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Flying to and from South America: Viña del Mar, Santiago, and Buenos Aires

Flying to and from South America: Viña del Mar, Santiago, and Buenos Aires

Old Dec 25, 09, 7:34 pm
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Flying to and from South America: Viña del Mar, Santiago, and Buenos Aires

My previous trip reports:

My First Trip to Turkey - How It Came About - Where I'm Going June 2008
Going to California, and We're... July 2008
Istanbul and Amsterdam to End 2008 and Start 2009
Germany: Driving the Romantic Road and Rhine Valley May 2009

The planning for this year’s “bring in the new year” trip started as soon as our trip to Germany ended. We knew that we would be able to leave on Christmas Eve, and I wanted to return by January 7 on the outside chance that my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide would be playing for the BCS Championship (and they are, ROLL TIDE!).

Where to go? We considered South Africa, but I could not find award flights in premium classes on the dates that would maximize our time there. We also considered Japan, but we wanted someplace a little warmer. Finally, on the last day of June we decided to go to South America.

My 250K AAdvantage miles got us TPA-MIA-SCL/EZE-DFW-TPA, in F, and I used another 45K to get a one-way SCL-EZE flight on LAN about a month later. In addition, I was able to use a bunch of Starpoints for the 11 nights of hotel.

In early October, I took a look at the reservAAtion and saw that there was a change. It wasn’t just a change in times, but MIA-SCL had moved from a 777 to 767, meaning that there was no F cabin. I was a little peeved, and even more so when I called and found out that the change had occurred in early August without me being notified. When I got it sorted out, we were rebooked in J on that flight and had 25K miles refunded. A few weeks later, there was another surprise: I had been charged a change fee! Another call got it straightened out, but AA could have handled the whole process better.

During the trip planning, we decided to stick to Viña del Mar/Valparaiso and Santiago for our six days in Chile. The more we read about Chile, the more we wanted to visit the Atacama, Patagonia, Chiloe, etc., but it was not practical in the time we had.

After all of the planning, the departure date finally arrived. We called for a taxi a little before 6:00 p.m., and it arrived and made the five-mile drive the airport with few stops. Our check in was quick, and so was security at Airside F. We made it through a little after 6:30 p.m. Airside F was pretty dead – a delayed flight to DFW and the BA flight to LGW were the only others yet to depart. Apparently, all US flights had already departed.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

American Airlines 443
TPA-MIA
Scheduled Departure/Arrival: 8:35 p.m/9:35 p.m.
Actual Departure/Arrival: 8:34 p.m./9:30 p.m.
737-800
Seats 4A and 4B


We walked toward Gate F-79 at 8:05 p.m., and we only saw about 30 people in the gate area. I heard the GA say that there were 81 pax, so I figured everyone else must be scattered around the airside. Boarding did not start until about 8:45 p.m., and Mr. FB and I were standing along in the Priority AAccess lane. We were the only pax booked in F; I guess that’s how the GA figured out who we were. As boarding finished, four other pax joined us in F, perhaps non-revs?

The flight was uneventful. We pushed back a couple of minutes after the door closed and were number one for takeoff. After 37 minutes in the air, we landed at MIA. We had to be towed into the gate, which took some time, but we still arrived 5 minutes early.

Our flight arrived at D-29, and our SCL flight departed from D-25. Instead of hanging out in the gate area for two hours, or spending our time in the Admirals Club, we walked over to Concourse E to visit the Flagship Lounge. This was my first visit to the FL at MIA, and it was worth the 15-minute walk from the gate. Unlike the Admirals Club in D, which has been loud and teeming with travelers the last few times I have visited it, the FL was cozy but offered plenty of places to sit. The food and beverage choices were OK: salads, soup, beef chunks on sticks, spanakopita, cheese and crackers, dessert, a self-serve bar, and a nice choice of wines, including a Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc. I would say that of the four FLs I have visited (ORD, LHR, and JFK being the others), MIA would be second to JFK.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

American Airlines 957
MIA-SCL
Scheduled Departure/Arrival: 11:45 p.m/10:10 a.m.
Actual Departure/Arrival: 11:59 p.m./10:19 a.m.
767-300
Seats 2A and 2B


Because our boarding passes said that boarding time for our flight was 10:45 p.m., we left the FL at that time. The boarding area was a zoo when we approached it at 11:00 p.m., and boarding did not begin until 11:20 p.m. We boarded to find menus, amenity kits, duvets, and pillows in our seats. A FA offered everyone in business class a glass of champagne, orange juice, or water, and a little later, a different FA offered newspapers. After everyone was boarded, the cockpit announced at 11:55 p.m. that during the preflight checks, a problem had been detected in the A/C and mechanics were working on it. They must have been nearly finished, because the door closed 4 minutes later, and we pushed back from the gate shortly thereafter. At 12:19 a.m., we took off and were on our way to Chile.

