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Fantástico Sur

Fantástico Sur

Time is flying by here in Chile! I realized I forgot to post to this blog earlier, so here is something I wrote on the 25th of February to my personal blog.

I apologize for not updating this blog in a while — it’s summer here in Santiago so everyone is on vacation, myself included. As my friends in the United States are currently facing their midterms, I confess that I haven’t even started the actual semester yet. With all of this extra time before classes start, I had the opportunity to do some traveling in the south of Chile.

I’ve always dreamed of traveling as a backpacker and I finally got to do so! I took a backpacker bus tour called Pachamama (which means Mother Earth in Spanish) through the Lake District with some of my gringa friends. We left from Santiago and traveled to our first stop, an indigenous town called Pomaire, famous for their empanadas that weigh half a kilo (over one pound)! We also made stops at the Rapel Dam and Punta Lobos. We ended up staying in Pichilemu that night, a town known as the capital del surf. That being said, when staying in the capital del surf, one obviously must surf. So that’s exactly what I did — or at least attempted to do. I took surfing lessons and by the end of the session I had actually caught a couple of waves!

The next day we left Pichilemu.  Our first stop was Santa Cruz, where we visited Chile’s most famous museo.  After that, we saw Villarrica Lake and then headed towards our final stop for the day, a town called Pucón.  In this town, we got to go white water rafting.  It gave me such an adrenaline rush!  The rapids were crazy and at one point we even had the opportunity to cliff jump!

We also got to see Ojos del Caburgua Waterfalls and Lake and then  the Pozones Hot Springs while in Pucón.

We then left Valdivia and stopped in Puerto Montt, where we jumped off the bus because we wanted to visit Patagonia and Torres del Paine.  Patagonia is the Antarctic of Chile and Torres del Paine is a national park within Patagonia famous for hiking and trekking.  They are both so far south that we had to take a plane to get there.  It was cold but so worth it!  I got to see penguins, snow capped mountains, glaciers and a magnitude of other gorgeous sights!

After our adventure in the far south, we headed back to the Lake District to hop back on the Pachamama bus, where we continued the rest of the tour.  On the rest of the journey we ventured to places like Puerto Varas, Llanquihue Lake, Frutillar, and Salto el Laja Waterfall.

Other things we saw include San Javier, where we got to see a volcano, and Balduzzi Winery, where we got a tour of the winery and tasted many varieties of wine!  Then it was back to home sweet Santiago.

I wish I had more time to describe what a unique experience this was.  I believe backpacking and staying in hostels is one of the best ways to encounter a culture and meet new people, both locals and foreigners alike.

There was one instance in which it was raining cats and dogs and we were drenched to the bone.  We were desperate to get out of the rain and reach our destination.  A truck was driving past us so we decided to take a chance and see if we could catch a ride.  Sure enough, after we put our thumbs up the truck pulled over for us.  Inside was a nice Chilean man on his way to work.  He reminded me of my friend Ernesto back in the United States.  We had a wonderful conversation — it was nice to chat with a local.  When he dropped us off, he gave us apples.  It was such a kind gesture and it definitely put a smile on my face.

I met people from so many different countries during my trip that I’ve lost track of where they all came from.  Many people I encountered were not only traveling through Chile but were also traveling the world!  Some of the most memorable people that I met was a couple from England.  They have been traveling the world for a year.  They even sold their house in order to do so!  They have inspired me to take risks and the road less traveled.

Now I have a week or so to explore Santiago until the semester starts. I am excited to have even more stories to share about my explorations in the city.  (Be on the lookout for a new blog post dedicated to Santiago!)

“Confieso que he vivido” is a quote from Pablo Neruda (he is a famous literary icon from Chile, as mentioned in a previous blog post).  Translated into English, his quote means “I confess that I have lived.”  I hope over time this becomes more relevant to my life.


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