Chile Honeymoon: Day 8 -- Glacier Tour

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

For our second excursion in Patagonia, we were treated to a boat ride down the fjords to Serrano Glacier. It was bitterly cold and wet in the morning, but that didn't stop me from spending most of the ride on the deck being whipped by the wind. Maybe one can tell by Alex's face how cold it really was? 

When we arrived at Serrano Glacier, we took a short hike up to get close to it. Our guide told us that when she visited the glacier for the first time thirty years ago, you could touch it from where I was standing on that rock. (Also, note the alpaca mitten that we picked up in Punta Arenas. They came in very handy!)

The glacier was as stunning blue, and absolutely breathtaking in size. Photos just don't do it justice. It was sprinkling the entire time we were up at the glacier, but it would turn out that that would be all the rain we'd see the entire trip. I didn't have a hood or hat, so I made a head covering with my scarf and headband... Kinda looks of Lawrence of Arabia.

As we were sailing away from Serrano Glacier, we were served pisco sours with glacier ice. I don't know if it was the alcohol or the weather, but it seemed to warm up and we were able to spend some time comfortably on the observation deck without our jackets on. I was glad I dressed in layers: long sleeve striped tee, under a chambray short sleeve tee, under a sweater, all under my coat!

Behind us is Balmaceda Glacier. Though smaller than Serrano, it was quite impressive in the way it just hung off the edge of the mountain and seemed to go so far up as to disappear into the sky.

Chile Honeymoon: Day 7 -- Puerto Natales

When: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Where: Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile

After two long days of travel (a five-hour flight to Punta Arenas with a layover in the middle, the day before, and a four-hour drive north in the morning) we finally arrived at Hotel Remota in Puerto Natales. The major draw to this area was the proximity to the national park, Torres del Paine -- more on that later. We settled into this spectacular rustic-modern hotel, had an enormous three-course lunch, and then set out on our first excursion.

We told our guides, Lucho and JP, that we didn't want to go on a "big hike," and they took our request seriously. We ended up taking a van ride to just outside the national park where the three caves are. Most tourists just go to the last and largest cave, Cueva Milodon, but we got a private tour of the small cave, with "ancient" writings (read: "So-and-so was here 1912"), and the medium cave which was full of calcium dripping spires.   

We were also treated to an impromptu picnic lunch provided by our guides (hey, that was what was in that big backpack!) before heading to the main cave. Though it was filled with other tourists, we couldn't help but be swept away in the beauty of that last cave. Evidence of ancient human activity was found there, and it was easy to see why anyone would seek shelter in a place dripping with fresh water, and with sweeping views of the fjords just outside.

It was decently warm, but I was excited to make use of my brand new pink puffer jacket. I layered a grey tee under my chunky pink sweater and trusty gold dot scarf, for added warmth, and though my legs were a bit chilly, I was very happy with my choice of leggings. Also, I must say that I was super impressed with the quality and feel of my tennis shoes. I was remiss in breaking them in, and though I admit the first hike was short, I didn't have a single blister after wearing them for the first time!

Chile Honeymoon: Day 5 -- Chile Coast

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

When: Monday, October 14th, 2014

Where: From Viña del Mar, to Quinto, to Zapallar and Valparaiso

Weather: Mid-70s, sunny and beautiful

On our second day on the coast, we decided to take a drive after breakfast. We went up the coastal highway which was Chile's equivalent to California's Highway 1. First stop was the tiny town on Quinto which has this secret beach that we just happened to stumble upon. Just as I was dipping my feet in the water, a ranger came up and told me that it was dangerous to go in. Through my limited understanding of his rapid Spanish, I got that there had recently been an oil spill and that they were closing the beach. We snapped a couple pictures and headed further north on to Zapallar.

We walked down to the water and spent some time exploring the tide pools and strolling along the rocky coast. After a long, blustery stroll, we were feeling pretty hungry, so we set out in search of a restaurant. 

We stumbled upon the most amazing little seafood place right on the ocean. I had the freshest and most decadent seafood soup made of clams, crab, oysters, mussels, shrimp, several kinds of fish, and crisp vegetables. It was incredible. The best part was being able to see the catch up the day hauled in from the boats behind us.

After lunch, we went and walked along yet another beach. It was warm enough to walk barefoot and sit on the sand for a while. The day was flying by and we still really wanted to check out Valparaiso, so we jumped back in the car and drove the 2 hours back south.

Valparaiso on a Monday as compared to the day before was a different world! We randomly popped into a shop called Sala Maia and it was full of handmade goods. I was so excited I wanted to buy the whole store. The woman who owned it had an amazing life story about her childhood in France, education in San Francisco, backpacking honeymoon across both Europe and South America and her eventual settlement in Chile with her husband. Her story was so inspiring to me, and the way she chased her dreams to open a shop with sustainable, handmade goods, underscored my longing to have a shop of my own.

She told us the best way to visit Valparaiso is to wander and get lost, so we did exactly that. For hours, we strolled through the narrow walkways and cobblestone streets, stopping for coffee and chocolate, and little trinkets as souvenirs. When we had exhausted ourselves, we returned to the hotel for a little rest and then headed out to downtown Viña del Mar for dinner.

Chile Honeymoon: Day 4, part ii -- Viña del Mar

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When: Sunday, October 13th, 2014

Where: Viña del Mar, Chile

Weather: Low 60s, windy, and cool.

