Sunday, April 29, 2012

Isla Negra

Pablo Neruda is arguably Chile's most well-known poet. He was a diplomat and a politician, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. We visited his favourite house (of three), Casa de Isla Negra, situated in a small coastal town about 100km west of Santiago.

Neruda is known for his quirky collections of ships' beakheads, shells, coloured glasses, globes and compasses, ships in bottles, butterflies, you name it! Neruda loved all things to do with the sea and he built his house to resemble a ship, with low ceilings, creaking wooden floors and narrow passageways. He received ships' bells as gifts, and even bought his own boat - which never saw the sea! Instead, Neruda would enjoy a drink in his boat in his garden while looking out over the ocean.

The house overlooks the sea and we went for a stroll along the beach in front of the house. From here we could see the house and the graves of Neruda and his third (and favourite) wife Matilde, built to resemble ... a ship!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Senderos de Santiago

We had a trail-filled weekend as we joined some friends and the Santiago Hiking Club for a hike up Cerro Pochoco on Saturday, and then a trail run along Cerro Carbon's contour path on Sunday.

We've hiked up Pochoco before so this time it was a little easier and just as beautiful. Thanks to some rain the previous night, the surrounding mountains were lightly dusted with snow and the views were washed clean.

The trail run along the side of Cerro Carbon was very peaceful and we both got in some training before our races in May.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

La Campana

La Campana National Park is located about 2 hours northwest of Santiago and is home to one of the last palm forests of the Chilean wine palm. We drove up to the park for a weekend of camping with our friends Federico and Joselin. We stayed in a cute little campsite with winding trails along a dry stream bed and campsites hidden between the trees.

The forests were filled with birds and lizards, and we even saw some cute and hairy wildlife near our campsite.

On Saturday we went for a lovely hike through a beautiful forest with soft leaf-lined paths. Along the way we passed a 15th-century settlement of the Inca Maray people, marked by walls and large grinding stones.

We made it up the 7km trail to Portezuelo Ocoa, a little further down the ridge from Cerro Campana.  Here we had a lovely picnic under the trees whilst enjoying the spectacular views down the valley of the famous palm trees.

Yet again, we had a superb weekend exploring a new part of Chile. ¡Que bacán esta vida!