Things to do, places to go, people to see
28.08.2007 15 °C
As we came through the border between Bolivia and Chile we sighed a massive sigh of relief as the dirt roads turned to tar.
At last a country where, in comparison to Bolivia, there seems to be a sense of law and order.
Our first few nights were spent in San Pedro de Atacama. Right up north, it was a right little treat for travellers coming in from Bolivia having done the Salar de Uyuni.
Lots of cute little restaurants, some with open roofs where they would light a fire at night, and you can sit around it on cushions drinking red wine until your head starts nodding and you mooch your way home.
Its amazing how you crave creature comforts when you have been travelling for a long time. Tea, toast, toilets that flush and hot water seem like 5 star luxury after spending time without them.
We were lucky to stay with some mates when we arrived in Santiago. They were amazing to us and so generous with letting us use their home as a base while we gallavanted north and south of Chile.
We lurked around Santiago for a few days, went to Pablo Nerudo´s house who is a famous Chilean poet who won a Nobel Prize for literature. His house is one of the funkiest you will ever see. Lots of trinkets which he collected from his journeys around the world, its a great place to just spend an hour checking out all the junk in his trunk!
We also tried our hand at a bit of wine tasting at one of the more well known wine estates in Chile called Concho y Torro. After a separate wine tasting session with Liz and Felipe we reckon we are quite pro and can come up with all kinds of wino talk that makes us sound like experts. Not quite!
After a short break in the US for my sisters wedding we arrived back in Santiago, and went to a gorgeous little fishing villiage called Horcón. The guidebooks dont rate this place very much, but all the better as it was completely off the gringo trail and sold the best seafood empanadas in South America.
La Serena was another gem. We were lucky with the weather, and hired bikes and took off into the sunset. One beach picnic and a bottle of wine later we tried to fumble our way back to the main village only to have Drews pedal fall off his bike. An interesting style of cycling when you only have one pedal.
Star gazing in Vicuña was another highlight. We got to look through these kick ass telescopes in a observatory which was very high tec!, I have never seen the milky way so clearly pointed out and also got to see Jupitor, different types of star clusters, and Scorpio which was pretty mean!
Bike rides through the vineyards of Pisco Elqui, checking out the quirky coloured houses of Valparaiso, hiking through the Andes, getting panoramic view of Santiago from the top of San Cristobel, watching the local fishermen sell fresh fish at a fishmarket in Valdivia and throw the scraps to the sea lions that come up out of the lake, Red wine, great steak, great seafood!! Have you booked your flight yet?
This has been one of the most surreal countries, and the best part has been that our trip has been a little different to the average gringo. Because we stayed with Liz and her Felipe, we got to hang out with Felipe´s Chilean family. Very funny Spanish misprounciations which end up being massively insulting but we have had some serious belly clutching laughs which is always good.
So we wrap up this quirky little continent with one week left to go skiing in Barriloche Argentina will be the cherry on the top of what has been the most kick ass trip through South America.