Happy Travel Tuesday! Gosh I have been working so hard on this post – there was so much to say and I definitely had to keep some of it for other posts! Spa anyone? Pisco sour anyone? All will be revealed in time!
But thank you for bearing with me, we are almost at the end of my trips to Chile! One last push after this one. Though hopefully I convinced you to join me along in these adventures with my 7 reasons why you should visit Chile! What is getting great about this – while I am no longer a cutie 3 year old – is that we are truly starting to get into the memories that I really remember myself and the memories that I cherish of this family trip to Chile!
The dream had always been to do a family trip to Chile – the 4 of us, all together! As you may have noticed through my past posts, every time I have gone to Chile as a child, it was with either one of my parents and so did my brother. It was an absolute treat when in 2004-2005, we all headed to the airport together to start this amazing trip.
I might skip over a few awkward teen/tween stages that meant my brother and I weren’t always super grateful that we were on this familial trip – but nonetheless it was an amazing opportunity and I still cherish all the memories!
1. The trip started on ice – literally. Our flight Montreal/Miami was delayed massively because they were de-icing the wings. I’m all for not having iced wings – so they could well take their time for all I cared. However, that meant that once we arrived in Miami we had a mere few minutes to catch our plane to Santiago. As we landed well past midnight, about 30 of us, all heading down to Chile, started running through the almost empty airport to make it to our gate. Which we thankfully did!
2. A visit in the sun – After a long night and almost 10 hours in the plane, we were greeted by my grandmother at the airport. What a lovely morning! After getting changed into summer clothes and having a lovely tea time, my dad’s cousin brought us to the Centro Artesanal de los Dominicos. I don’t remember much except that I was warm and sleepy and loved that the palm trees looked like massive pineapples. We didn’t stay out too long because we were all longing to sleep in the horizontal position.
3. Isla Negra – A day or two later, we were already on the move. After staying with my aunt’s family in Llolleo, we visited one of Pablo Neruda’s house, Isla Negra. He had three very eccentric houses around Chile and they are all now museums. I have been to all of them and I believe this will warrant a post of its own – keep an eye out!
4. The coast of Valparaiso – I’ve mentioned Valparaiso before and will again and again as it is probably one of my favourite places in the North. We headed there right after Isla Negra, but unfortunately we got slightly lost and got off at the wrong stop. We never managed to make it to the sea side, but by chance we ended up meeting up with a Quebec friend of my mom who was nearby visiting her Chilean husband’s family. Isn’t there anything better than meeting a familiar face on the other side of the world?
5. My first Christmas in the sun – I love me a white Christmas, but this was a special one since the whole family showed up and we had such a great time eating and drinking and sharing stories. Some of my cousins even cut off the top of the three in the backyard – to my grandmother’s despair – to make a Christmas tree inside.
6. Travel to Peninsula San Ramon – My grandmother used to be part of a group of elders who always planned little trips like these to new places every year. The year we were there we tagged along to the Peninsula San Ramon. It is a gorgeous island off the coast of Valdivia in the southern part of the country. A whole post on this gorgeous island and its giant trees is also a definite must!
7. Discovering the food/drink of Chile – While the food can be slightly appalling for a semi vegetarian like me, it still is fascinating to see the different kinds of bbqs people use and the different kind of cocktails people make. My favourite ice cream soon became a little raspberry and vanilla mix (nothing has changed in 11 years) and I had it so many times! It’s in basically all my photos! And a whole post on pisco sour is definitely to come!
8. A quick visit of Valdivia – We didn’t see much of Valdivia during that trip because we were travelling with the group of elders and they were slow so our visit of Valdivia was shorten from 3 hours to about 5 minutes. What we saw we liked though – it reminds us of Tremblant in Quebec and we got to see some southern elephant seal – which is apparently the largest of the Antarctic seals!
9. My grandfather’s library – He was an academic, a lover of all things knowledge, literature, politics and history and no one had been allowed in his library until he passed away. It was a true mess – my dad tried to air it quite a bit and did a little cleansing as well!
10. New Year’s Eve – New Year’s Eve brought even more celebrations than Christmas. I have rarely enjoyed New Year’s Eve in my life – it’s one of those overrated nights of the year – but twice I’ve celebrated it in Chile and twice it’s amazed me! It might be the warmth but they surely know how to make the best of the night!
11. Family House – On New Year’s day as we woke up and people were still drunk from the previous night – we decided a trip to the beach and the glacial waters of the Pacific ocean was a great first dip into 2005. On the way there, we stopped at my grandmother’s childhood home in Carahue. My dad’s cousins were out so we didn’t get a visit but it was huge and both my dad and my grandmother had stories to tell about this mansion!
12. Puerto Saavedra – I have never known a trip to Chile that didn’t include a stop by Puerto Saavedra and its glacial beach. On New Year’s Day of 2005 there was no exception. We headed out to my grandmother’s cottage, which she was so proud of! And then we went to dip our feet in the water.
13. Hot Springs near Pucon – Another trip, another stop at the hot springs near the Villarica volcano. We had such a great afternoon there and, of all the hot springs I’ve been to, this was the most beautiful, peaceful and picturesque location. Post to come on this as well!
14. Going up Santa Lucia in Santiago – On one of our last days in Chile, we headed back up north to the capital and decided to hike up the Santa Lucia hill in the city centre. It was absolutely beautiful – but once we got to the top, we could tell how much pollution and smog sat over the city.
15. Crazy journey back – The journey back to Canada was another rocky trip. First, the airline said they were overbooked and were trying to get us to stay in Chile 1-2 nights longer. My dad, being a suspicious Chilean, said no way, they will probably say the same tomorrow. I think because we were children, they allowed us to go without too much pressure. Once we arrived in Miami (a 10 hour night flight later) we were told that our flight back to Montreal didn’t exist anymore (!). After trying to send us 2 by 2 to various location through the US, we were finally put in the business class of a plane to New York. It was the best time for all of us – except we don’t have much memory of it since we all fell asleep soundly in the comfortable seats! New York-Montreal was a lot less comfortable as we were sent into a tiny little airplane …which scared me a lot and that I have worked hard to forget!
What a crazy adventure it all was! Definitely a wonderful, loaded, cultural and memorable trip that I took with my entire family and that I cherish so much now – even though the photos of our 24-pose disposable cameras now look so dated!
Recipes? Top travel tips? What would you be looking most forward to?xx