It’d be a sin to stop in Mendoza and not go wine tasting. Since Dad and I would do nothing of the sort, we booked the best tour in town with Trout and Wine. We were treated to an all-day private tour with a wonderful English-speaking guide who accompanied us to four local vineyards that served us their top shelf and a fabulous lunch.
While my dad was in Santiago, we decided to escape the city for a few days, so he could see other parts of South America. We took a 6-hour bus ride across the Andes to Mendoza, Argentina — a quiet wine town set in beautiful country. It was a great trip for us to explore a place we had never been before, together.
My dad pointed out every stray dog, many of whom were sporting very stylish winter sweaters — thanks to the concerned Chilean public. He seemed pleasantly surprised that people never exited the elevator without saying goodbye or “chau.” And he laughed when he saw that every restaurant served hot dogs … and mayonnaise. As he noticed all these little things that have become so “regular” in my life, I realized just how much I have learned and adjusted in Santiago.
One of my favorite things about Santiago is the creative art plastered on dozens of walls around the city. While some pieces provide reliable landmarks, other works change often — making strolls down the same streets a new experience every time. For each beautiful mural, there is unfortunately double the vandalism. But, I think the contrast speaks as a reflection of a city that is currently polarized by opinions on human rights and political discontents as it strives to leave its marred past behind in exchange for a brighter future.
The trip was an adventure thrill-ride — a time for strengthening the bond with a sure-to-be-lifelong friend, meeting new acquaintances, and learning about cultures, the Spanish language and that I still have no sense of direction. In just 10 days, I tasted Chilean fish and locally brewed beer, watched traditional song and dance performances, churned freshly butchered meat over a fire pit, passed by a family of llamas, saw a natural phenomenon of special waterfalls and climbed an active volcano. Here’s a look at Pucón, the little city that marks both the start and end of a wild chapter.
I knew the four-hour uphill hike in the snow would not be an easy one for me, someone who is admittedly out of shape and not a huge fan of physical activity. Regardless, I wanted to experience the adventure of hiking an active volcano and I knew any hardship would likely be worth it in the end.
This incredible phenomenon was created when Volcán Osorno errupted, sending hot lava racing through the Petrohué River. When the lava hardened, its formations created powerful chute-like waterfalls in an already beautiful landscape.