My Second Antarctic Adventure – Palmer – Part V

Beautiful Chile to Antarctica – copyright 2009 Jack W. Cummings

Eighteen days after leaving the winter weather of Boston Harbor, we sailed into and docked in the warm waters of Valparaiso, Chile. Today, as I write his, it is a balmy 83 degrees there, so I can only assume that it was at least in the 70 – 80 degree range during our four day stay there.. It was a welcome change. Since members of the wintering over party were only passengers, we were permitted to come and go as we pleased. With this in mind Charlie, Tom, and I made our arrangements to take the train to Santiago and spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful city. Since we did not have any civilian clothes with us, we would have to travel in our dress blue (wool) uniforms. I don’t remember this being anything that we were concerned about. About the only thing I can remember about that train trip there and back was what horrible condition the train tracks were in, which made moving around the cars nearly impossible. I did spend some time in the dining car where I enjoyed a breakfast of “huevos rancheros” which included a thick steak. It was an amazing meal, and it only cost $1 US. All I can recall about the countryside that we travelled through was sparsely populated areas similar to southern California. To see if this train was available now, I “flew” the route between Valparaiso and Santiago via Google Earth. It is apparent that the train route is no more and has mostly been replaced by a modern four-lane super highway. I recently read the blog of Carla Appel who had in September, returned to South America from New Palmer Station and was pleased with the modern buses serving Chile and Argentina. I suspect that old train has been replaced by a modern highway and deluxe buses. In my “flight” I observed what appeared to be a very prosperous countryside. Continue reading “My Second Antarctic Adventure – Palmer – Part V”