Chilean Diaries

*We visited Chile about 2.5 years ago. Had written this travelogue around the same time. So review  of the hotels must  be considered keeping that in mind.

Chile was never on  our list of places to visit. It came up as a good and cost effective option to travel to between our time in Peru and last leg in Uruguay (during our South American trip).  Coupled with this was the location of some of the worlds best vineyards and the amazing Patagonia. I love white wine and there is no place on earth like Chile to have some of the best wines ever. The few pictures of Patagonia that I saw on the internet blew my mind and I was very keen on going there. Keeping this in mind and considering we have about a week to spend in Chile, initially we planned to do Santiago, places in and around Santiago and Patagonia. But once I charted out this plan and discussed it with the husband, we realized that it will be too hectic and we would be exhausted by the end of it. So with a sad heart and with a firm resolve to visit Patagonia some other time in life we deleted it from our itinerary.

The next one we had to delete from the dream list was staying in a vineyard for a day. Since we did not book the place in advance we could not find a place which fit in our budget. That as it may be, we do not have any regrets since we spend a whole day in some of the best vineyards in Chile.

So with an initial  travel plan which eventually didn’t work out and without any bookings in Chile until a day before the travel we flew into Chile from Peru. This leg of our trip would be the most unplanned one and we fared quite well despite that !A day before our travel while the husband was browsing through booking.com he found Hotel Cumbres Lastarria, a business hotel in one of the best locations in Santiago at nearly half the price. We grabbed the offer. The hotel turned out to be a business hotel, however we had no complaints. After a hectic time in Peru we wanted to chill for a bit in some luxury and that is what we got at Cumbres Lastarria. We landed in Santiago on on its Independence Day. The downside of landing in Chile on days like these is that the entire city shuts down. Hence we did not have anything much do other than walk around the city, have some good food and wine. Despite the same we did some interesting things in Santiago like have an amazing lunch at Mercardo Central.

11968017643_38b5f450bb_b (2)

Walked over to Pablo Neruda’s home. I have been a fan of Neruda every since I read his Sonnet Xvii. Though his house was not open for visitors due to the national holiday walking around the neighborhood made me happy!

IMG_2923

Watch the independence day parade. We were quite surprised to see such a low turnout for the independence day parade. On the good side the low turn out gave us a chance to see the parade at a close proximity.

IMG_2499

In two days we got quite bored of Santiago. It was then we saw a Facebook update of the husband’s friends who were having a good time at Valparaiso. Seeing a few pictures of this place, we immediately decided to move to Valparaiso the next day. Figured out the bus route to Valparaiso. We left our bags in our Santiago hotel and hopped on to the bus with a small bag of essential clothes for 2 days. This according to me was the best impromptu travel plan we made. The pictures do not do justice to the beauty of this place. We had a lovely time just walking around in the streets enjoying the street art, having some amazing food and enjoying some great wine.

20160918_194037

20160920_190425

20160920_190734

El Peral is worth mentioning for one of the best beef dishes I have had and getting to have a wine which was tasty and not recognized by my go to app for wines – Delectable. Though Delectable gives me a fairly accurate idea of the wine, the thought of having some house wine which not many people have tasted felt good. The restaurant had a nice ping pong table where we played after a few bottles of wine. While I don’t have any pictures of the food or place, do visit them when you visit.

While talking about Valparaiso, it would be unfair if I don’t mention that hotel we stayed.  Casa Galos Hotel & Lofts had excellent reviews in booking.com and it lived up to the review. An amazing room with a beautiful view of the town from the roof top.

IMG_2598

IMG_2595

IMG_2604

Do not forget to use this amazing rooftop to have a nice bottle of wine during a sunny afternoon or do some star gazing at night!

IMG_2610

View from the rooftop.

Once we settled in, with the help of the hotel staff we booked a whole day trip to the Casablanca Valley for some serious study on white wines! Some of the ones we visited are Vina Casa-del- Bosque, Vinamar – de – Casablanca, Bodegas- Re.The pictures will give you a glimpse of the amazing day that was.

20160916_134350

View from the road

IMG_2878

As we enter!

Casa-del- Bosque

Casa-del- Bosque

IMG_2667

Wine all around!

IMG_2758

Wine in the making

IMG_2802

Wine tasting

IMG_2817

Would never want to stop the tasting sessions!

Vinamar de casablanca

IMG_2899

Lunch at Vinamar-de-casablanca

IMG_2905

Stroll, post lunch!

IMG_2910

Tipsy and happy!

IMG_2918

Writing reviews has been my thing!

Overall the experience was amazing. To add to the exciting day we had, our guide agreed to take us to Neruda’s house in Valparaiso. I was quite happy seeing the house from outside and being in the area where he wrote some of his best works. It was upon the husband’s  insistence that we decided to take a tour of the house and that was a great decision. The view from his house is breathtaking and his house is  a beauty in itself. We weren’t allowed to click pictures of the house,however leaving you with some pictures of the view from his house.

IMG_2940

Overall we loved our stay at Valparaiso more than Santiago and would suggest anyone who travels to Chile to move to a hill station as soon as you land in Santiago.

Chile for me can be defined in two words – Neruda and Wine. Leaving you with one of my favorite prose by Neruda!

Sonnet Xvii

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s