A Travellerspoint blog

Homeward Bound

We had a lovely breakfast and chatted with the other guest, David. After, all three went to relax in our rooms and in the end David was very kind and gave us a ride to Casa del Bosque winery. In my opinion, this is a beautiful winery but they are snobby and I don't think their wines are worth as much as they think they are worth. I did a tasting of 4 and they were good and the server was nice and the room was beautiful. I had 2 issues, when we arrived we were directed to a desk and David asked in decent Spanish about a tasting, they just said there was one at 1pm, that's it. So we left. David dropped us off at Kingston winery, and although the staff I talked to we're friendly they were booked up for the day. So Brian and I started walking back to Casa del Bosque, along the way, a staff person from Kingston pulled over and gave us a ride to Casa del Bosque - so nice and I owe the travel karma more now!

When Brian and I returned to Casa del Bosque I asked again about the tasting and reluctantly I got a menu but no prices. I decided on one and she didn't say what to do so I asked where do I go? And then she says you need to pay first, OK fine, but why not say that. I pay and I look around and have to ask again about where to go.
I really don't mind trying to speak Spanish, I'm in Chile after all, but when is obvious that i don't speak Spanish well, slow down (this seems to be impossible in Chile) and use simple phrases, especially if you're trying be a tourist destination!
Afterwards, Brian had been waiting and tried to get on to Wi-Fi but it wasn't working so eventually we asked at the front desk and the gentleman there was very nice and just let us use the WiFi from his phone.

Next, Emiliana - very different. Immediately greeted and asked if we prefer Spanish or English. And he was very helpful and kind. We ordered 2 empañadas with wine, one Sauvignon blanc and the viogner, but the viogner wasn't open but there was one of the higher caliber wine, so he served me that. The grounds were lovely with chickens roaming and a small paddock for alpacas. There were 3 brave chickens that tried to help us with our empañadas.
After we walked to the road but walked just inside the winey and eventually found a small fence to hop over. Then we walked up to House winery and again oddly there were no other visitors. We ordered a sparkling wine for me and a tea for Brian and a delicious brownie with ice cream.
We also got the WiFi and texted the taxi guy fur a pick up.
Back at the B&B we grabbed our bags and walked up the road to the mini bus terminal and got tickets will Pullman for $2300cp to Santiago.
The bus was fine, but it made quite a few stops along the way - this can be a significant time factor.
The most PROBLEMATIC issue is that this bus did not go to Pajaritos or Alemeda stations. Maybe it would have if we had the language skills to ask. But we didn't, the bus arrived at a central terminal and our stress levels went through the roof. We asked and asked and the only things I understood were to walk back to terminal Alemeda (3 blocks) and/or there might be Centro/Aeropuerto buses outside. We were so confused and stressed, we just power walked/ran to Alemeda and got a bus within a couple of minutes of leaving the terminal.
We got to the airport just in time to check our bags make it through passport control (this takes a long time) and we got to the gate as our zone was boarding. Definitely not the way to finish a vacation!

I started this post as we got our seats on the plane. Part of me is/was thinking never again!! No more traveling to places where we don't speak the language.... But we didn't have issues in Asia and I know I'm over reacting. But I also remember the fun and stress of Peru and Colombia. I think I just need a euro trip or north America trip in between...and to practice Spanish more often so that I'm more comfortable. And of course, not to leave things to the last minute! I would have preferred a day in Santiago... But we also don't like big cities and we managed to avoid Santiago.

Overall Chile was great. The W trek was fantastic despite the weather, I'm so proud of us for doing it and completing it. Valparaíso was fun, we relaxed and enjoyed simple days. I'm just a bit exhausted from the stressful bus ride ending and maybe too much wine.

Posted by hillibilli 03:15 Comments (0)

Casablanca

Viña del Mar was nice but wine country was enticing. We made our way to the Valparaíso bus station and after asking a few people we got a relatively cheap bus ($2000CP for both of us) to Casablanca and an hour later we arrived.
The wonderful thing about mobiles, internet and apps is the ability to research and find little gems and Brian did. But we didn't have a way to tell our host that we had arrived early, luckily the neighbor was home and helped us out by calling her and the issue was resolved.
Like the Okanagan and Napa, there are vineyards here with glorious modern tasting rooms. We tried to go to Viña Mar but it was closed for a special event so our taxi took us to the next place, Indomita. We had a fabulous lunch with generously poured sparkling wine, gnocchi and soup. Then we had to figure out how to get to the next place, on the other side of the highway. Brian thought we could run across the highway, I disagreed, this wasn't Asia. So we walked back towards town and over a pedestrian bridge and walked and walked, 6km or so, to Quintay. We splurged and did the tour which was quite good and it included 4 tastings, also relatively generous pours. We quite liked their Sauvignon Blanc and the Syrah and our guide said all were available for $4800CP each, that's under $10 Canadian! We talked to another staff for a minute and said there are no liquor laws, instead the taxes are on books, cinema, concerts/music; the government would rather have the people drink than be intelligent. An interesting insight. Apparently a Chilean passport is very expensive and only lasts a year, so I will stop complaining about our system.
We made it back to our B&B via taxi that Brian WhatsApp messaged and Brian took a nap.
The cold hit him harder than me.
We went out, but Casablanca is a sleepy little town, but we had a very Chilean dinner - un completo Italiano, and churillana.
A completo is a hot dog LOADED with tomatoes, avocado and mayo. The bun was very good but still not quite strong enough in the end. Churillana is a plate of fries topped with steak, chorizo and an egg served with mayo, ketchup, mustard and spicy sauce. I had beer, Brian had a Coca-Cola and we watched the soccer/football game. We ambled back to the B&B and we stayed up for a bit chatting with the other guest, David, who writes for food & wine magazine on the side, his 9-5 is as a political coach that helps teachers and educators get elected into local office.

