Santiago

Check out that view

DAY 9:聽We took a bus to Santiago late morning. The bus was really nice, and the best part was that it only costs $6 USD! I was a little worried about our last hostel because we did not have many options (almost everything was booked聽for Lollapalooza). We ended up with a great location- 6th floor of this building overlooking one of the major plazas of the city. For dinner we聽concocted a chicken pesto panini/sandwich thing 馃檪

Yummy

DAY 10:聽While Sydney, Abigail, and some friends from the hostel went to the mall to pick up their wristbands for Lolla, Christa and I had some fun on our own. We explored some markets and this really cool shopping/restaurant聽area called Plaza Bellavista.
Crepes for lunch!

 

We also went to Cerro San Crist贸bal which is a hill in the middle of the middle. We took a funicular (similar to an ascensor) to the top. They really like building statues on top of hills/mountains, and we saw yet another one.
“Yo soy la inmaculada concepci贸n”
View from the top

We also went to El Museo de La Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights) which was dedicated to commemorate the victims of human rights violations during the military regime led by Augusto Pinochet in Chile between 1973 and 1990. It was really sad, but still a pretty cool museum.

Plaza de Armas at night
Gorgeous sunset to close the day #nofilter #imserious

 

LAST DAY:聽While Abigail was at Lolla and Christa met up with a friend, Sydney and I went to Cerro Santo Lucia, yet again another hill. This one had a castle though, so we couldn’t pass it up!

We treated ourselves to a yummy lunch since we wanted to use up the rest of our Chilean pesos. Seriously, best ice cream I’ve had in this hemisphere to date. And why is Moca so hard to find??
After stocking up on snacks, Christa and I headed to the bus terminal to head home. Overall, it was a great trip and I feel super blessed to have had the experience. It sure was exhausting, but definitely worth it 馃檪
Chao mis queridos!!
Ryan
Advertisements

Cities by the Sea

DAY 7:聽The next day we took a tour of Pablo Neruda’s house. I’ve read tons of his poems in Spanish Lit classes throughout the years, and it was really cool to see where he lived. The house was so ecceltic, and it had an awesome view.

 

Pablo Neruda’s house

 

The remainder of the day we wandered around the city, ate some empanadas in the park, got froyo and went shopping by the water, and rode more ascensores 馃檪

If we had a band this would SO be our album cover

 

You pick which fruits you want and
they make it right in front of you

Valparaiso has 15 ascensores that were built between 1883 and 1916. These “elevators” lead up into the hills and

meandering聽back alleys of the city.

Later that night, we took a taxi to Vi帽a del Mar and checked into our next hostel.

DAY 8:聽This day was聽supposed聽to be our beach day, but the weather did not want to cooperate. We spent a lot of the day hiding from the cold in our hostel, watching YouTube videos, and chilling with our Danish roommates. We did drag ourselves outside a couple times to walk around. Vi帽a del Mar definitely seemed a lot more touristy than the other places we had visited. We still enjoyed ourselves though 馃檪

This lovely lunch of salmon, mashed potatoes, freshly squeezed peach juice, and dessert cost me about $5 US dollars. Score!

 

Nos vemos!
Ryan

Chile, yo!

DAY 5:After an awesome time in Mendoza, our next stop was Chile. We spent our Easter Sunday morning at the bus terminal, yay… When Sydney’s tios came to visit they brought some goodies with them from the States to share-Reese’s Easter bunnies!

Thanks Auntie Pam!

The 7 hour bus ride consisted of lots of pretty scenery, snacks, reading, 2 hrs at the border (ugh), Sydney almost getting left at the border, and Christa screaming in the middle of the movie haha.

We didn’t get to Valparaiso till almost 7 that night, and luckily Sydney had changed some money at the border. After paying for the taxi to our hostel, we only had about $8 USD to feed the four of us dinner. We were able to do it though! An EASTER MIRACLE!

 

The only way I can describe Chilean pesos is stupid. Pretty, but stupid. I had just gotten used to the conversion rate from Argentine pesos to US dollars. It was so frustrating the first couple of days trying to figure out how much things costs. It was totally normal to pay $6000 CLP for lunch.
DAY 6:聽We spent the day walking around the city. Valparaiso is gorgeous, so here come the pictures.
Edificio Armada de Chile (Chilean Navy Building)

 

This made me laugh. WE SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE

 

We took a boat ride. Can you see the mountains in the distance?

