Antarctica and Patagonia: An Adventure on the Seabourn Quest – Part IX (Punta Arenas & Goldring Travel Goes Local and Culinary)
The Seabourn Quest’s Antarctic Adventure continued its Patagonia segment in Punta Arenas, Chile. I had nothing in particular planned, so it was a great day to just wander…in the sun, in the rain, in the sun, in the rain, in the wind…and eventually in the WIND!
|Imperial Cormorant coming in for a landing|
Punta Arenas, Chile itself is not a terribly compelling town, but there were a number of tours that required the Seabourn Quest to have a long day in port. I was relieved (happy?) to be on my own for an extended period so that I could walk miles of the beach and coast of the Straits of Magellan as I still was working hard on processing “Antarctica”; even just getting my head better around the scale of it.
The Seabourn Quest now seems so powerful and makes a definite statement, but in Antarctica it was quite insignificant both in stature and size; requiring due care that something as simple as ice could block her course or could even disable her. As I walked down the course black and grey sand beach I turned back to see the Seabourn Quest and thought, “What a trip! If a person saw her at the pier they would never know the experiences she just provided to her guests.”
|Seabourn Quest docked in Punta Arenas, Chile|
While I was a bit disappointed with the garbage on the shore, the bird life was exciting. (I was told that seal and whale watching from the shore can be good, but I had no luck, though I think the winds whipping up the water might have obscured some possible sightings.)
|A lone Rock Cormorant on a wood piling|
|Imperial Cormorant with fledglings|
I continued my walk out to a spit were there were two flocks of seagulls. With the sun just right, it made them glow. It was an “Ahhhh” moment for me…and one I needed.
Turning back towards the town, I saw some old buildings painted with wonderful old street scenes from whaling and other times. It brought back the memory of the abandoned cauldron used by the whalers I saw at Yankee Harbor.
Passing the port I walked for a few miles, through the rather nondescript town of Punta Arenas, pushing against the gusty winds, looking at birds and unsuccessfully seeking out seals and whales, though I did come across an interesting ship wreck still showing off her bowsprit, wondering if she was an old whaling ship, and a pier made out of old ships.
|Interesting old shipwreck|
|Seabourn Quest and and old four-masted ship tied to|
a pier made out of abandoned ships.
Now that I had about 6 miles of coast under my soles, my head was a bit more quiet. And, therefore, it was then time to do what I do best: Find the Mercado and eat local!
I do have to mention that a number of Seabourn guests thought I was crazy eating off the ship. I am not sure why this is so other than a lack of experience…and hype. The reality is that if a place gets its customers sick it will be out of business quickly. So along those lines, I walked into the Mercado and, as it was Sunday, there was very little open downstairs in the way of fish markets, but upstairs there were about half a dozen tiny restaurants. I noticed that three were crowded with locals and the others, well, not so much.
As crowded usually means good – and safe – food, two people sought my business but only one spoke some English…and that decided it. Magallania was it. I found a small table with a view of both the water and the small kitchen. Perfect!
|My view of the Chilean wine|
(I had pisco sours)
|My view of the kitchen|
|My view of the water|
A pisco sour started things off
|Pisco Sour – My first of three!|
It was interesting to me that cheese pretty much comes with everything, but it is a very light and fairly creamy sort. First up was ceviche; noting that Chilean ceviche is very heavy on salmon. It was very good even though I am not big fan of farmed salmon, one of Chile’s largest exports, because of what the fish are fed to get them to grow to market size in two versus a natural five years.
|Ceviche tasted as good as it looked…and very refreshing!|
This was followed by a delicious Octopus and Cheese Empanada…because I have to try the local specialties!
|Octopus and Cheese Empanda|
As I enjoyed my empanada and my second pisco sour, I watched my Hake with Cheese, Tomato and Onion baked in a foil pouch prepared.
|Hake with cheese, tomato and onion. Simple and tasty.|
I ended with one of the best soups I have ever had: King Crab and Cheese Soup….with my third pisco sour. When the matriarch of the restaurant came over and told me to add a bit of what I believe was spicy paprika I was in heaven.
|King Crab and Cheese Soup|
As I was about the depart the woman came over to be sure all was well. When I said I was very happy and her food was delicious she said she was amazed not only that I liked the local food, but by how much I ate!
Now full and feeling the effects of the pisco sours it was time to head back to the Seabourn Quest. What I wasn’t prepared for was the WIND. It was incredible…and it was going to get worse! Upon arriving back onboard I stopped at the Patio Bar for, you guessed it, another pisco sour that I would be taking to my forward hot tub. By the time I got out there the wind was so strong it was literally blowing my cocktail out of the glass!
|The wind in Punta Arenas was incredible.|
Look at the flag and windsock!
After a nap, I determined there was no way I could eat dinner so I enjoyed the sail away, with much subsided winds, in the Observation Lounge. After relaying my day’s activities to Alex, the bartender, he decided I should try a number of different pisco drinks. Yikes!
Let’s just say it was an early evening! And, let’s also say that it was a really good day to manage some of the energy that Antarctica had imparted upon me.
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