Zoe said it best when she said “Chile truly brings out your purest form”. Although I cant say I have changed drastically in the past 5 months, Chile has taught me alot and allowed me to discover and learn many new things about myself and life. Sounds cheesy but its the truth. Never did I think that I would go abroad and be fortunate enough to see and do so many things. Today marks my last week in Chile, in about 7 days plus a few hours.. I will be sitting in the Santiago airport getting ready to board the plane and return to the US. It truly is a bittersweet feeling and I just wish I had a few more weeks in Chile. I am clearly excited to see everyone at home but my experience here has been amazing. Makes leaving easier to know that I will most definitely be returning to Chile very soon, if im lucky.. maybe even this summer to intern. We will see what the future brings me!
Monday, Zoe and I got back from our trip to Patagonia, Torres del Paine. We arrived last week, stayed in a wonderful backpackers hostal in Puerto Natales, were given the necessary information to prepare ourselves for the five day hike and met a lot of very interesting people. We then got on a bus at 730 am, drove two hours and were then dropped off at the entrance of the park. No cell phones, no internet, limited food and snacks, two backpacks, a pot, a spoon and a fork, a tent and sleeping bags…it was just us and the wilderness. We then boarded the bus, which took us to the boat landing. To go from west to east on the W trail, you have to take a boat over to that west side. Once we got dropped off, we were on our own. Everything we saw, the people we met, the water we drank straight from the streams and the entire experience was unbelievable. Surprisingly enough, the five day hiking trip went alot faster than I thought. First day we saw glaciers, second day we saw lakes and mountains, third day we hiked up the French valley and witnessed an avalanche, fourth day we trekked around one side of a lake and put our feet in the water and the last day we saw the towers. I dont think I can say I had a favorite day or favorite location because everything was absolutely stunning. Every time we turned the corner or came out of the woods or over the valley, we saw amazing scenery. What also made the trip amazing, was the people. I dont think we walked more than half a mile without seeing at least 5 people. In five days, Zoe and I hiked around 70 km. For never having trekked that much in my life, let alone with a backpack, we were pretty proud of ourselves and hope to return one day and complete the entire circuit.
Well, I can finally cross “climbing up a volcano” off my bucket list! What an amazing experience, challenging of course but I must say it felt unbelievable when Michelle and I made it to the top. Monday morning I got back from Pucon, about 9 hours south by bus from Santiago. We arrived early Saturday.. checked into our hostal, walked around and then rented bikes and did a little biking in the afternoon but not too much because we wanted to be set to do what we went to Pucon to do- climb the Villarrica Volcano. Pucon looks like Beaver Creek or another ski resort town- full of international food options, restaurants, travel agencies, adventure groups and lots and lots of tourists from Australia, Europe and the United States. On Sunday morning, we popped out of bed at 6:15 am, headed across the street to the adventure agency we were going hiking with, got our gear all set out and were in the van by 7:30. After about a 45 minute van ride, we had arrived at the base of the volcano where we gathered our stuff, learned a few things about the tools we had with us and began climbing towards the chairlift. The chairlift took about an hour and a half off our hike and allowed us to begin a bit further up. Five hours later, we had reached the top and couldnt have been happier or prouder of what we had accomplished. Yes, it was quite windy and I couldnt see much at about the half way mark but it was so worth the money and the time. To be able to have climbed a volcano at age 20, with one of your best friends is quite an amazing feeling. Because of the poor visibility, the gas and the wind we couldnt be at the top for very long but it was enough time to take pictures and breathe a bit! On the way down, it was all on your butt. We were given kind of like extra fabric for our butts so that we didnt run through the snowpants and then once we got to the less steep part we were able to use our plastic sleds to make it to the bottom. Quite the wet and snowy adventure on the way down but must say it was quite fun!
This week, I basically will just be saying my goodbyes to those that take off while im on my next adventure, getting last minute shopping in and relaxing before Sunday, when Zoe and I embark on our 8 day trek to Patagonia. Today we finished most our planning and will be flying into Punta Arenas, then off to Puerto Natales for the night.. then finally off to Torres del Paine to begin our 5 day and 4 night adventure hiking the W circuit. Photo attached!
Then, I get back from Patagonia, have eight days to do last minute things and spend some time with my family and on the 20th I am on my way back to the United States! Still cant believe how fast the time is flying. Only about 3 more weeks and I will be home!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Sending love to everyone!
