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Curacavi, Chile

Written on: Saturday December 19th, 2009

A journal entry from: South America

November 24th - 29th

After the end of our Central American adventure we embarked on our journey through South America. First stop Chile. We had been particularly looking forward to this as we were going to meet Andy's family: his parents (Jean and Barrie) flying out from UK and relatives who live in Chile. Jean had been in Chile for the previous couple of weeks, having a reunion with old school friends. Some background: Jean grew up in Chile, where she later met and married Barrie. Andy´s sister Jen was born here during the military coup in 1974 and after this they moved to UK.

We arrived in the evening at Santiago airport and were very happy to see Jean and Barrie waiting for us, the first familiar faces we had seen in some time. They drove us to Curacvavi, near to Santiago where Uncle David and family live. Andy´s grandmother Eileen was also visiting from England. We had a great reception from David, Miriam, Eileen, Becky, Debbie, Sam & Lucky (dogs), Junior (cat), Ito, Mitimoto, Lunar & Skippy (llamas).

The parcela where they live is situated in the countryside, and has lovely views over the surrounding mountains. The big garden is beautiful with plenty of different flowers and fruit trees. We had our own cottage which we shared with Jean and Barrie. Right behind it lived the llamas who we fed orange peel to every morning.

Our first day in Curacavi we went to the Indomita vineyard in the Casablanca valley, for a tour and some wine tasting. Jean´s friend Mane came with us as well. The Casablanca valley is best suited for white wine grapes such as Chardonney and Sauvignon Blanc but they also grow some lighter reds such as Pinot Noir and Merlot. The tour was very interesting and we learned quite a few new things. We also tasted some really nice wines and one of the favourites was a Chardonnay gran reserva.....

On the way home we called in to a brewery situated near David and Miriams place. It is a small independent brewery called Kross, which is run by a German. They had some very nice beers and we got to taste some of them. The brewery has won many awards in international competitions, and we saw the beer in several restaurants around the country after that.

The next day we visited a beach in Algarobbo, where Jean used to go when she lived in Chile, and where the reunion had been held. The beach was beautiful and deserted, and it was a nice walk down to see it. Afterwards we had lunch at a restaurant by the sea, with pisco sours and wine. In the afternoon we visited the famous author, Pablo Neruda´s house in Isla Negra. The house and his collections of curiosties was amazing. The situation of the place was fantastic, just by the sea with beautiful views around. We took a tour around, which we had booked as it was so busy.  

On our way back we stopped in San Antonio to see the sealions that hang out by the fishmarket together with some pelicans waiting for the fishmongers to throw them some scraps. One sealion tried to bite Barrie when he got too close!  

On the third day we drove through Santiago on our way to the Maipo Valley. We stopped in a place called Los Dominicos where they sell and produce handicrafts. We had a look around and did some shopping. Continuing to the Maipo we were stunned by the great views of the Andes. After an hours drive or so we stopped at a restaurant where Jean and Barrie used to go when they lived in Santiago, to escape the city for a while. On our way back Barrie showed us where he took Jean rock climbing for the first (and last!) time. It looked really difficult.....

The day after the two of us took the bus and the underground back to Santiago to visit Riitta and Berndt who are friends of Yasmin´s family from Sweden. They now live and work in Santiago, at least for a while. The last time Yasmin saw them was when they lived in India and visited them there, just after we met for the first time in Goa. We had a delicious lunch on their balcony and then we all drove to Curacavi for dinner. As it was our last night there we had a very nice dinner together that Miriam had prepared.

The next morning we were off to Concepcion to stay with Andy´s great aunt. We had a lovely time in Curacavi thanks to David and Miriam and family. We hope we can come back to visit some time again!


From Libbet on Dec 21st, 2009

I am sitting in our family room admiring the lovely view and reading your blog. I want to contact Ronan, do you have his mail? Happy Christmas to you both and lota of love, Libbet

From Matt Porter on Dec 22nd, 2009

Alright guys how are you? Your time in Chile with the family looked wicked, love the photo's, the mountains look amazing around there, very lush and peaceful. Looks nice and warm too, it's effin freezing here. It's snowed quite a lot in Brighton and been below freezing pretty much for the last week so the snow hung around which was sweet, pretty dicey getting around though. I expect by now you're close to saying goodbye to Ronan and he'll be coming back to UK in the next few weeks. Tell him his plants are dead but his house lives on. I even put some milk in his fridge so he can have a cuppa when he gets home, i think he would refer to it as 'morale building'! Anyway - just wanted to wish you both a merry christmas. Not sure where you'll be for it but have a wicked one and raise a glass to the UK where we'll be sitting in traffic jams and moaning about it being too cold, not cold enough or having just eaten too much ;-) take it easy and see you next year Love Matt & Gwendoline

From Jean on Dec 24th, 2009

Thanks for all the photos - they are lovely. I had a great time with you both. Hope you have a merry Xmas with Alfredo and family and a very happy new year. Lots of love to you both.

From Andy & Yasmin on Dec 26th, 2009

Hi Libbet, thanks for the comment. We had a great time staying with you, thanks for everything we really appreciate it! Hope you had a nice Christmas. We´ll mail you Ronans address.

From Andy & Yasmin on Dec 26th, 2009

Hi Matt and Gwendoline, great to hear from you. Yes, we have had a lovely time here, it`s been nice and warm... Ronan left a few days ago, hope he appreciated the milk :) We all survived the Torres Del Paine, much due to his "morale building"! Hope you had a great Christmas, we had a nice and quiet one here in Santiago. We´ll let you know when we are coming back. Have a good new year!

From Andy & Yasmin on Dec 26th, 2009

Hi Jean, thanks we had a wonderful time with you seeing all the places you used to go to as well as friends and family. It was nice speaking to you all yesterday and we had a great time at Alfredos. Issy - thanks for the pictures that you sent, they were great! Hope you liked the book. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!