Until Next Time

On the way down from Cerro San Cristóbal with MSH
On the way down from Cerro San Cristóbal with MSH

Tomorrow’s the day, I’m headed back to the USA! I’ve thought of this day and drafted this post before, but it feels strange that it’s suddenly arrived. Slow and steady, then all at once. The lovely Annie over at LoveLaughRun seemed to have read my mind the other day when she said that it’s easy to plan a post as you run with your thoughts, but sitting at the computer and actually getting the words down sometimes leaves you stuck. On my runs around the city, I’ve imagined what I will tell you as I say goodbye. Continue reading

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San Pedro de Atacama and a Family Visit

The road to los Lagos Altiplánicas
The road to los Lagos Altiplánicas

I’m back in Santiago after an incredible week in San Pedro de Atacama with my aunt, JM! The desert was stunning. The views go on forever, the salt crusts the earth for as far as you can see, and there are so many stars at night that it’s difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins. You can look and look and look but it all seems to go on forever. We walked through Valle de la Luna|Moon Valley and Valle de la Muerte|Death Valley, woke up at 4am to travel into the Andes to see the Geyers del Tatio, and stepped gingerly along Laguna Chaxa to get an up-close look at the flamingos|flamencos feeding in the salty water. We wove our way up to 4,200 meters above sea level to see the Lagunas Altiplanicas. Twice, we watched the sun set from Piedra de Coyote and looked back to see the colors reflected over the Andes. It was a wonderful way to finish up my traveling in Chile as my time here comes to a close. Continue reading

Valparaíso and Learning to Dine Alone

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Art + Believe, Valparaíso

This past weekend, I hopped on a bus early Saturday morning and headed to the coast to visit Valparaíso, Chile. Valparaíso – or Valpo – is a port city located about an hour and half from Santiago. It neighbors Viña del Mar, which then runs into Reñaca and Concón. I had taken day trips to both Viña and Concón, but wanted more time to explore the colorful UNESCO Heritage Site of Valparaiso. On a whim, the Thursday before, I booked a Saturday night in Cerro Alegre at the Luna Sonrisa hostel and packed my bags. Arriving early Saturday afternoon, I was grateful to have more than a day to explore the hills (45 in total) that make up the eclectic city. Continue reading

Chile from Top to Bottom

Before I arrived in Santiago, I was hooked on watching Drexel student Jesse Rosenstein’s videos of his time here in Chile. (I know that usually refer to people by their first and last initials, but Jesse gave me permission to reveal his true identity.) Jesse studied abroad here during Drexel’s Fall 2014-15 term. We’re only a year apart in school, but didn’t meet in person until I arrived in Santiago in September. Over the course of the five months he was here, Jesse traveled the length of Chile, and documented his time in each place through GoPro edits. From exploring the Atacama desert in the north, to celebrating Fiestas Patrias in the colorful coastal city of Valparaiso (see above), to hiking in Torres del Paine at the southernmost tip of South America, it’s a full tour of the country. Jesse and I weren’t able to travel together due to our schedules, so don’t look for any cameos of mine in the videos, but you may recognize some of the places! For a full playlist of all of Jesse’s travels, check out his Vimeo page.

Una Vida Menos Gringa, Más Chilena | A Life Less American, More Chilean

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Club Hipico in Santiago

The view from new bedroom is fantastic! I can swing open the window, hear the birds chirping and hopping around in the trees, and just a little further see where the city is stopped by the mountains. I’ve been exploring the area surrounding my apartment building, and have not yet been disappointed. The people are friendly, the cars drive more slowly, and it feels much more residential. A few blocks from my front steps are more restaurants than I can count: I’ve tried a few so far but will definitely be adding to my repertoire. There are countless yoga studios within walking distance, and advertisements posted all around for concerts, festivals, and pop-up outdoor markets. And with the long days of summer, there’s plenty of daylight to explore. Yes, I am quite pleased with my new home. Continue reading

Summer Sets In

Visiting Yerbas Buenas, a historical town near Linares, Chile, with JC
Visiting Yerbas Buenas, a historical town near Linares, Chile, with JC | Photo credit to JC

All is well here in Santiago, though quiet for the time being. Today, Monday, December 8th, is el Día de la Inmaculada Concepción|Day of the Immaculate Conception and is observed as a national holiday. Chile, being a country rooted in Catholicism, observes all of the most prominent holidays associated with the religion. I took advantage of the long weekend by surfing in Concón as a last hurrah with JR and two friends from Spain, then heading to Linares, Chile to meet JC’s family and relax and see the town. It was a much needed weekend to fuel me for the next week and half before my Christmas break! The past few weeks have felt slower than my earlier time here, as many of my friends have headed off to travel, and I was knocked down by a cold for a few days. I’m back at it though, and ready to soak up the remaining first half of my time before taking a break to head north. Continue reading

Pucón and A Trek up Villarrica

The top of Vocán Villarrica | Photo credit to RO
The top of Vocán Villarrica | Photo credit to RO

If you have any desire to go to the south of Chile, I cannot encourage you enough. RO and I returned on Monday night from a long weekend in Pucón and without a doubt it was my favorite few days in Chile thus far. In short: beautiful scenery, friendly people, plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors, and great food. Continue reading

A Weekend of Wine & Horses

IMG_3470This past weekend, I crossed the Andes and spent some time in Mendoza, Argentina. A few friends and I took an overnight bus on Thursday night, to arrive early Friday morning and have a full weekend. The trip there was easy, but the trip home took me forever because I had to wait four to five hours at the frontera|border to wait in line and get through customs. Oh well, it was the price to pay for a full weekend! We arrived in Mendoza at the bus station around 6:30am, then grabbed cabs to Hostel Punto Urbano. I had stayed in a hostel only once before, in Washington, D.C. and didn’t know what to expect. Continue reading

Valle Nevado

IMG_3399Today, I skied in the Andes. To say that I was pumped to have the chance to go would be an understatement. It was a Christmas morning type situation that resulted in me not getting nearly as much sleep as a should have for my early morning wake up. Cut to tonight, and I have the pictures and stories to show that it was all worth it.

I met a man from Peru, who just learned to ski today and was incredibly nice. He works in the hotel business and was in Santiago since last Friday, but is leaving soon. He has traveled all over the world when he can, and hopes to continue. He spent time in Hawaii, and spoke English well, and was giving me ideas to help improve my Spanish vocabulary. I met a couple from Brazil who was vacationing in Santiago. They were very friendly, but I had a hard time understanding their Spanish with a Portuguese accent! I also met a man from Phoenix, a pair of pilots from Canada, and a few other people in my ski group. I went through SkiTotal: they took care of everything! They were really easy to work with and even upgraded me to performance skis after we were talking casually about my background skiing. Continue reading