with the Presidential guard in Santiago - the sunglasses were necessary in this place of tears
making empanadas at Los Lingues
my vineyard? Vino Bello restaurant Santa Cruz
with Senora Maria-Georgina Canales the master hat maker in Lolol, my plaiting was so good she offered me a job!
Santa Cruz winery - scenery seems reminiscent of Otago
Vinovino Panpan restaurant - the pile of rubble was a bread oven prior to the earthquake
The cellar at Haras de Pirque - the final dinnerI do not know where to begin, we arrived home last week and I am just getting my head together.
Ok...25 years ago I saw a movie calling "Missing" starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, it documented a father's journey to dicover the fate of his journalist son who has gone missing in the aftermath of a bloody coup in a Latin American country - Chile is not mentioned by name, but somehow everyone knew that the country in the movie was based on Pinochet's Chile. The movie affected me deeply, affecting my political beliefs and giving me a certain wariness of South America in general.
When Flash told me we were going to Chile I was initially incomfortable, however some quick research assured me that we would be safe on this adventure. I have told you before that these exotic and luxurious trips that I am lucky enough to take part in are arranged by Flash as a customer reward, so we travel with the same group of people each time, the company isn't about to put anyone in danger so I relaxed a little, and my investigations on the internet eased my mind further.
The flight direct from Auckland to Santiago was a painless 10.5 hours, followed by an hour by bus to Santa Cruz, a country town of 19,000 people surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Santa Cruz was a laidback intorduction to life Chilean style and a good place to practice our kindergarten Spanish, the people were quiet, polite and friendly, but being blonde blue eyed and tall, people stared wherever we went, which was disconcerting - I suppose it is good to placed in the position of a minority for a change.
As always on these trips we were submerged in amazing places, beautiful food, wonderful wine. Chile's topography is very similar to NZ, often I would look up and think I was in Central Otago.
6 teams competed in the blending and label design contest - we won!
We had a fantastic time, we relaxed, walked, talked and explored. I have lovely Aracaunia yarn to play with. I'll let the photos talk for me, my head is not just full of Chile, but also the upcoming wedding and getting my head around my transfer from PC to Mac - a good choice, but a seriously steep learning curve! the results will be worth it though as you will see.