A bit after takeoff, perhaps somewhere over Cuba, the FAs came through the aisles to take drink orders. Because I had already had three glasses of wine at the FL and a glass of champagne after boarding, I had a club soda, and Mr. FB had a ginger ale. I was tempted to try the Aresti Estate Selection Carménère, but I figured I would have many opportunities to try this grape during our six days in Chile. Also, I didn’t want to be impaired when we picked up our car at SCL.

Late Night Supper

To Start
: Warm mixed nuts or Marinated cheese antipasto

Appetizer: Smoked salmon and herb marinated shrimp

Soup: Carrot Cilantro – A creamy carrot and cilantro soup garnished with chopped cilantro, red onions, spicy jalapeno chiles and lime juice

Bread Basket: Assorted gourmet breads offered with butter or Sapore d’Arte olive oil

Main Course

Hoisin Lamb Medallions
Hoisin marinated lamb medallions

Sesame Shrimp
Pan-seared shrimp with sesame seeds accompanied by a ginger soy sauce

Grilled Rosemary Chicken
Rosemary marinated breast of chicken

Your selected entrée will be served with your choice of:

Salad
Fresh seasonal greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, kalamata olives and carrots offered with Sapore d’Arte olive oil and balsamic vinegar

or

Vegetables
Grilled zucchini, tomato and bell peppers offered with herb rice

Dessert

Ice cream sundae – Vanilla ice cream with a choice of hot fudge, butterscotch or seasonal berry toppings, whipped cream and pecans

A selection of fine cheeses – offered with seasonal grapes

or

Grand Marnier fruit salad with passion fruit ice cream

To Finish: Ghirardelli chocolates


Breakfast

Select From


Fresh seasonal fruit

Croque monsieur sandwich with ham, Swiss chsses and béchamel sauce, topped with roasted tomatoes

Yogurt

Cereal

Breakfast Breads: A selection of breakfast breads

Express Breakfast: Served 45 minutes prior to landing to allow you to sleep as long as possible. Warm breakfast breads, seasonal fruits and your choice of beverage


Pre-Arrival Beverage

For Your Enjoyment
: Chilled sparkling water with a fresh citrus garnish


I chose the shrimp while Mr. FB took the chicken. Both were served on salad. The service was quick and efficient, which was important because I wanted to get some sleep. Mr. FB had a sundae and I had the cheese. After we finished, plates were cleared and we put our seats into the sleeping position. We had both ordered the express breakfast to maximize sleep time, hoping that we would be able to get a few hours at least.

Before I knew it, a FA was offering juice. I looked at my watch and it said it was 8:45 a.m. Santiago time. That meant I had slept somewhere between 4 – 5 hours. Next came our choice of hot beverages and the Express Breakfast tray.

The reason I chose seats on the left side of the plane was because I hoped that I could be able to get some pictures of the Andes. During the last 45 minutes or so before landing, I was able to snap these:





Next: Arriving at SCL and driving to Viña del Mar.
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Old Dec 25, 09, 9:38 pm
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Driving to Viña del Mar and checking into the Sheraton Miramar

After our flight landed at SCL, we deplaned and purchased the $131 visa that is compulsory for US passport holders arriving via air through SCL. Then we made our way to immigration and waited. Then we waited. And we waited some more. Because our flight landed around the same time as IB, AF, and probably LA flights, we had a 42-minute wait in the immigration line. If there was an upside to the length of the wait, it was that our bags were already out when we got to baggage claim. The line for customs looked bad, but our bags were x-rayed and we were through in less than five minutes.

Getting our car from Alamo was a different matter. We arrived at the counter and the agent was helping a customer. About ten minutes later, another agent arrived to help us. I handed him my printed reservation, AMEX, driver’s license, passport, and Mr. FB’s driver’s license. He spent the next 15 minutes typing, calling, and typing again. In the meantime, the other agent finished with her customer and helped another customer. Finally, our agent announced that there were no GPSs available, even though we had reserved one. I guess that’s what took so long. He handed me a contract to sign, and Mr. FB and I both looked over it and decided we were not signing away anything we did not want to.

