chileans of German extraction” and the great majority speak Spanish at home and are exposed to the German language as school courses.

For past generations, the link was stronger, German was the language spoken at home and there was homesickness for the cultural traditions left behind and somewhat alleviated by the similarity of Chilean Lake Country to foothills of the Alps. Once established, the settlers duplicated the architectural features using local wood. Notably, many houses are clad with shingles from the Alerce (also known as Fitzroya cupressoides), a type of Cypress native to southern Chile and Argentina. The roof shingles of Club Aleman, seen below, were of this type.

The sign translates to “German Club: to the watermill” from the two languages used: Spanish and German. The sign reads “lunch, dinner, late night.” “Onces means Late Night.

The “watermill” is a nostalgic, sentimental reference echoed in architectural and decorative details throughout the property, such as this series of posted set to suggest a device used to control water flow. There is no water flowing through the property.

Our lunch was excellent Chilean fare, but I don’t recall what it was, exactly and I didn’t photograph the interior. For us, an plus of using these cruise tours is all the details are taken care of, releasing us to maximize our enjoyment of the surroundings.

A dark side to these settings was the attraction the area had to un-remorseful Nazis fleeing war crime prosecution. In Chile and Argentina they found refuge in the 1940’s, 50’s and were supporters of the Pinochet dictatorship. None of this history was presented by our excellent guide, nor was it reflected in these rustic charms.

I was fascinated, for some reason, by the two dormers of the main building root with the wheel-like decoration.

The Garden

A native plant encountered frequently in our travels, growing wild, and here.
Close-up of the shrub growing to either side of those large leaves.

Calbuco Simmered

An unsettling volcanic neighborhood

Postings last week featured the symmetrical, haunting cone of Orsorno and I have more images and stories to share of this quiescent horror in waiting. Today you will learn of another stratovolcano just 16 miles from Orsorno, also ancient; unlike Orsorno, misshapen and a current threat to local residents.

Calbuco is its name, taken from an indigenous language, “Blue Water” in English. It must refer to the water of Lake Llanquihe. As we drove Road 225 Calbuco was on one side, to the south, the lake on the other. When we visited Petrohué Falls, the river forms a southern boundary to the Llanquihue National Reserve from which Calbuco rises.

April 2015 Eruptions

Where we planned out trip, nine months before this day in February 2016, Calbuco erupted without warning with explosions one step below that of Mount St. Helen’s 1980 event. The volcanic plume of ash and cinders reached more than 10 kilometers ( 6+ miles ) high. It was fortunate the wind direction took the ash away from the nearby cities of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt. Each is about 17 miles from Calbuco. As it was, the catastrophe destroyed crops and made farmers lives difficult. Farmers and the residents of the rural village Ensenada, nine miles away, evacuated to save their lives. Abandoned farm animals perished. Village residents returned to homes, roads, gardens covered in ash.

Here is a photograph of an ash and cinder drift from the explosion, just off Road 555 on the slopes of Orsorno volcano, above Ensenada village.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Settlement Beneath Active Volcanos

At the start of the 18th Century the provinces around Lake Llanquihe were thinly populated. The government of Chile, in anticipation of seizure of the land by European powers, cooperated with efforts of German emigres to resettle German families fleeing a disorderly revolution. Today the region show the cultural influence of these settlers. Here is the exterior of the Club Alemain (“German Club”), the restaurant along Road 225 were we had an excellent lunch. ††

Look closely at the chimney. The stones are black and porous, volcanic cinders from Calbuco eruptions.

German settlers were there to witness, and suffer, the 1893-1895 Calbuco eruptions, one of the most explosive experienced in Southern Chile. Debris was ejected eight kilometers with large flows of hot mud. Farmers on the eastern shore of Lake Llanquihe petitioned the government to be resettled elsewhere. Without options, many remained.

Here is a view of the monster, a threatening presence to the south. That is vapor from the active caldera. Today, people live here, enjoying the current moments of their surroundings.

