Saturday, May 28, 2011

La Vega

As part of our language courses at Berlitz, we go out for lunch everyday with one of our teachers. We usually just head to a nearby cafe for a sandwich, but one of our teachers, Enrique, is slightly more adventurous, and gave up two of his lunchtimes to take us to Santiago's inner city markets!

Here you can get two enormous lunches with drinks for USD $6! When Daniel went, he had "vacuno de jugo" (marinaded beef). On my trip I tried the "cazuellas" (soup with rice, meat and veggies in it). Our teacher ate "guatitas" (cow intestines).

We both saw tremendously exciting fruits and vegetables and pieces of meat, as well as weird and wonderful sauces and spices, and of course, pastas, beans and dog food! These markets sell EVERYTHING! I bought some caqui fruit and piñones to try.

It was a great lunch and a great introduction to life in El Centro. It certainly helped going with a Chileno the first time, and we'll definitely be back for more!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

¡Vida Social!

When Daniel and I went up to Chicureo two weeks ago for Daniel's trail race, the race photographer took a couple of pictures of us. Last night a very excited friend informed us that one of the photos had ended up in the Vida Social section of yesterday's El Mercurio newspaper! Cool, huh?

Bottom row, second from the left

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Viña Concha y Toro

We spent a lovely Saturday afternoon on a wine-tasting tour at Viña Concha y Toro, the largest producer of wine in Latin America. We caught a very authentic blue Chilean bus to the wine estate, and felt that we had earned our wine on the journey there!

The wine estate boasts beautiful grounds, and the vineyards were spectacular in their autumnal colours. We toured the estate and the cellars, and even saw the legendary Casillero del Diablo, where the devil himself is said to watch over the barrels of wine.

The end of the tour was a splendid cheese and wine tasting, where we critiqued the colour, aroma and taste of four Concha y Toro reds. We got less and less discerning as the tasting went on, but we thoroughly enjoyed sampling the delicious wines.

After the tasting we had a great tapas-style dinner at the restaurant, washed down with the unanimous favourite, Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere.

The Climbing Tour

This weekend, Daniel and Brad entered The Merrell Climbing Tour, a 7km trail race up a mountain. It was held in Piedra Roja, about half an hour north of Santiago, and the huge event was really well organised.

Tarryn and I were great supporters even though we got lost while trying to find the start line and missed seeing the boys run past! We also had to deal with some scary wildlife while we were searching for the race route.

Daniel and Brad finished the 7kms in just over an hour, and then had to walk 7km back to the car! The landscape was dry and dusty, but very beautiful. It was a lovely day out in the sun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Santa Cruz

I went on a day trip to Santa Cruz, a wine region about three hours south of Santiago. My friends are excellent amateur photographers and the intention of the day was to practise capturing different landscapes and features. I learnt some great new tips on changing the settings on my camera to compensate for light, distance, etc. Here are some of my efforts.

In the afternoon we stopped at the museum and hotel, a great spot for lunch, wine and more photographs. I had a lovely time and it was great to meet some new friends.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

¿Habla usted ingles?

Do you speak English? This has become a refrain over the past couple of days. Fortunately Daniel's company is sending us on a four-week total immersion Spanish course next week, so hopefully we'll be prepared when we hear the inevitable ¡No!

We've been here for a couple of days and we're already enjoying ourselves. Apart from the upside-down punctuation, there are so many new sights and sounds, and we are having to adapt to living in a big city again. We are looking forward to the challenge and to sharing many more adventures together in our new home country.