Article about Pucon
Lets just say last night was an adventure.. a rebellious adventure I must say. Now that everyone is done with classes and finishing up finals the true bonding is happening. We are all trying to fit in the last few things we wanted to do before we left and wishing we had more time. Most people are traveling from December 1st until they go home.. therefore, that leaves most of us with not much time together. Luckily my dad moved my ticket back so when I get back the 12th from Patagonia, I will have a few extra days to do some last minute things.
Yesterday was my friend Mike’s birthday so we decided to go camping. He really wanted to do a little trekking and climbing so six of us gathered at our friend Franco’s house to embark on this trek and camping adventure.. little did we know, actually making it to the place was going to take much longer than expected. We walked about 25 minutes to the entrance of a huge park, more like a sports club, horse stable, social club that is in Las Condes, one of the nicest neighborhoods in Santiago. We immediately got stopped by security and they told us to go hiking we would have had to be there at 5:30.. two hours earlier. We werent gonna let that stop us.. so we walked down the street, realized that a bus drops off at the entrance and has to go up into the park a bit to turn around. We stood at the other corner, paid the next bus driver 10 dollars to let us hide and enter and he said yes. So we all layed down on the ground, stayed silent and make it through! Then, we were onto our second entrance gate where luckily Franco used his spanish speaking sweet talk skills and the guy let us in. We then only had one entrance left and no one was there, there was a house and a few cars but no dog to bark and give us away and the gate was open to the mountain. We had made it and even though a post right as you walked in said no fires and no camping, getting this far… we werent going back. Never really have ever done anything rebellious and this was my chance. After about a 1 1/2 hour hike, we popped the tent, made a fire and started roasting hot dogs and sausages. The only thing we forgot was water.. of course we had beer, pisco and coca cola but the water was missing but luckily we survived without it. We simply sat around the campfire, took pictures and bonded.. all under the stars and with a lit up view of Santiago. I must say the fresh air was amazing and the view was breathtaking. We just looked at the city and the smog and were happy to be away for at least a night. Bedtime care around and I wasnt sleeping. There was no way, for some reason I just couldnt fall asleep so I chatted with Natalie and Mike and waited until sunrise. At one point in the evening, in my head only, I was thinking about all the things that could happen if we got caught. Fine for trespassing, fine for camping/making a fire and then the worst was being convinced that we could potentially get deported. I didnt actually think that could happen but I couldnt get the thought out of my head. “Six gringos found trespassing, camping and creating a fire that could have cause a forest fire.. DEPORTED” However, on our way down we got to avoid the entrance to the mountain because we went through the horse stables and then the next two entrances simply said hello and waved. We were SAFE. Let me tell you, that celebration was great and I could finally say that I had a wonderful time.. most definitely one of my best memories from Chile.
Tomorrow, we have our goodbye dinner from our program.. simply because they have realized that having it in December is a lost cause because so many people travel. After the goodbye dinner, I will be meeting Michelle(friend from Denison) to head off to Pucon. A southern city that is said to be very touristy but I was told by my friend from Denison, Sarah, who studied her two years ago… that I cant leave without going. So I am very excited about that! We head out at 11 on a nine hour bus ride.. towards the south. Will update with pictures when I get home Monday!
Sending my love to everyone, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Not doing anything special here for the holiday but thinking about everyone at home that is together. Always remember to be thankful. Love, Chlo
Hello all! Sorry I have been so bad at blogging lately, the truth is nothing exciting has been happening. Friday night I went to a huge electronic festival with some friends and had a great time. I am not getting down to the last few weeks of my trip and with that, comes finals. Tuesday I had a history due, Wednesday I had a culture and society test and today I just turned in my final writing assignment for my story class. Next Tuesday I have my history final and then I am free until the beginning of December when I have my final in the class I am taking with my program director. He is in the United States right now so we got pushed back two weeks unfortunately. After I turn that final in, I am free and off to Patagonia… and seven days later.. HOME! not sure if I am ready yet but in about a month I think I will be.
Hope all is well with everyone!
GREAT NEWS! Zoe and I have officially planned our trip to Patagonia.. December 4th-12th we will be exploring and adventuring all the wonders of Patagonia. We have no place to lay our heads as of now and dont have much of a plan but booked the ticket and we are both very excited! Tomorrow, a few friends and I are heading to a city an hour away… known for its pottery. Will update later!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week!