Calbuco Volcano, February 15, 2016

Click me for the first post in this series, “Orsorno Volcan

o and Tourists.”

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Where Are The Alerces?

Chipped into Shingles?

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the second post of this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Chipped into Shingles?

Wood is a building material the German pioneers had in abundance. They went to work clearing the forests, tilling the land and building structures such as this, a house in the town of Puento Varas on Lake Llanquihue. In face, those windows face the lake. I have our guide to thank for these photographs of the houses, early on as we drove through Puerto Montt she shared the significance of the shingles with us.

The shape is identical to that used in Germany and Switzerland wooden frame homes. It was the wood of a tree native to Chile and western Argentina that made these possible and in the course of surviving in a new land, a good portion of their natural patrimony was spent. Since the late 1960’s Chile has backed away from this and conservation of the slow growing Alerce is now paramount.

We can intuit how difficult the winters are from the view into this house provided by the window. There is a room outside the living area, sealed by a second door to prevent the escape of warmth. The use of metal embedded into the low concrete wall is common in the South American countries we visited.

Close by, also facing the lake in Puerto Varas, is this police station, the “Civil Police,” whatever than means. It is a small, apparently historic, building. Rising around it are modern hotels.

This large rural shed, on the outskirts of the town, appears to be a structure from the original 19th century settlers, a testimony to the durability of Alerce shingles covering the siding and the large, steeply sloped roof.

Open Country

Suddenly we were graced with these cleared farm fields, here and there large modern homes high on the hill for a sweeping view of the lake.

In the distance is Calbuco, the volcano whose eruption broke the peace ten months before our trip. The wind spared these lands the destructive effect of falling ash.

“We’re not in Kansas Anymore, Toto”

Fertile land

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the third post of this series.

Click photograph for a larger view.
Orsorno Volcano, Lakes
District, Chile

So much depends……

an accumulation of things

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the fourth post of this series. Click me for “Swiss Chalet,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

……on cut grass rolled into hay below the volcano

Here is a comforting sight for a dairy farmer: well cured fodder ready for the winter. Apologies to William Carlos Williams. “So much/ depends/upon a red wheel /barrow/glazed with rain/water/besides the white /chickens.” (XXII, “Spring and All”, 1923).

A home surrounded by carefully tended gardens. Flowers and sweet corn, yum! Compare the style of the house this that of my first post. The lighting was better and this photograph captures the detail of the Alerce shingles.

On one side was Calbuco Volcano, seen across hay fields and hills……

……on the other is the lower slopes of Osorno, the cone hidden by clouds.

On the east side of where the waters of Rio Pescado flow into Lake Llanquihue the Holy Cross Chapel serves silent testimony to the influence of German immigrants who, fleeing war and chaos, settled these lands.

Swiss Chalet?

cone under the moon

A user commented on a Chile Lake District post of mine asking for more photos of Germany. This is striking, because German traveler who visited have made note of parallels between this area and Europe. In this series I will share photography taken from the tour bus window as we traveled to the Lake District and returned to Puerto Montt. I used a handheld Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III SLR with the Canon lens EF 70-300 f 4-5.6LIS. This is the first post of this series. Click me for “Orsorno Volcano and Tourists,” the first post in that series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

House on a Hill

Wood is a building material the German pioneers had in abundance. They went to work clearing the forests, tilling the land and building structures such as this, the steeply sloping roof to shed snow, gabled dormers for more living space on the top floor.

This has a tin roof, but many roofs are shingles made from magnificent Alerce trees. The government banned the export of Alerce wood in 1976. It is a slow growing tree, the fine grained wood is in demand. I believe the tall tree towering over the roof is a Monkey Puzzle, scientific name Araucaria araucana, an ancient evergreen, the national tree of Chile and one of the unique differences the early Germans came to recognize and love as their own South American identify.

