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!

Chile Honeymoon -- Day 2: Baños de Colina

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When: Friday, October 10th, 2014

Where: Andes Mountains

Weather: 40s and chilly!

On our second day in Chile, Alex and I had the not so bright idea to drive up into the Andes to find some hot springs he had read about online. Reviews of Baños de Colina describe the drive as easy and possible to do with any kind of car. Let’s just say that I’m really glad that we just so happened to rent a four wheel drive utility vehicle. Yeesh.

The road out of Santiago turned from urban to rural, then from rural to remote, the pot holes came closer and closer together until the road dropped off entirely and gave way to a gravel path replete with deep muddy puddles, wild horses blocking the way, and enormous coal-hauling trucks streaming by at unspeakable speeds. The directions from online were minimal but according to the cowboy and coal miner I shouted at from the car window, it was simple, just go "straight, straight, straight, higher, higher, higher!"

The terror that was the drive up was all made worth it when we finally got where we where going. We didn’t even realize that we were there when we finally arrived. A gate blocking the roadway almost had us turning back for home, but when I got out and yelled “Hola? Buenas dias!!” in the direction of the only building in the area, a gaucho came out and demanded 8000 pesos. A little bewildered, we paid him the money he asked for, and he presented a very official receipt for our admission into the baths. It didn’t seem it to us, but he was the literal gate keeper to the hot springs. He lifted the gate and on we went. 

The baths were amazing. The first one, closest to the spring was boiling hot, so much so, that we had to sit far away from the mouth in order to avoid being burned. The other baths got progressively cooler as they moved down hill. We spent a couple hours soaking in the water and covering ourselves in the mineral-rich mud in order to avoid sunburn.  Before we became thoroughly pruned, we pulled ourselves from the pools, loaded back in the car and heading back towards Santiago. 

Before we got all the way back down the mountain, we stopped a quaint little restaurant simply called "Rio Vista." We sat overlooking the water and ate our fill on a variety of meat and potatoes. It was still light out when we got back into Santiago, so a stroll through Parque Forestal was perfectly in order to walk off our enormous lunch.

Chile Honeymoon: Day 1 -- Santiago

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When: Thursaday, October 9th, 2014

Where: Santiago, Chile.

Weather: 60s, breezy, and chilly.

When Alex and I stumbled off our red eye flight arrived in Santiago, we grabbed our rental car and headed straight to our hotel, hoping for an early check in and a wink of sleep. Unfortunately, the Hotel Ismael 312 was fully booked, so we had to wait until our proper check in time. We ended up wandering around on foot for a couple of hours. Our hotel was in a really hip and trendy area full of cafes, bars, boutiques, and restaurants. We killed time sight-seeing, drinking copious amounts of cappuccino, and eating cake.

At three o'clock on the dot, we checked in and went straight to our room for a much needed nap. We only let ourselves sleep for a couple hours because we wanted to make sure we would stay on Chile time. It was still light out, so we decided to keep exploring. We took a nice stroll in the park that our hotel room looked over, walked past the art museums, and into the bustling center of town.

We finished up the night sipping cocktails over dinner, and later drinking champagne on the hotel rooftop! Cheers!

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