When Alex and I arrived in Viña, we attempted to lie out by the pool, but it was both chilly and bright, so we gave up on that idea pretty quick. I was glad to get some use out of the second bikini I brought, anyway. The wine was finally catching up with me and I desperately needed a nap. When I woke up, we decided to head to Valparaiso for shopping and dinner.

We took a cab about 3 miles up the road from the Sheraton in Viña del Mar to Sotomayor Square in Valparaiso. We were a bit surprised to find that most of the shops were shuttered and the square was empty. I asked the Carabineros what the heck was up and they told me that everything on Sunday after about 2 pm is closed. It should have come as no surprise that in a very Catholic country that Sunday was a day of rest.

We decided to cut our losses and head back to the hotel. We ended up having a really nice dinner overlooking the lights of Valparaiso, which was a close second to actually being there.

This outfit kind of sums up the Chilean coast weather. Warm enough for sandals, but after dark, cold enough to need a chunky sweater. I'm kind of obsessed with the chambray jumpsuit from Anthro. It's the perfect throw-and-go outfit, plus is doubles as a great beach cover up. I see getting a lot of use out of it next summer.

Chile Honeymoon: Day 4 -- Casablanca

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When: Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Where: Matetic Vineyards

Weather: High 60s, comfortable and sunny

On Sunday morning, I experienced a miracle. I woke up with out a hangover. We had a beautiful breakfast that featured the freshest eggs and a juice I'd never tried before called custard apple. I have to figure out how to make it myself.

Right after breakfast, it was time for more wine! We took a ride up the road about ten kilometers to the tasting room and had ourselves a little tour of the whole wine making process. Then we tasted four wines. Our general assessment of the offerings was "mmm, good" meanwhile our fellow wine tourists were delicately sampling and describing the intricate flavors and notes... I guess we have a lot to learn!

After the tasting, we went to lunch in the gazebo building, and had, yes, MORE WINE! It was a five-course tasting lunch and each course was coupled with a wine pairing. We weren't keeping up with the pace of the wine pouring and at a certain point, I just had to tell the server, "no mas vino." She thought we were crazy for refusing wine at a winery, but we just couldn't handle it!

I was so full after lunch, Alex had to practically roll me to the car so we could drive out to Viña del Mar. 

old jcrew necklace | similar  

Chile Honeymoon: Day 3 -- From Santiago to Casablanca

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When: Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Where: From Santiago to Casablanca, Chile

Weather: Mid-70s, breezy, and warm

Saturday was a day of three outfits. It was our last morning in Santiago, so we wanted to squeeze in one last activity before heading out to wine country. We decided to walk through Bellas Artes to the funicular. A funicular, for those who don't know, is kind of like a gondola-train hybrid. It's a little trolly car that goes up the slope of a mountain -- they are all over Chile. Half way up the mountain, the lift stops and you can get off at the zoo. We decided why not, and jumped off for an hour-long stroll. We saw a ton of native Chilean animals, plus your normal zoo fare. Little did I know that I would become an exhibit too! Apparently, being peliroja in South America is a novelty. I noticed several people snapping pictures of my red hair.

Once we had seen every possible animal and squealed about how cuuuuuute they all were, we boarded the funicular for the ride to the top. We had a view of the entire city and it was breathtaking, albeit, smoggy. Reminded us a lit of our home in Los Angeles... We were amazed to see that the summit was crowded with cyclists! Given the heat, smog, and slope of the hill, it was pretty unbelievable that anyone could actually ride their bike all the way up.

By the time we were done taking in the sights, we decided it was about time to git the road. First order of business after we arrived at Matetic Vineyards: horseback riding. Alex had never been before, and the last time I rode had to have been middle school. We had an amazing guide, Arturo, who took us through the entire estate. My horse was quite lazy, so I never caught up, but my husband and Arturo had a really romantic ride in the countryside.

When the ride was over, we downed a bottle of wine to celebrate. This was the beginning of a long, silly night. Clearly, I was not equipped to drink as much wine as was expected of me.  Just before dinner, we went to the drawing room for a pre-dinner glass of wine. That quickly turned into a bottle. Alex and I tried to play pool but were either too drunk or not drunk enough to be any good at it. We left the game unfinished.  

Dinner came with another bottle of wine, so we were on bottle three for the day, and I just couldn't handle it. Luckily the dining room was only about 30 feet from our room, so when we finished our four course meal, I stumbled back and fell fast asleep.

Outfit One:

Outfit Two:

Outfit Three:

Sunday Soups: Simple Potato Leek

Sunday, November 9, 2014

There is this place next to my part time job that has a rotating list of soups and when they bring out the potato leek, I'm in heaven. This week, I wasn't willing to play Russian Roulette waiting for them to list the best soup ever, so I took matters into my own hands. I also wasn't willing to slave over stove for hours, or use any fancy equipment, so I devised this simple and quick recipe that is done start-to-finish in twenty minutes.

- 3 strips of bacon, diced
- 1 leek, cut into 1/2 rings
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, shaved
- 4-5 russet or yukon potatoes
- 1 box chicken broth
- 3 Tablespoons creme fraiche
- 3 Tablespoons whipping cream
- Salt and Pepper

Fry the bacon in a dutch oven or large pot until crispy. Drop the leeks, onion, and garlic into the pot and saute until soft. Cover with chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop potatoes in and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add in the creme fraiche and whipping cream, stir to combine. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve with a dollop of more creme fraiche, and crusty bread. YUM!

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