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Country #1: Chile

February 18, 2011

A 5:00 AM wakeup call via the emergency volcano alert siren, the first experience of an earthquake, Friday Night Lights on the iPad during our 11 hour bus rides, armies of stray dogs, and the Chilean beer Austral, characterized part of what was our first country in our 6 month tour.

Lake Villarrica in Pucon, Chile

Well, mark Chile off in the books.  After a little over of a week of experiencing a lot of what the country had to offer, we are on our way to the next destination.  I’m afraid there will be a running theme throughout our travels (actually I’m almost certain there will be) and that is not having enough time to get to do everything we wanted to do and see everything we wanted to see.  Chile is the first prime example of this dilemma come true and a country that is sure to be revisited one day (probably within the next five years because visas are so expensive yet last for over half a decade).

Obviously we could detail a lot about our trip to this beautiful country and all that we saw but let’s try to stick to some of the larger points and/or questions we often get asked.

Food:  Oddly enough the best meal we had was a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a huge bowl of fruit at a place called Cassis.  I know, not impressive, not ‘out there’, not local, etc but on that day, at that time, the meal absolutely hit the spot and skewed our view of it as a great one.  Other than that, we did eat a lot of a Chilean dish called pastel de choclo which essentially consists of ground corn and meat, chopped onions, hardboiled egg, and olives that is baked.  Minus the olives (which we both dislike) it was a good bite to eat but got tiring after having it several days in a row.  That along with Chilean bean soup, which is prepared with lima beans, tasted great (but I love lima beans thanks to my Pop and Nanny).  Lastly, for our cheap and quick meals we ate baked empanadas that were sold in small store fronts throughout the city.  Sorry there are no pictures of any of these plates but we will eventually get better about that.

Our lodging in Pucon - La Bicicleta

Lodging:  What sticks out the most is our first experience staying in a hostel dorm room.  We did so on our second night in Santiago in a really good hostel.  Sharing a room with six other people does not allow for the best night of sleep.  From cells phones going off to snoring to lights being turned on at 4:00 by intoxicated Europeans, and so on – it was an interesting experience.  On the other hand, we stayed in a Crowne Plaza the first night that was great and had an amazing roof top pool that allowed us to get sunburnt on the first day of our trip (it also didn’t help that we were both pasty white).  The best place we stayed was in Pucon, Chile at La Bicicleta.  The owners were great and had a really cool little kid along with a sweet dog and cat, there was a great roof top deck that overlooked the volcano and was perfect for reading, and it was located right in the middle of town. 

One of the many dogs roaming Chile

Steven’s top experience:  The earthquake with Mary Haines or downhill biking were easily at the top of my list and you can read about them both in earlier posts.  However, the number one memory had to be experiencing Patagonia first hand.  It was gorgeous and there is so much to do – truly an outdoorsmen paradise.  This is the reason I will be back to Chile in the near future because there is sooo much more of it to explore.

Jen’s top experience:  Well Steven getting back from his biking experience was up there…I was a little worried while he was gone.  But really, I don’t think I have one exact favorite moment, it was just Pucon in general.  I loved sitting down by the beach, at one of the little restaurants in town, or just sitting on our roof looking at the volcano.

Worst experience:  After getting off the 11 hour bus ride is Santiago we trekked it almost 4 miles across town with all luggage in tow and at night to get to our hotel.  It did save us like $8 in cab fare but still can’t believe we didn’t just hop in a car.  The clothes drenched in sweat and sore muscles reminded us of the mistake.

The hat on Villarrica (means it is going to rain)

Overall Chile was a great experience and obviously somewhere we would recommend and plan to return to ourselves (gentlemen, there certainly needs to be a guys trip soon to explore Patagonia).  One thing we have yet to mention is the chance the country gave us to decompress from our hectic lives before we left the States.  There were days that we pretty much did absolutely nothing except rest and they were fantastic.  The rain also provided a soothing break that allowed us to catch up on some reading, take care of some business with items back home, and setup this blog.  We learned a lot in the first country about planning future stops and started gauging what we like/dislike and how to do things better.  Lots more to come, thanks for taking the time to read.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,
Steven

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Morgan permalink
    February 22, 2011 09:44

    Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!!!!!! I LOVE IT! So, I guess that means that you’re happy with your selection of Friday Night Lights. I’m glad. Best show ever. One day, I’m going to marry Tim Riggins.

    I miss y’all.

  2. Mom Traner permalink
    February 24, 2011 22:42

    Love the blog! Good job you two. Finally had time to catch up on my reading. The doors of Cartegnia are really fun. I am impressed with your photographic and technical ability! Remember when in Chile eat chili. Love Mom Traner

  3. Jonathan Williams permalink
    March 17, 2011 12:45

    Guy trip = yes.

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