A bee, city of rivers and artisan breweries

Luckily it is a sunny day as we depart from Pucón and make our way towards the city of Valdivia located in the river district of Chile. Valdivia is not a coastal town but lies in-between rivers on the Pacific coast of Chile.

On our way to Valdivia, I had to make an emergency stop as a bee got in-between my face and helmet. As I pull off the road, throw up my visor, pull my glasses of and push my helmet off (thus all in a matter of 1 second) the Carabineros pulls in next to me to find out if I’m ok, I just point to my helmet and go “bzzeee” while swirling my fingers and then giving them the thumbs up.

Arriving in Valdivia, looking for a place to stay for the following few nights we drive around knocking on a few Hostel doors. Eventually, we find a hostel with a huge gay flag outside and are greeted by a friendly American lady that ushers us inside. The city is built at the confluence of three rivers, and many of the main sights and much of the life of the city revolves around the area immediately around the rivers.

Hostel Aires Buenos is located in the heart of Valdivia close to everything, and very well organised. After a quick tour, we are all settled in. We shared a room with Rich, a 72-year-old school teacher from California, who is also travelling through Chile. He says that we will love Valdivia as there are lots of stuff to do. After finishing a great bottle of Chilean Syrah and a late dinner we retire for the evening.

– Submarine O’Brien

The next morning we head out to the riverfront our first stop is the Submarine O’Brien, The Chilean submarine O’Brien (S22) is an Oberon-class Diesel Electric submarine in the Chilean Navy. O’Brien was commissioned by the Chile Armada and made in Scotland and was in service from the mid-1970s until the mid-2000s. It has now been replaced by the newer Thomson-class submarines Thomson (SS-20).

Armed with hard hats and life jackets we head inside for a personal tour (well we were only 4 people), the stairs lead sharply down the back hatch and we keep knocking our heads against everything. I assume you have to be short to get a position on a Submarine. Our guide leads us to the torpedo chamber and explains that they hold about 16 torpedoes onboard. The full staff complement was 75 sailors, 25 on duty, 25 on standby and 25 sleeping.

– Marius & Theunis on the Submarine O’Brien

Theunis showing off his Submarine O’Brien

After Marius presses too many buttons we were eventually told to leave ;), so we headed over the massive pendulum.

– Buttons! – Submarine O’Brien

Right next to the market it is a monument to the 1960 earthquake, the strongest earthquake in recorded human history at 9.5 on the Richter scale. It is estimated that this earthquake shifted the earth figure axis by eight centimetres. The pendulum shows the Coriolis effect.

– The Foucault pendulum

-The Foucault pendulum

The Foucault pendulum on the pier along the riverfront next to the local fish and fresh food market. Giant seals climb up along the pier to feast on the cutoffs from the fish traders. A wide variety of shell- and fresh fish are available.

After getting some fresh peaches we headed over the bridge towards the Museum, our first stop, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo by the university housed in a former brewery with changing exhibits from Chilean artists. There was a magnificent light exhibition which appealed both to the visual as well as auditory perceptions.

– Light exhibit – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo

– Museo de Arte Contemporáneo

The Mauricio van de Maele historical anthropological museum is also known as the Andwandter House and presents a neoclassic design. The façade has a portico with three lowered arches, tin composite roof and walls covered in timber.

– Mauricio van de Maele historical anthropological museum

There are various rooms on the inside, where the three main ethnic groups which cooperated in the creation of the regional identity are represented. The collections exposed revolve around the first Americans who dwelled the template forests 12,000 years ago, the early and steady Hispanic presence which determined the character of the City of Valdivia and the impact caused by the German colonists who arrived in these lands after 1850.

– Mauricio van de Maele historical anthropological museum, it has no buttons, WHAT???

I tried to get the phone to work but it had no buttons, so eventually just gave up. The museum is filled with the history of the original habitats of Chile and the Los Ríos area. With a slight drizzle in the air, we headed over to the Botanical Garden of the University, one of the first botanical gardens in Chile. It was created in 1955 with the mission to make it a referent of Chile’s endemic flora and a place to also show worldwide flora.

It has over 950 species divided into sections like the Magallanic Forest, the Valdiviano Forest and the Myrtaceae garden, among others. it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Valdivia. The bus from Valdivia to Niebla (That means foggy in Spanish) is located on the Pacific Ocean and is a small beautiful town. Originally built as a military outpost the town later became a big port for lumber. The view around the town is breathtaking and you can see the islands between the fjords.

– Flowers at Niebla

– Niebla

– Niebla

Our bus journey dropped us off at the Cervecería Valtor, a very small brewery with very few visitors, at a stage it was just Marius and myself, we each had a pint of their Negro and Red Ale respectively and a huge plate of Fritos for lunch (Yes that is like American fries).

– Cervecería Valtor

– Theunis with the fermenters behind him at Cervecería Valtor

– Marius going big at Cervecería Valtor

Down the road from there is the overly popular Cervecería Kuntsmann, Marius called it the Disney world of microbreweries. When we arrived there the place was packed with visitors after they tried to sell us a beer tour for USD20 each we decided to just have a pint each, it seems that these Germans forgot how to make beer as it was just ok’ish.

– “Better signs than beer” – Trip

– 20USD for a tour, What?

Heading back to Valdivia a bit tipsier than what we left it we looked forward to spending an evening with new friends, paella and vino.

– Marius and the tower, check out facebook album for more info 😉