Last Thursday night, Zoe, Brenna and I headed for the bus station to hop on a bus a to Osorno, a town in the South of Chile. After an overnight bus ride that lasted eleven hours.. we arrived bright and early Friday morning in the town. Since we had a long weekend, Monday and Tuesday off of school, we decided to go stay with Valentina and her family at their ranch house. When Zoe was in high school, Valentina was an exchange student and they got very close. Now, a few years later and they were reunited in Santiago. Valentina is from Osorno but is studying in Valentina so Brenna and I got to meet her a few months ago and she invited the three of us to her house. I absolutely fell in the love with the south. We drove one hour and we were in the lakes region and drove an hour in another direction and we were in the river region. It was the most relaxing and beautiful trip ever. Her parents were wonderful, they included us in everything, challenged us to speak spanish, feed us exceptionally well and overall just spoiled us with wonderful hospitality. The day we got there we got in the car and headed to the town of Puerto Varas. The town is unbelievable, with a large amount of German influence and beautiful architecture. We then went from Puerto Varas around the lake to the National Park of Vicente Rosas where Saltos de Petrohue is located, Petrohue Falls. It is a major tourist location with clear blue waters and beautiful falls. After seeing the falls, we continued around the rest of the lake and made it back to Valentinas house by dinner time. It was a great little adventure, making visits to places I planned on visiting. Then Saturday we just hung out around the house, went down to the river right across the street from her house and then later on went to a birthday party for one of Valentina’s friends. It was great because we got to speak spanish and meet some other Chileans. Sunday, we slept in and had a delicious breakfast and then headed to Volcano Osorno and to the nearby lake to have lunch. We got empanadas to have and it turned out to be a beautiful day. On our way home, we stopped at a beer event that was put on by one of their family friends. He has brewed his own artisan beer and he put together an event for family and friends to sample the beer, enjoy a barbeque and live music. It was a nice low key night and a calm night, perfect for seeing the stars(something you often cant see in the big city). Monday, we were invited to go to the city of Valdivia with her family. It was about an hour and a half car ride through green green and green. We got to see the river region and make it to the town where the river meets the ocean. We had a delcious lunch at the Salzburg restaurant and brewery and then headed to walk around town. After a long day we headed back, had dinner and then were back out to meet some more of Valentina’s friends. Our last day was very low key, Zoe had to do some homework, Brenna and I just hung out and Valentina and her family started getting ready for her dad’s birthday party. Right before we left, we got to celebrate his birthday with him and the invited guests, got to meet some of their family and friends and then we were back on the bus to head back to the city. Overall, it was an unforgettable trip and made me miss the fresh air and tranquility. I very much enjoyed being by the river, lake and ocean all weekend. Cant wait to be able to go back and visit the south again on my next adventure to Chile. Zoe and I are currently in the process of planning our big 8-10 day trip to Patagonia and we both look forward to that. Two weeks of school left and I am free from school work until January. Honestly cant believe how fast the time is flying here. Successfully changed my ticket home to a week later(December 20th) so that I can take advantage of my time here. Zoe and I hope to be gone from December 3rd until the 13th and my plane ticket was supposed to be the 13th so now I will have about a week to hang out with my family and friends before I head back to celebrate Christmas at home. Hope everyone is doing well, have a great weekend!
Hello all! Hope everyone has had a wonderful week. On Sunday I got back from a four day trip with my group to the city of Temuco, about an hour and a half plane ride to the south. We went on this trip to learn about Mapuche culture. According to the research my friend Melinda did, Mapuches make up 4% of the population. Our trip focused on their culture and opening the doors to communication between the Mapuches and others. Recently, many protests have been happening due to the Mapuches feeling towards identity and their struggle to feel part of the Chilean culture. The Mapuches we met on our last day let us ask questions and they also asked us questions about our knowledge of their culture but also our feelings towards indigenous communities that we were familiar with. When they were asked by one of our group members if they felt Chilean, they shared the pride they have in their Mapuche community but dont feel like Chileans due to the treatment they have gotten over the years. What amazed me the most was how happy they were with less things, less materialistic items and they reminded us how grateful we must be of the earth, mother nature and family. The respect they had for their mother earth but also the people that surround them was admirable. They were so happy and willing to share a little bit of their culture with us and spoke with such pride. Amongst many families, the land the community owned has been split between them and given to each family as their home. The community has also begun to open up discussion and welcome people to come stay in a hut they have specifically set up for tourists who wish to learn more about their culture. They are working towards a better relationship with the rest of the population with Chile.
I was so excited to get out of the city and it ended up being a great trip. This time, we actually got quite a bit of free time to roam and adventure and that made the trip that much better.The first day, we got in late at night so we just checked into the hotel and went to dinner at the hotel. Throughtout the rest of the trip, we did some hiking in a national park, went to the temuco market and did a museum tour. One day we went to a a school that is comprised of Mapuche students and I had the best time climbing tires and jump ropping with the kids. I didnt do much of the cementing because of course, I was playing with the kids and taking pictures. Our program has been visiting this school with their students in order to continue progress on projects the school needs help with. Our job was to help cement the base of what they hope to make into a stage.It was truly amazing to be around kids and share some of our culture with them. I brought a jump rope for them.. which they loved but we also made a fire and brought smores supplies. Unfortunately Chile doesnt have graham crackers but we did our best and the kids absolutely loved them.