I will have some great examples of shingled homes in a later post. The roof of this restaurant is Alerce shingles.

The Orsorno Volcano, somehow reminiscent of the Alps and very different. Here a half moon, high above and shining brightly on a summer evening, February 2016. These are some of the touches European travelers name “Chilean Swiss.”

Orsorno Volcano and Petrohué Waterfalls

Petrohué Waterfalls (pronounced petro-WEH) is within Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park of Chile. For me, this view was one of the draws of our entire trip, that stratovolcano and its craggy children in the distance the same type as Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that wiped Pompeii off the map in 79 AD. Described by Pliny, the eruption type is named even today “plinian,” the most destructive and violent of all volcanic eruptions.

It was an irrational happiness I felt walking this place, I still smile to myself remembering it.

Click photograph for a larger view.
The mastery of water over volcanic rock deposited by ancient eruptions of the Orsorno Volcano.

Back To School, Uruguay

A late summer Friday evening

Since 1877 primary education in Uruguay is universal, compulsory and free. These days students receive free education through university, literacy is the highest in South America at 95%, equally for males and females.

These photographs are from a cruise around South American my wife, Pam, and I enjoyed February / March 2016 on the Oceania ship Regatta. This was the evening of February 26, 2016, a Friday, in the city Montevideo, Uruguay.

This image is the theme of this blog, “back to school”. On Avenue Gral Eugenio Garzon of the Colon neighborhood of Montevideo a mother and four daughters discuss a shop window featuring “back to school” clothing and necessaries. The children range in age from pre-school to teen. This is evidently a serious discussion about preparing for the school year which starts in March for Uruguay.

A government program launched in 2007 expands Information and Communication technologies in primary schools with these goals:
— To distribute technology,
— To promote knowledge,
— To generate social equity.

Called Ceibal, after a tree native to Uruguay, the program was a success. From 2009 – 2012 450,000 laptops, popularly named “”ceibalitas”, were delivered to children coordinate with teacher training and a monitoring and evaluation model for assessing the impact nationally. Ceibal is the acronym for “Conectividad Educativa de Informática Básica para el Aprendizaje en Línea” (Educational Connectivity/Basic Computing for Online Learning in English).

These photographs build on the theme of the positive influence education has on the lives of Uruguayans, many of whom live in poverty.

A family gathering in their yard on Avenue Gral Eugenio Garzon, enjoying a cool late summer evening.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Traffic and a gas station. People were out and about, walking and conversing. There is a makeshift trailer attached to the motorcycle, behind is a large truck.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Storefront with customer and man loitering on wall. A mini-Honda all terrain vehicle is on display.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Mate is a beverage enjoyed throughout South America. Here companions enjoy a warm summer evening with a thermos of hot water and mate gourd behind a restaurant, their view across the train tracks and the Colon rail station is of a playground and playing fields.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

A family of very young soccer players coming from practice with teammates. The sponsors of lucky number 7 are the bank Banrisul and Tramontina, a kitchenware manufacturer.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

We waited to board an historic train and shared the station with Montevideans waiting for a passenger train. Here are two families: a mother and pre-teen daughter colorfully dressed, a grandmother and grandson. Behind them are the playing fields and playground.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

A passenger train heading north passed while we waited for our ride to begin. Curiosity shines from this child’s eyes.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Happy families greeted us with waves and smiles during our trip to downtown Montevideo.

Some of the homes along the rail line. Pools such as that are popular in cities. We saw a great many on the streets in Lima, Peru.

Reaction to the historic train from a group of young men.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Curious playmates gather at the end of the road.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

A well attended playground.

Back To School -- CLICK ME!!!!

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

With and Without People

always without water

Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve

Getty requires a signed photo release for each human in a photograph.

For this, the single best overview from our time with the Pintado Geoglyphs, I carefully painted out every human figure, our fellow tourists.

Here are the versions with and without human figures.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved