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

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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.

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

Two Months Full

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The Color Run | Photo credit to RO

This past week marked two months of my being here, and less than a month remains before my mid-co-op trip home to the states for Christmas and the New Year! Time has flown by. I know it’s been said over and over, and is terribly cliche, but time flies when you’re having fun. I’m incredibly grateful to be here: my life is anything but boring. 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

Hiking Salto de Apoquindo

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This past Sunday, I was invited to go trekking with my friends AP and SC from work. SC asked me if the hike would make the cut for my blog, and I assured him it would! Some pictures are my own, others were taken by SC.

I had to take a bus to meet up with my friends, so I got up around the same time as I do for work, packed up a few pieces of fruit, a peanut butter sandwich, and two liters of water, tightened the laces of my hiking boots, and headed out the door. After a short bus ride, I found my friends and hopped in their car to go the rest of the way to Parque Natural Aguas de Ramon. The park is remarkably close to the city: I could have taken a city bus if I had wanted to. Continue reading

Escape to the Beach, Return to Run

IMG_3580Another full weekend to kick off a shortened work week! Above, RO and I post-5K on Sunday. More below! This week, both October 31st and November 1st are national holidays: Día de las Iglesias Evangélicas y Protestantes and Día de Todos los Santos, respectively. The first is a recently established holiday: only nationally recognized within in the past few years. While the long weekend is an opportune time for me to travel, tickets – both bus and plane – are very expensive and I plan to stay in Santiago and the surrounding area to save my money for a bigger trip some other time. Pucón anyone? 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

Como Agua Para Chocolate | Like Water for Chocolate

Como Agua Para Chocolate
Como Agua Para Chocolate

No, I’m not here to review the book by Laura Esquivel, the Mexican novelist. It is, however, on my list. It’s one of those books that I never read in middle school/high school, and would like to do so. Maybe I’ll try it in Spanish instead?

Como Agua Para Chocolate is also the name of a restaurant in Santiago. It’s delicious! Dr. Julie Mostov, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at Drexel University’s Office of International Programs, was visiting Santiago for meetings, and took the time to meet RO, JR, and me for dinner this past Wednesday night. It was wonderful to meet her and for the four of us to spend some time together. It was also the first time I’ve gone out for dinner in Santiago, and it didn’t disappoint. We had steak for dinner, and followed it up with chocolate of course! Continue reading