Yet another week (almost 2) has flown by in Viña. This one seemed to blow by even faster as I was fortunate enough to spend it with my Mom and Dad! Words cannot express how great it was to share a small portion of my experience with them. Not to mention, nothing feels better than some good ole’ loving from your mommy and daddy.
On Saturday, April 13th I anxiously and impatiently waited as my parents took a cab from the SCL airport to Viña del Mar. I must admit their arrival was rather speedy (I think they made it to Viña before Grammy and Lauren even made it through customs-Hahaha! Just messing with you two). As expected, they were exhausted from the dreadfully uncomfortable 10 hour plane ride from Dallas to SCL. After many hugs, we napped. Yes, we napped on their first day in Viña and it was glorious! Laying in between my parents in the king size hotel bed, in CHILE…it does not get much better than that! After laying around and resting we walked around the streets of Viña, and went to eat fish at Tierro del Fuego. The food was great and we watched the sunset over the ocean from our table! Icecream after dinner topped off our first night :)
The next morning, I ensured that we were out the door at a relatively decent hour. We headed to the Valparaíso bus station to try and buy tickets to Pomaire, a local artisan town an hour oustide of Santiago. However, upon our arrival we discovered that in order to travel to Pomaire by bus, it is necessary to depart from Santiago. Having a back up plan, we simply spent the entire day exploring the historic city of Valparaíso (no need to frett, we made it to Pomaire later on that the week). In all honesty, the change of plans was for the better. Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day in Valparaíso. The sun was shining and we walked through the streets, making our way to the infamous shipping port. Sunday is a GREAT day to explore Valparaiso as all of the vendors are out and about selling a multitude of things (literally, you could find anything your heart desires). As we made our way to the port, we stopped in Plaza Victoria and shopped at the Feria de Libereros and Antigüedades. The feria was in full swing and mom and I were in hog heaven shopping for antiques! I am not sure Dad can say they same, but he was along for the ride (lets be honest, he did not have any other choice). After making a few purchases, we continued our trek around the city, making sure to visit both Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción. Riding the famous Acensores, shopping for local goods, looking at graffiti, and eating my favorite pizza at Allegretto made for a great day! My mom had an obsession with all of the old doors throughout the city and insisted that I photograph ALL of them. I must admit, the photos turned out to be really cool. Take a look at the highlights from our day in the photos below!
The rest of the week was very chill and each day was filled with different activities. Unfortunately, after our sunny Sunday in Valparaíso, the weather was terrible throughout the remainder of the week. Legit- clouds and colder temperatures accompanied us wherever we went. But this of course did not hold us back from having fun! I want to be able to remember everything we did, so I am going to give a brief rundown of what we did each day. I promise I will make it short and sweet :)
On Monday, I was fortunate enough to have my one and only class cancelled! I took the rents to eat at my favorite local restaurant, Don Monolo and then we headed back to Viña to do some shopping on the boardwalk. That night, my parents took John, Rebecca, and I out for a Mexican. We had a great time and I am so glad that my parents got to meet my best study abroad friends! Ha!
Tuesday mom and dad were on their own! I, unfortunately, had other obligations (class and work) ALL DAY. They survived the day and we met up with John for dinner after I got off work. To all those looking for a quaint and delicious restaurant in Viña, you should definitely head to La Cuisine. The chef and owner, Patricio, is the nicest guy ever and the food was to die for! I had Merluza (a native Chilean fish) in a seafood sauce with grilled veggies. I will no doubt be going back.
Wednesday, one of my classes was cancelled again! WOO HOO!! Mom and I drug Dad around the mall for a few hours and then we headed to have linner (you know, the meal that occurs during the post-lunch, but pre-dinner interval… yeah probably the most important meal of the day) with my host family. Despite the fact that my parents speak virtually no Spanish, and my host mom speaks absolutely no English, I must say that lunch went rather smoothly. My host sister, Coni, and I were able to do all of the translating and I felt so blessed both of families in the same place at the same time!
Thursday we headed to Concón to eat at my favorite empanada restaurant, Las Deliciosas. However, much to my dismay they were closed. After asking a local couple where the SECOND best empanadas in the area were, we headed to Todos Empanadas. I will admit, the empanadas tasted basically as delicious as the ones from Las Deliciosas…BUT it is the principle of the matter. We ate the SECOND best empanadas in Concón… I guess that means you all will have to come back! HA! After feasting we grabbed a bus back to Viña. The bus ride from Concón to Viña is one of my favorite things to show visitors. The bus meanders along a narrow costal road starting in Concón (obviously) and takes riders through Reñaca. The ocean views are truly mesmerizing and often you can see sea lions swimming about the in ocean. Once we returned to the hotel, mom and I headed up to my apartment in order to unpack the suitcase of clothes, food, and other goodies that she brought from the states. After unpacking, we then had to repack all of the clothes that I no longer need during my remaining 3 months. It is a good thing they brought an extra suitcase because even after sending her back with a mound of clothes, I still do not know if I will be able to make it back to America with all my crap. Exhausted from our day, we simply met John for dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Friday we left to for Santiago! I was super excited to show my parents another part of this awesome country. We checked in the the Marriott Hotel, which I would recommend to anyone staying in the area. Even though I could have curled up in the beyond comfortable bed and napped for hours, there was not time to waste as we had plans to reattempt our trip to Pomaire. We headed to Estación Central and purchased bus tickets to Melipilla because there were no more direct buses to Pomaire that day. I thought I had our travel plans all figured out… once we arrived in Melipilla, we could take a short and inexpensive cab ride to Pomaire. Easy, right? Well, the bus attendant knew that we really wanted to visit Pomaire and had the driver stop literally on the side of the road near the small artisan town. While this was an extremely thoughtful gesture, we were dumped in what felt like the middle of nowhere with no taxis in site. Luckily, having great travel karma (knock on wood) a Chilean couple we encountered offered to give us a ride into town.
Pomaire is infamous for its pottery made from greda, or natural clay, and giant empanadas! The town is tiny and mainly consists of small shops, each of which contain pottery. I am telling you, there was pottery for days. Mom and I went nuts buying small dishes and figurines. It was such a unique experience and I am thankful we had the opportunity to go!
Before we knew it, it was Saturday and my parents had to return to the US. Fortunately, their flight did not depart until late that night so we got to spend another day exploring Santiago! Mom and I did more shopping in Bellavista and then we ventured out to Barrio Yungay in order to find a restaurant that I had read about online. I loved having the opportunity to explore a new area of Santiago. Barrio Yungay is one of the older neighborhoods located in Santiago. The neighbor is composed of old homes and buildings that are full of character and encompasses a unique and rich culture. Due to the fact that I did not know the exact location of our destination, Boulevard Lavaud, it took some searching before we finally arrived. I must say both the experience and the food were well worth the wait! The restaurant is full of antiques, 90% of which are for sale! Each of our meals were delicious, and the dessert was even better.
After lunch, it was time to head back to the hotel to collect the luggage and make our way to the airport. Saying goodbye was beyond difficult, but I would not trade my time with my parents in Viña for anything. I am so blessed that they had the opportunity to come visit me all the way in Chile and I miss them so much already. I love you two more than anything and thank you for everything! Can’t wait to see you again in just 3 months!!