Puerto Montt, Chile (or is it Muerto Montt?)
Puerto Montt is located in southern Chile. The city was founded in 1853 during the government funded German colonization of Chile and named after Manuel Montt, the President of Chile from 1851 and 1861. Montt was responsible for setting in motion the German immigration.
The city’s heritage is a mix of German and Chiloé culture. The Chiloé Archipelago consists of several islands lying just off the coast of Chile. Puerto Montt is considered the administrative center of the region. It's estimated that people may have been living in this area as early as 12,000 BC!
Internet cafes, known as cyber cafes in South America, were usually one of the first places my parents visited in each port. My mum became the master of finding cyber cafes and sent me email updates from all their stops.
The Chilean Navy has an important naval base in Puerto Montt, as well as bases in Valparaiso, Iquique, Punta Arenas, and Antarctica. The navy assumes responsibility for maritime search and rescue in an area extending approximately 4,000 kilometers west of its coastline.
Chiloé culture has an unusual mythology. Due to the fact that the archipelago is separated from the mainland of Chile, the mythology in this area flourished because it was isolated from the Spanish occupation of the rest of the country. When the Spanish began the conquest of the area in 1567, the mythology became a mixture of the indigenous peoples religions and the legends brought by the conquistadors.
According to Chiloé mythology, the origin of the archipelago comes from a fierce battle between two serpents, Trentren Vilu (translation: earth snake) and Caicai Vilu (translation: water snake).
The style of architecture in Puerto Montt and the surrounding Chiloé areas is unique due to the fact that nearly all the buildings are made out of wood.
Certain areas of Puerto Montt have become run down and look quite grungy. This is why some of the locals refer to Puerto Montt as "Muerto Montt", or "Dead Montt". Despite this, I'm sure that on a beautiful sunny day the city is just as attractive as the other Chilean coastal ports.
Wow, so much locally made cheese! I guess Chileans really like cheese?
Puerto Montt’s economy is based on agriculture, cattle farming, forestry, and fishing. The city has one of the largest salmon aquaculture industries in the world. During 1990 to 2000 Chile gained renown as the second largest salmon producer of the world. Fresh salmon is flown out daily to world markets and frozen salmon is shipped by sea to various destinations.
My German parents were fascinated by the fact that their cafe bill said "Kuchen", which is the German word for cake. Other shop signs in the streets of the city include German words as well. It looks like the German influence can still be felt in Puerto Montt!