Friday, June 27, 2008

Chile - Part I

I had every intention of getting all of the Chile portion of our trip in one post. We have too many pictures though, so I think it is going to take two! This will only get you through days 1 and 2 in Chile.

We stayed at Casa Newen Bed and Breakfast in Providencia, Santiago. Ours hosts, Luis and Adda, were absolutely wonderful and had so many great tips and recommendations for us.

We stayed in the guest house on the bottom floor in a queen room. (The wooden door in the picture is ours.)

They have a little cafe area built on to the main house.

And that is where we had our breakfast each morning.

The forecast was calling for rain all day on Thursday in Santiago, and that meant snow up in the Andes. We wanted to go skiing while we were there, and we figured snow while skiing beat rain while sight-seeing. So first thing Thursday morning, we headed up to Valle Nevado Ski Resort (just about an hour and a half ride from Santiago) to hit the slopes.

Now, a few things about skiing the Andes. First off, wow! It is totally amazing. Tons of snow, really big mountains, long ski runs, and, when it is snowing, everything is white. The sky, the mountains, the ski trails, everything. Totally white. If you've only ever been skiing once before in all of your life, then skiing the Andes becomes even more intimidating when you are essentially doing it blind! It was impossible to see anything. I had no idea if I was on the trail half the time. And forget about trying to prepare for curves, steep hills, etc. in your immediate future. It was a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but next time we will try to go on a prettier day. I might be a little more brave that way and not do so much snow plowing on my way down the slopes!

This picture is looking off at the resort from the trail.

When you are skiing blind from all the whiteness, you occasionally run the risk of getting off the trail. When that happens, you find yourself in quite deep, quite powdery snow. You are also probably going to take a tumble since your body has a lot of momentum going down the mountainside but your skies suddenly stop as they sink into the snow drift. And it is dang hard to get yourself out of this situation. If you're lucky like me, your husband will be there to rescue you. (Or um, rather stop further downhill and take pictures as you struggle you get up and out of the 5'+ deep powder. By the way, my completely submerged left pole is still not hitting anything solid here as I am trying to push myself up!)

Thank goodness you are never too far away from a lodge where you can warm up with a Chilean pisco sour and forget all about that earlier wipe out!

Here I am feeling like king of the world after making it all the way down a long run without falling and getting snow down my pants and inside my coat and in my gloves and other places that I thought I had adequately covered from the cold but once tumbling head over heels (or skis over head) all bets are off as to what crevices snow might get packed into!

And for the record, Eric, a more experienced and talented skier than myself, had some really great tumbles as well. There was one time when we somehow got way off the trail and as he was making his way back down towards it, he came to a bit of a cliff (it was just about 6 feet or so.) He tried to stop, but ended up falling down the cliff backwards and head first. I have never wished more that I had the video camera rolling! The skis and poles and arms and legs all flailing was really one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life! The beauty of good, deep, powdery snow though is that you can take falls like that and never even feel it! Which is especially great since I would have felt really bad about laughing so hard had he been hurt. ;)

It was a quite chilly day as the high was just 30 degrees F. We skied until almost 5:00 pm when our bus was leaving to head back into the city. Wouldn't you know that just as we where getting ready to head out, the clouds started breaking, the sun started peaking through, and we got our first gorgeous mountain views of the day! We delayed the bus just a little so we could get some shots from up there.

This first picture does the place no justice. It is absolutely huge, but you can't really get a feel for the scale from this photo. (I can assure you it is much, much steeper than it looks here too!)

Chile Part II and all my summarizing thoughts from our vacation will have to wait until next week. We are off this evening with the Belo Horizonte Softball Team to a tournament about 4 hours from here. My mountain of dirty laundry that I've barely put a dent in from our trip needs to be neatly sorted so that when I come home Sunday and add our weekend dirty clothes to it I don't immediately pass out. I think if it is at least divided and neatly piled I can probably buy myself a few minutes before I fall out from fear and panic. Oh yeah, and I really need to pack too. (Could someone please tell me why I ever bother to unpack our suitcases?)


Mamasphere said...

That looks AMAZING. I'm having so much fun reading about your trip!

Amanda said...

I had a little time to catch up on your last two posts and almost fell out of the chair laughing while reading about the tandem bike adventure!! Reminds me of our mo-ped adventure in downtwon Cozumel. Jon and Eric seem to hsve alot of commn "ideas"!

The trip just sounds marvelous and I can't wait for more stories and pictures!

stellafide said...

Hey there! I feel like a stalker, but I loved reading your Chile and Buenos Aires adventures. I got married right around when you did, and can't imagine moving to Brazil with my husband, though an international stint is something we've both dreamed of. I am graduate student now and trying to learn about the desserts in Brazil. Would you take this (about 3 min) survey:

Thanks! Please pass it along to anyone else in Brazil who many be willing. Cheers!
Leisel in Virginia