The town of dogs and wool

What a strange little town – Puerto Montt – on the coast of Chile which was one of our port stops on our cruise around the Horn of South America.  I started off with a brisk walk to the downtown area an en route stopped to see the cathedral which is apparently the second oldest in the world.  It was certainly unspectacular but evidently much loved. Locals seemed to stop in frequently for a quick prayer or a moment of silent thought.  The people here seem to be very devout and I was shamed to have realized that I did not make the sign of the cross as I entered.  My old Mother Superior would be shocked – or maybe not ….. but that’s another story.

Right next to the main square is a bright shiny new mall which was a handy place for a bathroom break.  I headed in there for a look around and felt that some weird teleporter machine had whisked me back to South Centre in Calgary.  It was exactly the same – marble floors, brand name stores and escalators galore … and that incessant mall type music which somehow drives me insane after just half an hour.  I had to get out.

A long walk along the promenade which was busy with backpackers, buskers and lots and lots of stray dogs.  The backpackers looked tired and burdened down with huge packs both front and back.  I did see a hostel along the way and I had to thank my lucky stars that I was not spending the night there.   But the dogs…. oh my goodness … there were so many in various stages of neglect.  It was quite upsetting although the dogs seemed to be well fed but very ungroomed.  Local people fed them bits and pieces and they pretty much left you alone.  I was worried that they might be a bit aggressive but they were not at all.  So I guess the local people love dogs.  It’s a bit like some towns in Europe you go to and there are tons of cats – I never saw a single cat – this is a dog town for sure.

Next stop was the market and wow – what a great visit that was.  We definitely saved the best till last.  Stall after stall of hand made articles in wood, leather and wool.  Bales of wool abounded being spun and twisted into yarn.  Handmade jewellery, leather and even shops dedicated to all things horsy such as hand made tack, spurs and saddle blankets.

An interesting and strange town with friendly people and yes ….. lots of dogs.


By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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