Author Archives: dcborn61

Chile Day 10: Last Few Things

We had a little more than half a day left. We woke up to the first rain of the trip, so we decided to stay in the neighborhood.

La Chascona, the home of Pablo Neruda, the poet, was just meters from our hotel. 


We didn’t know much about him, but a short film told his story as a poet and statesman. An excellent audio guide took us around his house, which had been restored by his wife after it had been damaged during the first days of Pinochet’s dictatorship. In fact, Neruda died just days later and his funeral was the first protest of the changes. 

Our only regret is we didn’t visit his home in Valparaíso. 

We then walked along Bellavista Street and found a jewelry store that Ellen has wanted to see. She has a new pair of Chilean stone earrings!
 We had lunch at a recommended restaurant in the neighborhood, Galindo. The Aubrey had been nice enough to give us late checkout, so we packed up our things and got an Uber to the airport. 

Our driver was so nice, speaking no English but wanted to talk to us so we struggled with some Spanish and did the best we could. 

We chatted in line to check-in with a public health grad student at Emory who had been working with midwives outside of Santiago for 2 months. 

We picked out a couple of piscos in duty-free and waited for our plane. We left on time. I caught up on podcasts and watched the live-action Beauty and the Beast. Before you knew it, we were in Atlanta. 

Global Entry again was a breeze. We were counseled to move the pisco to our checked baggage, so we will hopefully see it again soon in DC. 

I’ll end the post with more Street art from Santiago. 


Chile Day 9: Doing Santiago

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Today was our one full day in Santiago, and we made it a full one. Surprised?

We had learned that the changing of the guard at the presidential palace was at 10am, so we walked about 1/2 an hour to get there in time. It was underwhelming, just the guards on duty stepping off with new guards taking their place. Well, at least we can say we were there. Here’s what I captured. DSC_0886

There are 4 statues in the park, here is Salvador Allende’s. DSC_0891

We walked back to Plaza de Armas. Wouldn’t want to be chased down by these police officers on horseback. DSC_0904

We went into the grand post office building. They had a nice museum inside.

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It was time to hit museums. Our first was the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes. It’s their modern art museum.DSC_0912

Where else would you see hay bales in the shape of the Arc de Triumphe?IMG_3260

We had lunch in the same neighborhood at Colmado Coffee & Bakery. Our waitress spoke English and was so very nice. My sandwich was huge, I could only eat half. I asked if she could give it to someone in need. She said she couldn’t but I could, so she wrapped it up for me. Across the street was a park, and I found a homeless man and offered him the food. He asked what it was, I managed to communicate it and he accepted it. It was a little thing I could do.

Our next museum was the Museo de Artes Visuales. They had an exhibit of the socialist revolutionaries of Latin America and their attempts to create utopian societies. Recognized 26 Julio, which was the Castros in Cuba. DSC_0922

We walked back to our neighborhood over the water. Of course, they have a lock bridge, like everywhere else. DSC_0930

We stopped for our afternoon pisco sours. Dinner was an amazing experience, a Peruvian ancestral food restaurant, Peumayen.IMG_3264

To give you a sense of how wild this place was, these were the breads, representing Peru from north to south.IMG_3267

I had the vegetarian main course, quinoa and I can’t be sure what else. But it was tasty!IMG_3271

We weren’t sure we could take a horizontal dessert too, so we went for gelato!

Tomorrow we have a little more than half a day in Santiago, and then we start the trip home.


Chile/Argentina Day 7: Back to Santiago 🇨🇱

Another long bus ride today. We got up early for a 6:30am bus ride from Mendoza back to Santiago on Andesmar. We were better prepared this time, bringing food with us and a somewhat better understanding of the process. 

The Andes again were beautiful. 

The border crossing into Chile was much smoother. It took only an hour or so to get through Immigraion and Customs. We now have 2 Chile entrance stamps!

With our Chile Claro SIM cards, we could easily request an Uber when we got back to the bus station. Because of heavy traffic, it was more than a half hour to get back to The Aubrey Hotel. 

We dropped our stuff and headed straight out. We had a small snack at The Pizza Factory in the Patio Bellavista, an outdoor collection of restaurants and shops a few blocks from our hotel. Ellen mentioned pisco to the owner, and he brought over a bottle and gave her a couple of shots on the house. 

We decided to go up to Parque Metropolitano via the funicular near our hotel. 

At the very top of the hill is Cerro San Cristóbal. 

We were at the park just at dusk, which provided great views of the city. 

We took a cable car down, which was a fast ride and a lot of fun. 

We had seen a burger place recommended in the guidebook. How can you not try Uncle Fletch? So we did. Really good burgers, and Ellen got polenta instead of fries! 

We walked around our Bellavista neighborhood, which was full of life and music and people, on a Tuesday night!

We have much of our Santiago sightseeing to pack in tomorrow, so it will be a busy day. 


Chile/Argentina Day 6: Red, Red Wine (Malbec mostly) 🍷

Four wineries. 6 visitors. One van. Can we do it? Yes…we…can!

Ampora Tours picked us up just before 9, and soon added an individual traveler from Dallas and three women from Australia.

First stop was Bodega Benegas, just about 15 minutes outside of Mendoza.

An older winery, they ferment their wine in cement tanks, lined with epoxy paint. DSC_0844

We bought a bottle of malbec.

Second stop was Terrazas de los Andes. owned by Chandon. In an old winery, but updated.

3rd winery was very small and very modern.

And last was lunch!

Back to Mendoza, we ate pasta at an Italian restaurant because we were tired of meat!

We ended the evening walking home. Plaza Indepencia was beautiful. 