After two nights in the hotel in Temuco, we packed our bags and headed out, en route to Puerto Saavedra a town right on the coast. The itinerary said hostel, so we assumed we would all be sleeping in bunk beds in a huge room just like camp but we were pleasantly surprised when we walked off the bus to see the beach and cabins on the hill. We had a great time because we were given free time and got to climb a hill/cliff right next to our cabins and watch the sunset across the ocean. SOme people got to go horseback riding along the beach and others just hung around and enjoyed the fresh air.
Overall, the trip was a huge success and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves quite a bit. Tonight, I embark on another journey with Zoe and Brenna to the south once again due to the long weekend(monday and tuesday off). We are headed on an overnight bus to Osorno, a town in the south that is supposed to be beautiful and have many outdoor activities and naturey tourist things to do. When Zoe was in high school and she got to her while she was there for the year. Valentina is Chilean, studying in Santiago but her family lives in Osorno and she has invited the three of us to her house for the weekend. We are all super excited to go and have a good time. Will be sure to update when I get back! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.
This past week went by unbelievably quickly, most likely because monday was a holiday. Nothing really to share thats new. This weekend is going to be spent writing a history essay and studying for a test.. both on Tuesday. As much as I was dreading devoting a weekend to schoolwork, I have two big things to look forward to… Temuco trip and Osorno trip. I am super excited about both of them and will have two very different experiences at both. I will also have plenty to blog about when I return. Cant stop thinking about how little time I have left here in Chile. People always say the time will fly and that is the truest statement out there. I keep looking at the calendar to make time for the things my friends and I have discussed doing before we leave and we just cant seem to find enough time for all those things. We are in Temuco next weekend, home for three days and off to Osorno for 5 days… and then its November! I dont even want to think about how fast that month will fly by! A few things Brenna and I have discussed doing..
1. Go to the bus station/train station.. look for the next bus or train out of the station and get on board. Heading to we dont know where to do we dont know what!
2. Start doing more cultural things at night. Yes we do love going to a bar with our friends and then out dancing but Santiago’s theaters, bars and other venues have wonderful events to offer and it might be nice one night to do something other than the routine.
3. Hop on the metro and go in all kinds of directions. The area I have actually covered on the metro isnt very large and I especially have not done enough exploring. If i go somewhere out of the ordinary on the metro, its usually just passing by. I want to get off and walk… find the hidden gems of Santiago.
4. Find a good chicken caesar salad. Luckily Brenna loves chicken caesar salads as much as I do.. so we are perfect for testing out and hunting for a good one. The last one I got came with cream dressing and another one just came with oil, or lemon or vinegar for dressing. Caesar salad should always come with caesar dressing…right?
Laughter sounds the same in every language
Balloon artist Addi Somekh traveled to 34 countries with photographer Charles Eckert, interacting with locals through his art. He came away learning far more about each culture by engaging them than he would have by observing alone.
Via: Balloon Hat
My mom has made it safely back home after what she said was a wonderful trip. She was so lucky to have stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast. My host family absolutely loved her and included her in everything we did. Thursday we went with my mom and Chilean mom to see Violeta Parra, a documentary on the life of a notable Chilean composer, songwriter and folklorist. On our way back, we stopped and got my favorite lemon pie from a bakery to bring back home to have late afternoon tea with my mom and family. Friday my friend Brenna and I met up with my mom and headed to the Patronato neighborhood which is basically a cheap shopping area with alot of the same things that is usually imported clothing. After a while, it became a lot of the same thing over and over and the place is packed with people with also full of racks and racks of items. I found some neat scarves and a few other good things. Friday night I headed home to get some rest after staying up all night with Brenna Wednesdy night and my mom went to see the Romeo and Juliet ballet. I had a feeling I was coming down with something and so my mom had me go home and rest. Saturday morning, bright and early we went to get my mom and headed to the beach, to Vina del Mar(where Zoe, Elliot and I went the other weekend). We spent the day there and had a great time even though the wind was heavy and it was a bit chilly. We took an elevator type thing up a hill to get a great view of Vina and then headed to find a spot for lunch. My family has been wanting to go to this restaurant for a while now and everytime they go there it is always closed.. this trip wasnt any different. They happened to be closed for remodeling and so we had to find another restaurant. We drove around for a bit and came across the Pablo Neruda house and across was a resturant that someone had suggest… Oda al Pacifico. It was most definitely one of the best meals I have had in Chile.. definitely a benefit of having your mother visit! We were on the second floor with a clear look out to the ocean.. on the left the town of Valparaiso, directly out from Vina and on the right Renaca and Con Con. Got to enjoy some cocunut shrimp, my mom had tilapia, my sister had salmon and my Chilean parents also had some shrimp dish and tuna. After lunch we strolled at the beach, got empanadas and then headed back home after getting ice cream. Unfortunately, Sunday I was sick with what I believe was strep throat and had to cancel plans with my mom. Never have liked staying in bed and resting but forced myself to do so and Monday didnt feel much better. Luckily, my dad sent me with antibiotics and finally today they have kicked in. SUnday the doctor was closed and Monday was a holiday so the doctor wasnt open then either. I am feeling much better and glad I got myself to relax and slow down a bit. My mom came over on Monday to say goodbye and then she was off.. back to the hussle and bustle of her job.
Hope everyone had a great weekend and that everyone has a great week!