Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ciao, Ciao Chile!

Wow, four years in Chile are done!  It's so hard to believe that our time here is over.  I have so many fond memories of our time there, the main reason being that our little Aidan was born there.  We made many good friends and we will miss them dearly.  We will also miss Pascuala, our nana, more than words can say.  She became part of our family and it was so very sad when we had to say good-bye.  

We had some fantastic trips during our time in Chile.  Our first South American trip was at the beginning of our second year here and we went to Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls in Argentina, both of which were fabulous trips and definitely worth seeing.  

In our summer holiday that year we did our first big road trip and camping trip to the south of Chile:  Villarrica/Pucon area, Valdivia, Chiloe, Frutillar, Puerto Varas.  It was a great time and we had so much fun and saw so many beautiful things.  I think it was my favourite trip that we did while in Chile.    The next year we went south again but this time we went through the Andes to Bariloche in Argentina.  That area is absolutely stunning and we're glad we spent as much time as we did there.  Then we headed out across the Argentinean Patagonia in our little Yaris and our two little ones.  We pushed the 13 hours it took to get across the sparse but beautiful landscape.  We spent a few days on the Valdes Peninsula, which was so cool.  We saw so much wildlife - what a fabulous experience!

We visited Argentina one more time on another big road trip.  This time we went to Mendoza and then south from there to Malargue to the very cool volcanoes and volcanic plains and then on to San Martin de los Andes (with a side trip to San Rafael for van repairs).  From there, we came back over the mountains into Chile and showed Der's parents some of our highlights - Chiloe, Valdivia, Puerto Varas, Frutillar and Villarrica.

Our one other trip to a different country was to Uruguay with my mom.  All of us loved that trip.  We loved the friendliness of the Uruguayan people, the charm of Colonia, the peacefulness of Punta del Este in the offseason and the culture that we saw all around us, no matter where we went.  We were happy to fall upon an agricultural show in Montevideo, which showed us how they farmed there and how important farming is to their country.

Within Chile, we did more exploring.  We spent a week up in La Serena and the Elqui Valley.  We also went down to the wine country south of Santiago around the town of Santa Cruz and soaked up the charm of the wine country.   And we visited the beach many times around Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.  Our favourite was at Renaca and we made many day trips there.

What I won't miss:
* the smog
* the freezing cold houses in winter
* the bad drivers
* getting cut off in the grocery store

* and not understanding what people say to me (though, I must admit, it has gotten much better over the years).
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