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Friday, Nov 30 – Santiago and home to Toronto overnight

Our plane didn’t leave until 9pm. Time for one last day of Santiago discovery.

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We walked up the main streets, following the main, red subway line. The buildings are very modern, the economy booming.

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Eventually we wandered into the subway, which is extremely efficient and well run. The government has made this system a priority. Our goal was Los Domenicos, the end of the red line.

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There is a craft market here, probably the best one in Santiago.

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The artisans were actually on the premises, orking on their art. Most of the stalls we saw throughout our trip were reselling products that were made elsewhere. In Peru, there are large artisan manufacturing facilities, which explains why all the stalls seem to carry the same goods.

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Craft Market Kitties hard at work.

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We had lunch in Bella Vista, at the same restaurant we used on Monday. Next we headed back to the Hotel Orly to wait for our ride to the airport.

It was a long overnight flight to get back to Toronto, but it was great to have a direct flight and also great to be home, after our best vacation yet!

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Thursday, Nov 29 – Return to Santiago

We left Valparaiso down a much less steep route, that largely avoided vertigo.  We drove back on Rte 68, which is the expressway back to Santiago through the Casablanca valley.  You can see the Valle de Casablanca in light orange on this map:

Wine regions of Chile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The link to the article with this map is here.  We stopped at Casas del Bosque, and acquired a Sauvingnon Blanc Reserve and at Veramonte where we found a Shiraz rose and a Pinot Noir.  The founder of Veramonte, Agustin Huneeus, has properties in Napa California under Huneeus Vitners.

We braved the traffic back into Providencia to return our rental car, using the tunnel under Mount Cristobal. It turned out that we had a very poor map of Santiago, but we were still able to find the Avenida Balboa and Alamo Rental Car.

El Jardin de Epicuro is on the next street from the Orly, on Orrego Luco.  They have started a tasting menu, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, Nov 28 – Valparaiso

We are staying on Hilla Bellavista. There are all told 28 hills here, all populated and accessed via cobbled twisty roads. Last night we made the mistake of going down into the town to find a place to eat. It turns out that there are two good restaurants within walking distance.

Last night the riot squad was on alert, down by the main square. We had dinner in a Chinese restaurant, where the paddy wagon and other riot vehicles were parked. Part way through our average, and quite salty meal, they packed up and left.

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Valparaiso suburbs viewed back from our hotel.

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The downhill view.

There are beautifully painted houses and murals everywhere here. We walked over to the next hill, crowned by Le Conception church.

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The church.

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To get to the top of the hill, you can use a funicular, or most people seem to use a group taxi, which costs about 2 US per person.

We took the funicular down to the Main Street.

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Funicular track

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The other car ascending. It is painted like the Chilean flag.

We hope to eat here tonight, about 150 meters from our hotel.

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Tonight we will collect our maps and choose our escape route. There is supposed to be a gentler way down on the other side of the church. The route up would be similar to driving off a cliff.

We travel back to Santiago via the Casablanca Valley. The have good Pinot Noir there. We only have a 120 Km. drive left, as we head back to the Hotel Orly for our final night in Chile, and South America.

Tuesday, Nov 27 -Santa Cruz to Valparaiso

We left Santa Cruz about 11 am and headed up the coast to Valparaiso.

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The roads are twisted, and have grades much bigger then what we are used to in Canada. We didn’t get to our hotel until after 4 pm.

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We stopped for lunch here.

The coast is quite a bit cooler than what we became used t in the Santa Cruz wine valley. It was also foggy.

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We are staying at the Vineyard Inn. The road up, made a San Francisco Street look flat and level. The views from our hotel are spectacular.

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The church behind our inn at night.

Monday Nov 27 – Santa Cruz Wineries

Today we wine tasted at two wineries and had a third for lunch. Not really, but it made for a wonderful day.

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Vina Montgras Hacienda

This winery was designed with Canadian engineering input. Also the winemaker had Canadian experience. We tried four wines, a Viognier, Merlot, Quatro (a blend of four grapes) and a Syrah. We purchased a bottle of the latter. It was just the two of us tasting in the courtyard of their main building.

The LCBO is a good customer here.


The View

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Premium Wine

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Bisquertt Winery

This winery was the summer home of one of Chile’s first presidents. Here we tried. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with chocolates between courses.

Both wineries charged 6000 pesos (about twelve US) for tasting, but they were generous pours.

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Main Dining Room

This house was built 160 years ago. The table is three inches of solid wood. The white plaster repairs on the walls are from the earthquake, just a few years ago.

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Tasting Setting

It was time for lunch at Rayuela restaurant, at Riu Manet winery.

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Lunch was set under shady trees, just outside the restaurant

They suggested Sauvignon Blanc for Julia’s fish and a Carminiere for my short ribs.

It was a wonderful day.

Sunday Nov 26 – Chilean Andes National Park, Santa Cruz

It took us some time in Santiago to get set up with our Alamo rental car in Provindencia. The gods of paperwork needed to be satiated, yet there was only one agent, and a long lineup on a Sunday morning. We had to wait close to an hour to hit the road.

We proceeded to get lost in Santiago. Nothing is straight, nor can you seem to head directly where you would like to go, all of the roads bend. After another half hour or so we finally found the Autopiste – ring road. The car is a Ford Plus. Reverse is on the left hand side, next to “1”. I couldn’t figure out how to get the car into reverse, so on one occasion, I had to get out of the car and push it back. Fortunately it was a light car on level ground, and Julia was able to hold it from the passenger seat with the pull up emergency brake. Eventually I figured out tha you have to lift the cicular knob below the gearshift knob to get the transmission to slot into reverse. It was much easier when I figured that out.

We headed to Rancagua on Rte 5, and then east to the Andes and Los Rio de Cipreses National park. We tried to drive into a large copper mine on the way, but the wouldn’t let us in. Turned out that most of the road was gravel.

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Park Sign

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Our Route

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Park Map

Unfortunately the road was barricaded just past the main campground. We didn’t have a whole afternoon for a hike, so we headed back to civilization.

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The view up towards the Andes

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Peaks and Rivers

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Cacti ready to bloom

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Pretty Orange Lillies

Amazingly enough, we found our hotel without many problems. We are staying at the TerraVina, which grows for a local winery, Laura Hartwig.

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Entry hall an vineyards

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Vineyard at our back window and view of Andes

Sunday is the day of funeral processions. Long lines of cars, headed with a hearse, slow down traffic on the backroads.

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Dusk

Saturday, Nov 25 – Santiago

Before lunch, we did a mini trek for about 4 hours up Mount Cristobal, and not too far from the metropolotan park.

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The red pin is our hotel. Our hike covered a large part of the green area to the north.

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Japanese garden

There is a small Japanese garden towards the top.

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Botanical Garden

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Cacti from the north

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Santiago City in front of smoggy Andes

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It was a long walk around the mountain, but we lucked out and stumbled into Bella Vista, a beautiful, quaint town. We had steak for lunch.

Dinner plans tonight – Liguria, all of two places down from our hotel.