Contract in hand, we figured it would be a good idea to get some cash at an ATM. The first attempt at a Santander ATM was unsuccessful, but Mr. FB figured out that it was because we had to specify that we had foreign accounts. We finally got cash, but the ATM charged 2,500 pesos (about US$5) for the transaction. As much as I travel internationally, this was my first experience being hit with a fee by the ATM. I took 60,000 pesos, hoping that I could use credit cards as much as possible the rest of the time in Chile.

When we arrived at the lot to get our car, another agent took our contract. He seemed confused but pointed us to a Nissan Sentra after a few minutes. The Sentra had seen better days, and we spent about 10 minutes pointing out all of the scratches, scrapes, dents, etc., and I am certain that there are more we did not see. We got into the car, and drove away. With 71,000 kms and a rough running engine, it’s not the best rental car we have ever had, but as long as it gets us where we want to go, it’s fine.

The agent assured us that driving to Viña del Mar would be easy without a GPS. That did not concern us. It was finding our hotel and all of the places we wanted to visit that was the reason we wanted the GPS, but this was not the time to stress. We paid the toll to leave the airport and headed on Ruta 68 to Valparaiso and Viña. After about 10 minutes of driving, we decided that it would be smart to fill up with gas, because we left with only 3/8 of a tank. We found a Shell/McDonald’s and stopped there. Because it was Christmas day, we realized there might not be many other places to eat along the way, so we (I am ashamed to admit) had lunch at McD’s.

The McPollo Italiano did not look very Italian, but I realized that the name came from the colors of the ingredients: green mashed avacado, white mayonnaise, and red tomato on what looked like a McChicken patty. I would like to claim that I came to the conclusion myself, but I remembered reading that one style of hot dog in Chile was called Italiano for the same reason. The sandwich was surprisingly good. We bought some water and snacks at the adjacent store, and hit the road again.

For some reason, I had imagined that hardly anyone would be on the road in Chile on Christmas. While traffic was not heavy, the roads were far from deserted. As we drove along Ruta 68, the landscape changed from bushy with a few trees to forests of pine and eucalyptus. In between, we passed a few wineries, including Veramonte and Indomita.

Approaching Valpo and Viña, we realized the value of the GPS we did not have. I had the foresight to print Google Maps directions to the hotel before we left home, anticipating that a GPS might not be waiting for us. However, we got confused when we saw a turnoff for Viña that Google did not suggest. We had nowhere to be, and figured that our room might not be ready anyway, so we went with the flow. We took the turn to Viña. We had no idea where we were going, and we took the tour of the city before realizing that our hotel was probably on the other side of town. We made a legal u-turn, and somehow stumbled upon the Sheraton Miramar.

I booked three nights at the hotel on June 30. Given the choice between 10,000 Starpoints per night and the Cash and Points rate of 4,000 + $60 per night, I chose the latter. We were welcomed by someone who took our bags and again at reception. The agent informed us that because of my platinum status, we had been upgraded to a suite. She then asked which amenity I wanted, and I shocked my spouse my choosing the wine with fruit and cheese. He was so shocked, because he had never seen me choose something other than points. However, a bottle of Chilean Carménère and a plate of cheese with fruit seemed the better option. While we were checking in, the manager on duty welcomed us personally. Our agent checked and told us that the room was not quite ready, but offered us welcome drinks on the patio. We gladly accepted and went outside to enjoy our first pisco sours.

The view from the patio was incredible.



Our first impression when we stepped outside and felt the cool ocean breeze was that we should change our plans to spend time in Santiago! We sat on a sofa and a waitress took our order for pisco sours. They came and we enjoyed our first experience with this wonderful cocktail. Thankfully, our friend from the front desk rescued us while we were still able to walk and gave us our room keys. We tipped our waitress and took the elevator up to the seventh floor. The room is really more of a junior suite:



but it got two thumbs up from both of us. The view of the Pacific:



and the patio bar and pool area:



from our room made us realize that leaving the hotel – leaving the room, for that matter – might be a challenge. With a bottle of wine, a plate of cheese, and a few other snacks, we decided to allow ourselves the rest of the afternoon and evening in. I napped for a few hours and awoke in time to see the sun set over Valpo:



Mr. FB was sound asleep, so I relaxed a little more. After some more wine and cheese, it’s time to go back to sleep and get ready to explore the area tomorrow.
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Old Dec 26, 09, 1:34 am
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Overall, sounds like a nice start to your trip. Renting a car down there is almost always interesting and time consuming - I rent from Econorent almost every time.