 

These seal things stunk SO BAD

 

 

聽This is not what I expected when I ordered fajitas de mariscos (seafood fajitas). Literally was a pancake filled with seafood and this weird cream sauce…

Nos vemos!
Ryan

California & Colorado’s Lovechild

DAY 4:聽If California and Colorado had a baby, it would be Mendoza. After a day of biking and bodegas, we spent the next day in the mountains. We decided to pay for a tour/trip instead of trying to see and do everything on our own. This was probably overall one of the most bizarre, but funniest days we had during the trip. This is going to be a long post, so if you don’t want to read it all just scroll through the pictures 馃檪

So we woke up really early and Rafting Guy (worked at hostel) was mad at us because we didn’t finish washing our dishes from the night before. We all conked out right after dinner, oops… We were really confused about what time our bus was coming to pick us up for our tour, but Rafting Guy told us to stand on the side of the street and just wait for it, so that’s what we did. Later Christa came out and was like “Rafting Guy wants to know why you all are standing out here. You can wait inside because they are going to call the hostel once the bus gets here”. Thanks Rafting Guy…

First stop, Potrerillos:

Later in the day we took a chair lift up part of the mountain:
photo credit: Sydney
photo credit: Sydney

 

Windy and chilly at the top (photo credit: Abigail)

 

Next stop was Puente del Inca which is a rock formation that forms a natural bridge. There was a hotel nearby for many years that utilized the hot springs which are thought to have certain healing properties.

By this point we were starving, but was it lunch time? Of course not. Our next stop was Cristo Redentor de los Andes (Christ the Redeemer of the Andes) which is a monument built really high up on a mountain on the border of Argentina and Chile. It was built to celebrate the peaceful resolution of the border dispute between the two countries, and one of the plaques says (in Spanish), “Sooner shall these mountain crags crumble to dust than Chile and Argentina shall break this peace which at the feet of Christ the Redeemer they have sworn to maintain.”
We had to get out of the bus and into these little vans to go up the mountain. It took like 45 minutes, no guardrails, and it was a really bumpy road. Our bladders were super happy by the time we got to the top, not. Our driver gave us 15 minutes to take pictures, but it was SO COLD I literally jumped out of the van, took 2 pics, and got back in.
Up the mountain we go
Argentina on the left, Chile on the right

 

It’s warmer in the van (photo credit: Sydney)
After returning to the bottom of the mountain, they took our group to this restaurant to eat FINALLY (it was like 5pm at this point). The restaurant was kind of expensive, so we went looking for something else. This town, Las Cuevas, literally had 5 buildings (population: 7 as of 2001). Let me give you a run down of the conversations we had-
First building that we went in:
-“Do you have a menu?”
-“No.”
-“Well do you have any food?”
-“Let me check.”
-“…..”
-“No”
-“But there are people sitting and eating right there.”
-“No food for you.”
SERIOUSLY?
Next building:
-“Do you have a menu?”
-“No.”
-“Do you have any food?”
-“Yes” (This looks promising)
-“What do you have?”
-“Jam贸n conocido o jam贸n crudo” (Basically, ham sandwich or ham sandwich)
-“Ok. We’ll all take a ham sandwich”
After our lovely ham sandwiches, we ran to catch our bus. We were scared that we were going to get left behind since we separated ourselves from the group, but they noticed that the only Americans were missing. The trip lasted all day and when we got back around 9:00, we had to go all the way across town to find a grocery store that was still open. It started drizzling while we were walking back, and two minutes after we got back to our hostel it started hailing. Yes, hailing. A crazy end to a crazy day I guess.
Nos vemos!
Ryan

Mendoza

photo credit: Abigail

DAY 3:聽Friday morning, we took the bus to an area called Maipu which is one of the main wine regions in Mendoza. We rented bikes (1 tandem, 2 regular) for the day and ended up visiting three of the many wineries. The first one we visited, Entre Olivios, specialized in olive oil and we also got to taste their jams, mustards, olive spreads, chocolate, honey, and聽liqueurs.

 

photo credit: Abigail

We ate lunch with some people we met on the road while biking. It was so funny talking about cultural differences with people from the UK, Denmark, and Australia. After lunch, we visited two bodegas (wineries). One was larger and more modern (Trapiche), and the other was smaller and family owned (Di Tomasso).

 

 

Photo credit: Sydney

Can you see the mountains?
Photo credit: Abigail

After our last bodega, we had to bike about 4 miles to return our bikes. Needless to say, my butt hurt for a couple days afterward. Sydney and I sang through the pain as we biked, and we were all back to our starting place before we knew it!

Nos vemos!

Ryan

Semana Santa

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect” -Paul Theroux
A couple friends and I went on an adventure during Semana Santa. We had a 6-day weekend but by skipping 2 days of class, I was able to turn it into a 10 day trip 馃檪 After my visit to Teatro Colon (previous post) the rest of the day was madness getting packed, all homework done, to class, to the train station, and finally to the bus terminal.
All I brought for TEN DAYS
I was extremely proud of myself for only
bringing what’s shown. Anyone who knows me knows I am not good at packing light. Unfortunately, just because bags are small doesn’t mean they aren’t heavy, ouch.
photo credit: Abigail
DAY 1: The bus terminal is one of the craziest things I have ever experienced in my life. Our bus was over an hour late, and we had to get through this mob to get to our bus. People pushing and shoving, no room to move, anger. Insanity.