Chile/Argentina Day 5: Walking Mendoza and Fire Dinner

The plan today is to walk around Mendoza, absorbing the city. No rush, no hurry.

First stop was the Central Market. We always enjoy wandering through the markets, seeing the colors and sights and smells. DSC_0763DSC_0770

We learned only yesterday that 9 July is Argentina’s independence day. Where better to go then Plaza Indepencia? There was food and entertainment and Argentina blue fountains. We felt so lucky to have lucked upon observing their celebration. DSC_0790

 

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Mendoza is a city of plazas. We then walked to Plaza España and Plaza Italia. España was especially pretty with the tiles.

We kept walking to Parque General San Martín. It is their equivalent to Central Park. We could only cover some of it, it was so big!DSC_0840DSC_0832DSC_0836

The best part of the day was still yet to come! Chef’s Table chef Francis Mallman’s 1884 Restaurant. It was a 15 minute cab ride to a world in itself.

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Greated at the door by security, they checked the list to make sure we were on it. We were! They called inside to alert them to our arrival. We were seated and given the menu and wine list. Over 500 wines! 114 Malbecs alone, I counted them! We had empañadas for an appetizer, charred from cooking in the clay pots. IMG_3190

We both had grilled meats for dinner, Ellen had rack of lamb and I had a rib eye. Incredible!IMG_3196

We were invited outside to the grill. IMG_3191

Here was the wine we selected with the help of the sommelier, a Malbec/Syrah blend. IMG_3199

Dessert was chocolate! Gelato, cake and mousse. IMG_3197

This meal was one of the best we’ve had, anywhere in the world. The service made the difference, so many different wait staff served us, all polite, friendly and welcoming.

On the way out, we were invited to visit the wine cellar. IMG_3198

If you ever get a chance to dine here, take it!

We had a great day, not rushed, no set agenda, just getting a sense of the city by walking it.


Chile/Argentina Day 4: Day Was A Bus

This won’t be too long a post. 10 hours on a bus will do that. 

We got up early and Uber’d to the bus station in Valparaíso. Our CATA bus left right at 8am. 

The bus went through the Andes, where we saw snow and skiers. 

It was when we got to the border with Argentina that we came to a grinding halt. We were there for around 3 hours. We got our passsports stamped but then got back on the bus and waited some more. They did a hand search of our carry-ones and x-rayed a random sample of the luggage. Finally we were off.  There was a random stop where the driver went into a local police station, we don’t know what that was about. 

We arrived in Mendoza around 7pm local time (they are an hour ahead of ET). While I waited for the luggage, Ellen found an ATM to get Argetinan pesos. We got into a cab and we’re at our B&B a few minutes later. We are at the Casa Lila, a small and delightful place I will post pictures of once it is light. 

Got into our room, got a brief introduction from the hostess and we were off to dinner. 

We had 8pm reservations at Anna Bistro, which was just 4 blocks away. Since we were in Argentina, we went for meat. 


Chile Day 3: Strangers, Off the Bus!

Today’s plan was to visit the neighboring city of Viña del Mar. It’s a beach town to Valparaiso’s port city.

We had a great breakfast at the hotel. We were getting ready to request an Uber to get to Vina del Mar. Our hotel manager instead said it would be a great local experience to take the bus. All we had to do was walk down to the main street and get on a bus that said Viña del Mar. Always up for an adventure, we decided to try it. Walking down to town, more street art.

We couldn’t quite figure out where the bus stop was, but we ended right near a tourist information center. We went in there, and rare for this trip, the woman spoke English. We were in the right place, she told us to get on any bus right out front (there was no stop) and pay 500 pesos each. That meant each of us cost all of 75 cents. Bus came, we told the driver where we wanted to get off, and off we went. DSC_0724

We drove along the coast and before we knew it, the driver yelled out in English, “Strangers, off the bus!” In a nice way. It was our stop, and we jumped off, right at the flower clock that was our landmark. IMG_3145

We walked along the water, with great vistas. DSC_0736DSC_0739DSC_0748

You could see back to Valparaiso, the big ship was one we were near during our boat ride yesterday.DSC_0734

We stopped into a casino and lost maybe $2 in slots before exploring the town. We walked by one shop that was roasting seeds of some sort. The worker spoke with us in English, told us the sesame seeds were toasted and eaten as cereal for breakfast, and gave us samples to try. Everyone has been so friendly.

The town square had the theater and a hotel and a statue.DSC_0753IMG_3149

We ate lunch in a cute pizza place we found via TripAdvisor. We then walked to the beach. I had never stepped foot into the Pacific Ocean, so figured we were close enough that I had to. IMG_3153

We had a coffee and a beer at a restaurant overlooking the beach. We spoke with Ben via Google Hangout, we are already starting to miss him and he and Courtney haven’t left yet.

We decided one bus ride was enough adventure, plus didn’t want to have to walk up the hill back to the hotel, so we Uber’ed for $7.50. A brief recharging and we were off for a pre-dinner drink. Ellen has fallen in love with pisco sours again. Such a great view of the hills and lights. IMG_3158

Dinner was at the hippest restaurant in town, or so we read. Pasta e Vino lived up to it’s bill. I had a mozzarella salad and then spaghetti with pesto. Ellen had pistachio stuffed pasta with lamb meat.

Ellen faced the kitchen, which had a wardrobe covering the door and was continually impressed with the food magically appearing out of the wardrobe. It was a great meal. Finishing did mean we had to walk up the hill back to our hotel, but well worth it and we enjoy a walk after dinner anyway.

Lowkey but thoroughly enjoyable day.