Switching gears...
The stages of travel:
Booking the flight - excitement and glee
This feeling dies down a bit but regenerates everytime something is booked like domestic flights or a tour etc.

Just before leaving there's anxiety about ensuring everything is in order to travel - cat sitter, money, passports, in this case camping gear and a general worry that the W trek will prove too difficult.
This anxiety gives way to checking out of reality - a general feeling of "I'm not going to worry about this now, I'll restart/regroup in X period of time." I love this feeling, I'm normally not a procrastinator, but before
a vacation I really get into it.

The day of the flight - excitement and relaxation, just sit in that airplane seat and relax.

Destination - "gah!! What are we doing! We don't speak the language!"
But eventually we find our groove.

This trip there was also a bit of "what are we doing here?, This is so similar to BC, why did we fly to the other side of the world?" And a little of " OK I could go home now, I miss home" these were fleeting moments.

Then there's the I want to travel forever feeling, this is amplified after meeting friendly, fabulous young people who are traveling for months. I like to hold onto to this feeling as it keeps me as a minimalist. Then I do laundry by hand in the sink and am very grateful for my washing machine.

There comes a point on a vacation adventure that you have to return to reality - you have to read those strata emails, respond to friends and stop procrastinating life. This is a melancholy feeling mixed with a sprinkle of happiness knowing that soon you'll have your own bed, food, water and in our case our lovely kitties.
And there's also the plane rides home!
International flights are reasonably comfortable, there are good movies and good food. We have a longer domestic flight which will drag on but I'm hoping that the free movies will placate things.

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Posted by hillibilli 02:55 Comments (0)

Viña del Mar

We finally left Alex's house on the hill, on a beautiful morning too. We
did our usual thing for breakfast and finished packing up. We stashed our bags in a spare room and went to the art gallery. It was a person's house from long ago. We are not art people but we did enjoy it, there are some very interesting paintings with paint that makes it look like the sun is setting/rising.
After we went for lunch to a somewhat expensive place, it was Peruvian, and delicious and fresh, just a bit more than anticipated.
Went back to Alex's to get our bags and then we caught the bus down the
road to Viña del Mar. The hostal is very nice and big and next to a school. Brian got my cold and had a shower and a nap and we got going again and 5pm. Found a nice place to have coffee again a little over priced but great coffee. We wandered to a mall but I wasn't interested as the dry air hurt
my eyes, my nose was still runny, I felt dirty as I planned to have a
shower later and all the clothes were spring/summer wear obviously. Back outside we went to the beach and got our feet wet - the Pacific is cold! Wandered some more and found a coffee shop and used their wifi to find a supermarket. Got some ingredients for a simple pasta and a bottle of wine. Back at the hostal we made dinner and ate outside where it was warm and quiet. We will enjoy cosy dinners at home again, but eating outside at
night (no bugs either!) is always special. Brian cleaned up, I showered and off to bed.
With Peru, Colombia and Turkey we only had 10-12 days and were constantly
on the go. Chile has been lovely in that we didn't make plans, just the W trek and have not rushed. Knowing what we know now, it would have been nice to go from Punta Arenas to the Atacama desert area or stopped in Puerto Montt. Instead we meandered around an art infused city and actually
relaxed. We've got two more days as our flight leaves late on Thursday and we plan on staying in the wine valley.

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Posted by hillibilli 02:45 Comments (0)

Concón

Forgot the pictures!

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Posted by hillibilli 18:35 Comments (0)

Valparaíso day 4

This is possibly the library we have stayed in one place while on vacation like this. But yesterday it was really nice to keep things very simple, especially with my cold. It wasn't bad, but the extra nap and taking it easy helped.
Today, Monday, we went to Concón, a town north of Valparaíso. First we had to catch a bus, which is relatively easy thanks to Google - thanks Google! The bus system here is easy enough if you know the area, the buses say where they are going, but if you don't know then it's challenging as there are no maps.
We got on a bus heading to Concón. These buses are like no other, the drivers are all trying to be F1 drivers and they must maintain their buses very well it seems as they are hard and fast with the brakes and similar to start so hold on!
We reached the same dunes in Concón and there happened to be a grocery plaza across street, so we went there first fit a snack.
We climbed a dune, enjoyed our snack (baklava) with a gorgeous view - ocean, pelicans and Valparaíso in the distance.
We made our way down and took a chance on waiting for a bus which worked out nicely and found a nice beach to walk along and then found lunch.
We found a fantastic place for lunch, we had their menu, which thankfully want overpriced for tourists. I had a fish consume and some salad and fried fish; Brian had avocado with shrimp and albacore tuna with rice. With a drink each and all for $13500CP ~ $24.
Then we found a nice park and dozed under a tree fire a bit. We foolishly made eye contact with a lovely big black dog who then decided to join us and he made all the docs behind fences mad and almost got into a fight with a boxer but he was much bigger so he just growled and the boxer eventually backed off. We wandered back to the coast and followed it for a while before catching the bus back to Valparaíso. This driver was definitely training for the track!
We got a few groceries and took the funicular back up the hill. Had our usual dinner of wine, cheese and bread while chatting to a couple of other guests.
My cold has turned into allergies which is so annoying!! From annoying dry cough to super runny nose ugh!!

Posted by hillibilli 18:25 Comments (0)

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