Ok, it’s time. Time to talk about the most amazing, fantastic, perfectly awesome vacation I’ve taken in a long time– or ever? Quite possibly. It’s only been just under 2 weeks since I left Chile, but it seems like forever ago. Seems like a dream. I want to go back! Can I, can I?
This part uno of dos!
About a year ago, I started hearing rumors that Nick would be cruising around South America this fall for work. That they’d get to visit a few different countries, with a few days off in each one. The gears in my head started turning. Well, I want to go, too! Luckily a few of my friends had the same idea. And so it begun… Girls trip to meet the boys! And then I realized how long the flight was (which I didn’t realize, because in my head South America is about as far as Mexico… Geography is not my strong suit), and started thinking that I had made a terrible mistake. Anyone who knows me, or who has been reading the blog long enough, knows that I have terrible travel luck. Like, horrendous. Three hour trips often turn into 15 hour travel days for me. A 10 hour travel days turns into sleeping overnight in an airport. Not good. So the long, long flight did not sound very fun to me.
Luckily the other girls convinced me to suck it up and deal with it. It took a while to extract any information from the Navy, but finally this summer we got places and dates and started planning our big adventure.
We flew from California to Dallas, and then from Dallas to Santiago, Chile it was a 9-hour overnight flight. Which I believe is the longest flight I’ve ever been on, at least the longest that I remember. I think I’ve topped out around 6 or 7 hours, East coast to Europe and West coast to Hawaii. I was 100% completely dreading it, but you know what? It wasn’t really that bad. Traveling with friends definitely helps. We chatted for a couple hours, then got dinner. I watched a movie (Inside Out!), then drifted in and out (mostly out) of sleep for a few hours. When I couldn’t take trying to sleep anymore I watched a couple TV shows, and then they were serving breakfast. Another hour of chatting, and magically we were landing!
Some way, somehow (magic?) I felt OK. I wasn’t completely and utterly overtired and exhausted like I thought I would be, despite not really actually sleeping. We made our way through customs and then hopped in what we thought was going to be a taxi– but ended up being a private car– to our hotel. We got an amazing government/military rate and stayed in the Ritz Carlton. My first Ritz experience, in another country on another continent. It was pretty fabulous. The amazing front desk people checked us in right away, despite the fact that it was only 9 am. Then they told us to go get breakfast, despite the fact that we technically hadn’t paid for that day’s breakfast. And breakfast it was. The most awesome free hotel breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen! But who cares about that?
After a quick rest, we were off to sightsee. Surprisingly, we found Santiago has Uber! So we got an Uber and headed to Cerro Santa Lucia.
This is when we learned that, unlike in Europe, not too many people in Chile actually speak English. And we definitely did not speak much Spanish other than hola, adios and gracias! Sooooo we had a little bit of an adventure with the Uber driver, but eventually we got to where we wanted to go.
Cerro Santa Lucia is a hill in the middle of Santiago. On the hill there are a bunch of old castles and forts, which were used as a lookout back in the day, and pretty park areas.
It was a fun little hike up the hill with lots to see.
And the views of Santiago and the Andes mountains from the top were just great!
After exploring a bunch, we decided to navigate the subway back to the hotel. The language barrier made buying tickets interesting, but we managed to figure it out and hopped on the correct train. I was super impressed with how clean and modern the subway was!
Though we only had one day in Santiago, after not sleeping all night on the plane I was pretty pooped and called it an early night. There was one TV channel in English, so I watched dumb true crime shows for a bit and then went off to dreamland.
The next day we were traveling to the coast, to our hotel in Vina del Mar. The route between Santiago and the coast runs through wine country, so we took a wine tour out to the coast.
The first winery we stopped at was Casas del Bosque. It was a gorgeous property. It was like Napa Valley but so much greener.
We took a tour through the winery, seeing the vineyards, the bottling equipment and the barrel room.
Then it was time to sample the wine! We tried 2 whites and 2 reds. A bottle of the pinot noir came home with with me.
Next up, we went to Vina Indomita, an even more gorgeous place. We didn’t tour or taste at this one, but we had lunch there, in their amazing restaurant overlooking some beautiful views.
I mean, how pretty is this place!? I was in love.
The last winery we stopped at was Bodegas RE.
We did a quick little tour of their cellar, which was really neat. They age their wine in big clay pots similar to what they used to make wine in biblical times. Pretty unique!
After the tour, we tasted three wines: a red, a white and a rose. I got pretty into roses this year since they were super trendy in California wineries. I liked this one so I brought a bottle home! It was a little more orange than the typical blush rose so I thought it was extra interesting.
We loaded up into the bus and headed on our way to Vina del Mar to check into our hotel for the main event of our trip!
That part’s coming soon! Stay tuned…
Have you ever visited Chile or South America? What were your favorite things to do?