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May 22, 2009

The Return Home

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 7:15 pm

The harbor in Valpariaso

The harbor in Valpariaso

This is where I usually say something along the lines of our trip home was uneventful.  Somehow, the “usually” seems to be diluted these days.

We spent the night prior to our departure at the Holiday Inn directly at the airport in Santiago.  With an early morning departure, this location was perfect.  We could check our bags onto the flight and go back to the room and nap and shower until it was time to board.  Under the shadow of Cerro San Cristobal, the hill of the patron saint of travel safety, our departure went smoothly after the TACA agents worked for 20-minutes to find our reservation.  This time, however, we never feared.  The worst-case scenario was staying longer in Chile.  How bad could that be?

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May 18, 2009

Santa Cruz to Santiago: Our last full day in Chile

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 5:27 pm

Inside the baths at Termas de Cauquenes

Inside the baths at Termas de Cauquenes

“No Nintendo, No Nintendo,” Becky kept saying.

“Why would Becky be saying that?” I thought.  “Does she like Play Stations better?  I never knew she had such a strong preference.  And why would she take so long to tell me?  Is this a ‘sign’?”

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May 16, 2009

Colchagua Valley

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 5:14 pm

The road moving away from the winery at Vina Montes

The road moving away from the winery at Vina Montes

With breakfast at 9:30 am in the room and a cool cross breeze, our day began slowly.  And yes, even at Casa Lapostolle, there was Nescafe.  But, unlike the fine powder that you pour into hot water to produce a bitter (more…)

May 14, 2009

Santa Cruz: Clos Apalta

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 1:49 am

Iglesia Santa Rosa de Pelequen

Iglesia Santa Rosa de Pelequen

With the frequency of our visits, the airport in Santiago was starting to feel like home.  I’m not sure that was a good thing.  In the morning it was time to leave again.  I picked up the rental car from the Hertz counter staring at a sign advertising their “Everlost” GPS system which I had somehow not arranged to get.  Not to worry, I had the BeckBeck system.  After repeated, extensive, detailed map downloads from the Hertz agent at the counter and additional reprogramming, I was confident that the BeckBeck system would navigate well on this leg of the journey.

With a couple of wrong turns and a quick trip the wrong way on a one way street (hey, we were following another car!), we left the airport and were on the highway heading towards Santa Cruz, our days destination.  It was a shaky start for the BeckBeck system, but it seemed like the hard part was over.  The next thing we knew, we were lost.  After 15 km on a highway where the (more…)

May 7, 2009

El Tatio Geysers

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 10:49 pm

El Tatio Geyser Basin

El Tatio Geyser Basin

A harsh metallic half-buzzer half-ring sound abruptly broke our sleep.  It took a few moments for the fog and confusion of deep sleep to pass before we realized it was the room phone ringing.  It was 4:30 in the (more…)

April 22, 2009

San Pedro de Atacama and Kari Gorge

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 5:59 am

The Salt Mountain Range

The Salt Mountain Range

Having come from Patagonia, we had been programmed to expect the weather to change on a daily if not hourly basis.  In the Atacama Desert, some days are hotter and some days are cooler, but it would be headline (more…)

April 18, 2009

San Pedro de Atacama

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 10:20 pm

Salar de Atacama

Salar de Atacama

It is hard to characterize Tierra Atacama.  You could call it a spa hotel, which it is, but that would not be entirely correct.  Like Las Torres, much of the appeal of a visit is the excursions led by the hotel’s staff.  But still, (more…)

April 15, 2009

Punta Arenas to San Pedro de Atacama

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 5:41 am

Familia Kusanovic

Familia Kusanovic

The phone rudely rang with the 4:30 am wake-up call as the wind pelted a cold rain against the windows of the room.  After another particularly unsatisfying dose of Nescafe and a quick shower, we checked out of the warm cocoon of the hotel.  Downstairs we rustled our awkward array of bags into a taxi waiting in the predawn darkness of Puerto Montt.  It was shortly after 6 am when we arrived at the small Puerto Montt airport.

“The counter is closed,” the LAN agent said as we pulled our mass of belongings through the empty line to the baggage counter.

We were confused.  Our flight was at 7:00 am, or so we thought, and we were nearly an hour early for a Chilean domestic flight.  It seemed too early to close the check-in.

The agent quickly relented, however, and took our bags and checked us in.  “The flight is boarding now,” she finished.

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Punta Arenas

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel — anotherheader @ 2:52 am

The cemetery in Punta Arenas

The cemetery in Punta Arenas

We didn’t have big plans for our day Punta Arenas.  Before the start of our trip we figured that we would visit one of the penguin colonies on this day, but we’d already made that stop on the way down.  Otherwise, (more…)

April 13, 2009

Torres del Paine and Punta Arenas

Filed under: Chile 2009, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage — anotherheader @ 2:45 am

The Towers in the morning sun

The Towers in the morning sun

I guess it is not too surprising, but the average tourist in Torres del Paine was packing a pretty significant camera.  Sure, there were some pocket-sized point and shoots, but nice DSLRs were more the standard.  (more…)

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