DAY 2: After about 14 hours on the bus, we finally arrived in Mendoza. We took an overnight bus, so I pretty much slept the whole time. Bus seats are way more comfy and roomy than planes, so it wasn’t too bad. We checked into our hostel and even though we were completely exhausted, we freshened up, got some lunch, and headed over to Parque San Mart铆n.

Tired travelers (photo credit: Sydney)

Parque San Mart铆n is this giant park in Mendoza-around 970 acres. We hiked to the top of this huge hill called Cerro de la Gloria where there is a pretty cool view, as well as a monument. The monument was built in honor of the Army of the Andes which freed Chile from the Spanish Empire in 1817.

photo credit: Sydney

 

On our way back to our hostel, we walked through some of the plazas. There was a craft fair going on in one of them, another was overrun with teenage boys and had literally been turned into a skate park, and others were constructed in different styles (Spanish, Italian, etc.). That evening, we cooked breakfast for dinner and had fun meeting some of the people in our hostel.
More installments on their way.
Nos vemos!
Ryan

Off Again

So I know I promised to post about my trip, but I have not had enough time this week. I’m leaving tomorrow morning to go on an excursion with my program to Igu谩zu Falls, so I am going to be even more behind on blogging. Literally got back from Chile on Sunday, and leaving again Friday. Whose idea was that??? Oh wait, it was mine… What is school? Haha 馃檪 I promise to catch up eventually.

Love you all!
Ryan

Campo y Col贸n

On March 24th, we had another day excursion with ISA called D铆a del Campo. First, we took the bus to Luj谩n where there is this huge Basilica built in honor of the Virgin of Luj谩n, the patron saint of Argentina. Every year, more than six million people make pilgrimages to the Basilica. It was a Sunday morning when we went and Palm Sunday, so there were tons of people there.

I was walking around, minding my own business, taking pictures when I suddenly got a bucket of holy water to the face, haha.

Also, outside the courtyard was filled with booths and carts selling trinkets and such. I can honestly say that I have never seen so many Catholic related souvenirs before in my life.
Next, we went to a local estancia (ranch) called La Mimosa. We got to roam the grounds and look at all the animals, but we spent most of the day eating. Empanadas, bread, salad, chorizo, blood sausage, chicken, steak, ice cream, pastries, mate, coffee the works. SO YUMMY
Racks and racks of meat in the shack where they were cooking
We also got to enjoy some traditional music, dancing, and sports:

Reminded me of Medieval Times- had to get stick through ring while galloping on their horse. Little boy on pony = gaucho in training 馃檪

Another cool thing that I got to do for free with ISA was take a tour of the Teatro Col贸n (Columbus Theatre). Teatro Col贸n is the main opera house in Buenos Aires and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. We got to learn about the building and all the drama that went into constructing it. I think they ended up going through three architects before it was finished so the style is very聽eclectic,聽but many thought the theatre was haunted because the first two architects died at the same age.
Gold room

 

I’m very proud of this photo I took 馃檪

Well that’s it for now. My next posts will all about my crazy trip I took with some friends for Semana Santa.

Nos vemos!
Ryan

SO BEHIND

I didn’t post for a week and a half and then I went on vacation for a week and a half, so it’s been a while friends. Sorry!! I will have to catch up in installments so here are a couple things from March 17th-23rd:

My family got a dog! Her name is Chloe and she is 6, and apparently no one likes her but my mom which makes absolutely no sense to me. She sure is a cutie pie:

 

Skype date. Look at these weirdos 馃檪

On Sunday, Sydney and I tried out this church that a friend of hers attended when she was studying abroad. Everyone was super nice and inviting towards us, and they seem to have a pretty big youth population which is great. We even went out to lunch with some of them.

Wednesday was Sydney’s 21st birthday. Her aunt and uncle were in Buenos Aires on vacation/visiting for about three weeks, so to celebrate she invited a couple of friends over to their apartment they were renting for cake and ice cream. Yum 馃檪

Other than that, I spent most of my time catching up on assignments for school. I’m taking two literature classes which means I have A TON to read in addition to a normal work load. Also, I registered for the class I’m planning to take at Collin over the summer once I get back. SO excited for ASL II- I’m a nerd…

Highlights:
One of the highlights of my week was winning free ice cream! It was perfect actually. I had gone to the store because I wanted some ice cream, but it was super expensive so I didn’t buy any and I was sad. Later that day, we had a meeting/orientation thing for ISA where they did a raffle for a couple of prizes. If they drew you and you had a copy of your passport and your ISA emergency contact card (which you are supposed to have on you at all times) with you, you won. So I won a free liter of ice cream from Freddo 馃檪聽

MORE TO COME SOON!!

Nos vemos!
Ryan