Puerto Montt truly lived up to its reputation of being una mierda - a s***hole. We started the day with the long drive-ferry-drive from Castro through a rainy Chiloe. We arrived in town mid-day, finally in time for a cocineria lunch. We headed straight for Angelmo, the area near the water with fish and artesania markets. Despite the numerous touts, we managed to find our first great meal- fried merluza and seafood soup. With our bellies full, we checked out the artesania market which was mostly full of wool clothes and unfinished wooden chotchkies. With several hours to spare we checked into our hostel and tried to explore this ugly industrial town. With no tourist attractions and one of the most deserted town squares (plazas) we have come across we regressed to the one pathetic mall in town. The place was bustling with Christmas shoppers but the variety and cleanliness were pretty pathetic. Nevertheless we got a couple of steps close to completing our gear purchases and headed back to the hostel for a relaxing evening. Only our laziness persuaded us to go to the restaurant at the hostel, but boy were we surprised for the better- gratined albacore tuna, risotto cebolline, and squash soup- this was the closest thing to gourmet we have had in Chile. And so, the saving grace of Puerto Montt was surprisingly good food.
[We have no pictures of Puerto Montt; it must have been too ugly.]