Sunday, October 18, 2009

Group post: First trips within Chile

It is Sunday. I got a lot of work done yesterday on the dissertation I have one week to finish before getting it printed and to my committee. But there is always one day of the weekend, that gets filled with all the mundane tasks, plus the soccer game, plus all the communication with family etc plus some much needed grading and class prep etc. So I didn't end up working much today and now I am just too tired to try to get into it before calling it a night. So I decided to write here.

One of the bloggers-in-Chile that I read (Emily at Don't call me gringa) initiated a group post about first trips within the country. So, I thought I would oblige. Keep in mind these pics are from the late 90's with an old 35mm, as I was in Chile before digital cameras made their debut. I had to scan them, so they are a bit off.

For my first few months in Chile, I knew very few people. It takes time to get to know people, even other foreigners, (don't even get me started on some of the losers I ended up talking to or some of the awkward situations I got into because I was just so lonely and willing to hang out with anyone).

After figuring my way around Santiago, visiting all the museums, and realizing I still didn't have anyone to take a trip with, I just went by myself--and boy was it lonely. My first trip was to Valparaiso, a port city in central Chile. It is a hilly city so there are stairways and ascensores (like elevators to get up hills). I went to (a Chilean poet) Pablo Neruda's house called "La Sebastiana" (if I remember correctly). I walked around a lot all by my lonesome.

Then I took a trip to another beach town to see Pablo Neruda's most famous house at Isla Negra (which is not an island at all). When I graduated from college, I won some silly little award for which I was given several of Pablo Neruda's books,including one with pictures of all of his houses. This was even before I knew I was going to Chile and the first piece of evidence that it was my destiny.

For my first Chilean Independence Day (Sept. 18) I went on my first trip to northern Chile, in the Atacama Desert, with a friend from work. We went to San Pedro, a tiny little town with dirt roads and a picturesque white-washed church, which fills to the brim with foreigners. Though I liked San Pedro and the Valley of the Moon and the salt lake with flamingos, I didn't truly learn to like the desert until a later trip.

My first trip down south, I went with my then boyfriend, now husband and his family to a lake called "Lanalhue" (near Los Angeles). There are so many funny things I could say about this "family vacation" but a link to a previous post will have to serve as my only hint.

During this trip we went to a Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta, which is a forest of Monkey-Puzzle trees, known as Araucarias in their native land. They are one of my favorite trees and also part of the proof that it was my destiny to go to Chile.

A camping trip to El Enladrillado (near Vilches) gave me one of the most beautiful views of the Andes.

And of course, everyone who enjoys hiking has been to "Siete tazas" (seven "cups" or pools).

So there you have it, quite unpoetic and lacking in description and details (except the link which may now qualify as TMI). Short and not-exactly-sweet, but peppered with photos.

I went to Quintero (a beach town) so often with my now-husband, that I totally forgot to add that as a first-trip (maybe I'll talk about it if I ever get to how we started dating).

There was also a trip in there somewhere to La Serena and Valle del Elqui (once home to Gabriela Mistral--another Chilean poet and center of Pisco production).

Other first trips: Abby, Lydia, Lucie, and Clare. The link to Emily's original post is above.


Emily said...

Ok, apparently I am the only person who has totally failed in my attempt to go to Siete Tazas! Maybe this summer?

That's great that you won Neruda books - clearly the universe had Chile in store for you.

mosey along said...

I love seeing this sneak peek into your past - and like you asked me recently (I'm gettin' to it, I'm gettin' to it) I'd love to hear how you met your husband on that first trip.... I've been thinking of digging into my old albums/journals to do some of those "trips down memory lane" on occasion.

Well done on the dissertation - hope the last week pulling it together goes smoothly!

Sara said...

I've never been to Siete Tazas either. In fact, I think the first time I heard about it was on a blog. Go figure.

Oh, and great pics btw. No excuses.

Lucie said...

Siete tazas?! Okay I'm another one who is in need of visiting this place. It looks beautiful! Reading everyone's posts on the places they've been in Chile really made me realize that I have many MANY places to visit!

Whenever I went to Chile before, it was always with the main purpose of being with my boyfriend at the time (now fiance) and since he was always in school or working, I stayed in Santiago with him. Also, we didn't have money to travel so I mainly got stuck staying in Santiago, with the occasional visa run down to Mendoza and the once in a while beach escape to Vina.

Okay one of my new goals for when I finally go back to live in Chile in June is to explore more of that marvelous country!

Katy said...

Wow.. siete tazas has been popping into my life a lot recently - seems like a sign that I'll have to go there! My experience of Chile has clearly been too confined to Santiago. Great photos too - I love those colours!

Maggie May said...

I admit, I'm jealous!! Marvelous travels...