Seeing those pictures (and mind you, I haven't been to Chile since October) makes me long for my next trip down there, which will be New Year's Eve in Santiago (4 nights), followed by nearly a week in Buenos Aires.

I hope you have a great trip.
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Old Dec 26, 09, 5:19 am
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Fantastic TR so far! Looking forward to reading more of it. ^
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Old Dec 26, 09, 9:03 pm
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Day 2: Exploring Valparaiso and the beaches to the north

We awoke a little after 8:00 a.m. this morning. Considering that Mr. FB had not slept on the MIA-SCL flight, the rest was welcome. We dressed and went downstairs to the Travesía Restaurant for the breakfast buffet that was included in our rate. Even though the food was plentiful and delicious - especially the croissants and pastries - the real attraction was the view.

On our way back to the room, we asked the concierge to make a reservation for us to visit Pablo Neruda's home in Isla Negra on Sunday. He was not able to complete the reservation yet, because the museum did not open until 10. He promised to call as soon as the museum opened and answered a few other questions we had about our Saturday activities.

We went back to our room for a few minutes, and received a call from the concierge a few minutes after 10:00 a.m. confirming our reservation for the tour at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. We then walked to Estacion Miramar to take the metro to Valparaiso. The ride was pleasant, most of it with a view of the Pacific, and relatively quick. We took the train all the way to the end of the line at Estacion Puerto, because we read that there was an information kiosk there. We did not find one, but we admired the Naval Command Building:



before walking along Av. Blanco. Blanco had a certain, ummm, aroma to it. Maybe it was the fish or something else, but we decided we would walk back a different way. After a few minutes, we arrived at Plaza Aduana, where we rode the Ascensor Artillería up Cerra Artilleria:



The ascensor itself was an attraction: about 100 years old and scaling the steep hill. The ascensor was rickety, but paying 300 pesos for a rickety ride up the side of a steep hill beats walking it! After the two-minute journey, we walked around Paseo 21 de Mayo, dodging postcard salespeople and admiring views of the port and surrounding hills. Then we walked up a set of steps to the Naval and Maritime Museum. The museum had room after room of artifacts from War of the Pacific. Before I started planning this trip, I knew nothing about this war, but a little background made names like Bernardo O'Higgins, Arturo Prat, and Thomas Cochrane meaningful. The model of the Esmarelda was especially interesting.

We descended the hill, again via the ascensor, and walked back toward Plaza Sotomayor, this time via Av. Errázuriz. When I looked right at one of the intersections, I saw a sign for a restaurant called Los Porteños. I had seen a nice review in my Lonely Planet guide, and Samantha Brown had also visited it on a trip to Coastal Chile. Being a seafood lover, I talked Mr. FB into stopping there for lunch. After all, it was 1:00 p.m.!

As we approached, a lady tried to persuade us to go to her restaurant instead, with no luck. A man greeted us at the door, shook my hand, and pointed us to a table. Soon after, a waitress brought a basket of bread, dishes of mayonnaise and hot salsa, a bowl of lemon halves, and two shots of pisco sour to our table. We had to wait a few minutes until the gentleman at the next table finished with the menu before we could see what was available. It was all in Spanish, to our delight, because I knew what I wanted: machas a la parmesana (clams with parmesan cheese). Mr. FB ordered the merluza frita con papas fritas. Within ten minutes, our dishes were served, and it took another ten minutes before my clams cooled enough to be eaten:



It was worth the wait! My spouse's fish was also delicious, and it was served with the biggest bowl of fried potatoes I had ever seen. We ate as much as we could, paid, and left.

As we walked back to Plaza Sotomayor, we stopped at an intersection and I heard Mr. FB yell a four-letter word. I looked over, and he said, "That $#%* just tried to pickpocket me!" I saw a man walking in the other direction as though nothing had happened. However, this convinced us that it was time to head back to Viña and relax for a few minutes before driving up north.

About an hour later, we took our car and headed through Viña through the beach communities of Reñaca and Con Cón, each of which was packed with holiday visitors. We had hoped to see penguins at one of the beaches in Con Cón, but no luck. So we decided to drive farther north to Cachagua. We also wanted to visit Horcon to see the former hippie colony. However, none of the road signs referred to either, but we quickly realized that if the road went to Papudo, it went through (or near) Horcon and Cachagua.

When we saw a sign for Quintero, we figured it would go to Horcon as well. Unfortunately, there was no bridge connecting the two cities on the Pacific. However, we did have a nice drive around Quintero before returning to the main road. We decided to skip Horcon, hoping to see some penguins at Cachagua. Eventually, we found Cachagua (a GPS really would have come in handy, Alamo!), parked our car, and walked down the steep bluff to the beach. Unfortunately, we never saw any penguins, but we did see one of the most beautiful beaches either of us has ever seen:





We walked around for nearly an hour and enjoyed a Diet Coke before climbing back up the bluff to our car. By this time, it was about 7:30 p.m. and time to head back to Viña. The drive was easy until we approached Con Cón. We inched along through a traffic backup that lasted for about 30 minutes, basically out in the middle of nowhere. We never determined why traffic was backed up, figuring that the stop sign at the railroad crossing slowed up everyone? However, we did admire the setting sun, which was accentuated by all of the fires in the region.

Instead of driving back through the beach communities, we decided to take Camino Internacional to Viña. Amazingly, we were able to navigate our way through Viña much more easily today, and made it back to the hotel by 9:45 p.m. We decided that a room service dinner was a good idea and placed our order. While we waited, we looked at the fire and smoke in the hills from our room:



Our dinner arrived within 30 minutes, and was beautifully presented and nicely prepared. Hearing the waves crash while we ate was a great way to end the day. It would have been even better without the psychotic seagull who patrols the area next to our balcony, more about him later! For now, we have another day of exploring to look forward to, this time south of Viña.
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Old Dec 26, 09, 9:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
Overall, sounds like a nice start to your trip. Renting a car down there is almost always interesting and time consuming - I rent from Econorent almost every time.

Seeing those pictures (and mind you, I haven't been to Chile since October) makes me long for my next trip down there, which will be New Year's Eve in Santiago (4 nights), followed by nearly a week in Buenos Aires.

I hope you have a great trip.
Sounds like we will be running away from you! We leave SCL on New Year's Eve for Buenos Aires, and leave EZE for the US on January 5. This is my first trip to Chile, and it will NOT be my last.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Buccaneer View Post
Sounds like we will be running away from you! We leave SCL on New Year's Eve for Buenos Aires, and leave EZE for the US on January 5. This is my first trip to Chile, and it will NOT be my last.
My first trip was November, 2001 for a "long weekend." I returned late December, 2001 for an 8 or 9 night trip (SCL/Viña, and PUQ). I have been there about 15 times since. I spend every New Years Eve there. I've been from PUQ to ARI and many points in-between, many places several times.

I do have important information for you about this trip - I don't know if you were a poster asking about NYE in BA, but please make arrangements immediately for your New Year's Dinner in BA. It is the most boring night of the year in the city. That is, unless you have specific plans. The streets are dead, and most everything is closed until places re-open at near 2AM for nightlife.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I do have important information for you about this trip - I don't know if you were a poster asking about NYE in BA, but please make arrangements immediately for your New Year's Dinner in BA. It is the most boring night of the year in the city. That is, unless you have specific plans. The streets are dead, and most everything is closed until places re-open at near 2AM for nightlife.
That's good to know! I will contact the hotel where we are staying and get recommendations. Thank you!
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Old Dec 27, 09, 5:39 am
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Gorgeous! I'm drooling over the clams. It's nice to see some vicarious sunshine in the middle of British winter!
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Old Dec 27, 09, 6:34 am
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Originally Posted by ThatJohn View Post
Gorgeous! I'm drooling over the clams. It's nice to see some vicarious sunshine in the middle of British winter!
The clams were even more delicious than they looked. And it's hard to beat the clear skies and cool ocean breezes, except when the air gets too smokey from the fires!
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Old Dec 27, 09, 7:02 am
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Make sure you take the Buquebus over to Colonia while you're in Buenos Aires. There are a couple of fantastic asaderos in the historic section of Colonia (head one block off the main street) as you get to the river. The one with the wooden patio and outdoor grill is heavenly (but I do not remember its name).
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Old Dec 27, 09, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by C. Howitt Fealz View Post
Make sure you take the Buquebus over to Colonia while you're in Buenos Aires. There are a couple of fantastic asaderos in the historic section of Colonia (head one block off the main street) as you get to the river. The one with the wooden patio and outdoor grill is heavenly (but I do not remember its name).
I went to Colonia when I was in Bs As in August 2001, and we plan to go this time. When I was there in 2001, I had to deal with a steady rain, so I feel like I need to see it in better weather. Thanks for the recommendation about the asadero, we will try to check it out!
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Old Dec 27, 09, 3:14 pm
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Day 3: Driving to Isla Negra to Visit Pablo Neruda's House

Considering that we had reserved an 11:30 a.m. tour of Pablo Neruda’s house in Isla Negra, we got off to something of a late start. I awoke at 7:30 a.m. and let Mr. FB sleep a little longer. He twisted his ankle during Saturday’s visit to Cachagua, and I wanted to see if he would be able to walk on it today. After a few unsuccessful attempts to wake him up, I was finally able to do so at 8:30 a.m. We went downstairs for a quick breakfast – Nomar Garciaparra’s look-alike was sitting at the next table – returned to our rooms to get ready, and we were on the road to Isla Negra at 9:50 a.m.

Once again, a GPS would have come in handy. The hotel’s concierge suggested taking Ruta 68 to Casablanca, then heading toward Algarrobo, and then driving down the Pacific for a few kilometers. The drive was pretty easy until we got to Algarrobo. Somehow, we lost the main road and ended up in a maze of unpaved residential streets. The houses looked like what you might see in a suburban subdivision in the US, but it was frustrating not being able to get back to the main road. We could see it, but every way that looked like an outlet was blocked by a rail.

We finally escaped to the main road, but we were headed toward the Pacific, and then driving along the Pacific. We had no idea where we were, but took comfort in the fact that the Pacific was on the right, meaning that we were driving to the south. After a few minutes we reached El Quisco, which was a good sign, considering that the tour map showed Isla Negra next to El Quisco. We kept driving, thinking that we had gone to far, until we saw a sign for parking. We bypassed that parking area for a more official-looking one.

Actually finding Neruda’s house required asking someone if we were headed in the right direction. There was one sign that vaguely pointed toward it, but we knew we were in the right place when we saw the tower. We purchased our tickets at 11:15 a.m. and waited for our tour.

The only others on the tour with us were a couple of ladies from France who spoke more English than Spanish. Our guide, Marcela, was excellent and took us through the rambling house, starting with the original structure:



Unfortunately, we could not take pictures or enter the tower, which was the original bedroom of the house. Much of the items that Neruda had purchased, been given, and found on the beach were on display. Words cannot describe how breathtaking the views from inside were. We walked over to Neruda’s study. I can imagine how inspirational the views of the Pacific must have been to the poet. Then we visited the bedroom that Neruda shared with his last wife. The windows offered views to the north and west. We could take pictures of the outside from the inside, so I took one of the rest of the house from the bedroom:



The last part of the tour took us to the stable he had built for a papier-mâché horse he had admired as a child and bought as an adult and another room with collected seashells, a narwhal tooth, and other objects. That was the end of the tour, but we were free to wander around as long as we wanted to, so we visited the tomb of Neruda and his third wife:



and admired the views from the property:



This last view was so beautiful that we decided that stay and have lunch at the café so that we could sit outside and look out over the Pacific a bit longer.

Around 2:00 p.m., we left Isla Negra for the drive back to Viña. We did make a few wrong turns but found Casablanca without too much trouble. A friendly attendant at a gas station confirmed that we were headed in the right direction, and the rest of the drive was easy.

Because we know our way around Viña now, kind of, we drove into the commercial area on Av. San Martin. We found a Starbucks and I added another mug to my collection. We got a coffee and a tea and walked the length of Av. Peru, watching all of the families who were out for a day in the sun. Then we walked back to the car and drove back to the hotel. While we usually try to limit the amount of time we spend in hotel rooms, the view and the sound of the waves crashing are so relaxing that it’s tough to stay away.

Now, if only that psycho sea gull would leave us alone!

Flying Buccaneer is offline  
Old Dec 27, 09, 3:26 pm
  #14  
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This part of the report is so much more interesting than the menu on the flight! ^
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Old Dec 27, 09, 5:30 pm
  #15  
 
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Great report and very nice pics!! ^
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