Tag Archives: Chile

The most beautiful sight I’ve seen

All of the sights I have seen over my travels have been beautiful in their own way and one just as magical as the other. But to me, there is one place that stands out as the most beautiful.

Most people would expect me to say Prague – it feels like my second home and will always have a special place in my mind and heart – and while it is truly magical – it’s my second choice for most beautiful.

The most beautiful place I have ever seen was the sight I saw on September 17 2017. It was my last full day in San Pedro de Atacama, and it was at the end of my tour of Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley).

It was an afternoon excursion and it was the most grueling tour, emotionally and physically, I had ever endured, one that I have previously blogged about. After the harrowing experience through the hike in the desert, one that left me speechless, and scared to death, and made me realize how lucky and fortunate I was to have the life I had up to that point, we loaded up on the bus to head to the end of the valley to watch the sunset.

As we drove down the desert road, everyone was quiet and the music was playing on the sound system. Two songs came on that made me think back to what had happened out there in the desert – the first song was “On a horse with no name” (at least that’s the title I call it!), and the other was “Dust in the Wind”. It was the first time I actually listened to the words of either of the songs, and as I looked out the window and listened, I shed a few tears of thanks to the heavens above.

We got out of the van at the Valley end, and as we all walked along together, slowly we all separated and went our own way for a short time. The others were all in groups or pairs, and I walked away on my own, going to the edge, ready to capture the sunset on my camera, when thankfully my battery died.

Rather than being upset that I could not capture the picture I had wanted, I sat down, and simply watched. The beauty that I saw, the golden sun setting below the desert hills, a gentle breeze cooling me off, and the skies turning every colour you could imagine, this was truly the most beautiful and peaceful place I have ever encountered or seen. Despite not having an actual picture to look at, I can still see that in my mind, and it still takes my breath away.

My best meal!

I love food. I love trying new food. I’ve eaten in so many different places, in different countries, all kinds of cuisine from Thai to Chinese to Peruvian – there are so many great meals I’ve had – but one stands out from all the rest.

When I was traveling through Chile, I went to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar for a week. I was staying in a lovely hostel up one of the hills in Valparaiso. It was close to the metro train which I would take to go to the beaches and different areas. But I also would buy food to make in the kitchen of the hostel to save money.

The owners of the hostel – a lovely man and his wife – told me about the daily menus in Chile. Most local restaurants would have a daily menu – a set menu usually served after 2pm which would include an appetizer, an entree, a dessert and a coffee or cold beverage, all at a very inexpensive price. I was intrigued and asked them if there were any close by. There just happened to be one about a 5 minute walk down the hill from the hostel. They highly recommended it to me, so one of my last days in Valparaiso, I decided to go and try it out.

I walked in and right away there was someone there to sit me at a table. It was not busy and I was able to take my time looking around and checking out the menu on the wall. Of course, the daily menu was on a placard at the door outside so I already knew what it was. I decided I was going to try the daily menu, and let the waiter know.

This restaurant was so quaint, and they prepared the food behind the bar so you could smell the aromas throughout the restaurant and watch them cook. The meal was pork chops with mashed potatoes and peas. There was a soup to start. The soup was delicious – one thing about Chile is their cazuela – it was more like a stew than a soup. They were all so hearty and delicious wherever I had it. So I finished the soup and bread, and then came the main course. The pork chops melted in my mouth and the mashed potatoes were silken and smooth and buttery – even now when I say this my mouth waters. For dessert, it was a crepe with strawberries and chocolate drizzle – a perfect end to the most delicious meal. I also discovered during this meal a Peru soda – Bilz – which I became quite addicted to while I was traveling through Chile.

This is definitely the best meal I’ve ever had, one that conjures up memories of Chile and still makes my mouth water.

Memories of my travelling days

I know one day I will be able to get back out into this world and travel. But tonight, it has been a night of looking back at where I’ve gone, what I’ve done and what I miss the most. As a single mom, I was able to take my kids, each alone, on some pretty awesome trips. And of course, my travels on my own. I wanted to share some of my favourite memories from over the years.

My daughter and I had a special memory of going to New York City in 2008. It was one of the first places on my bucket list and was so excited to go!
My son and I did a road trip down to Nashville and some of the southern States in 2009. I love Nashville!
I moved to Calgary in 2011 and one of the highlights in my 3 years there was to go snowshoeing in Banff. Truly amazing views!
Calgary
My daughter and I headed to Italy in April of 2014, this is Florence.
In 2014, I made a huge move and headed to Prague to get my certificate to teach English. My absolute favourite city in the entire world!! (so far anyway….)
Zizkov, the area that I lived in Prague
After 2 years in Prague, I headed to Changchun China to teach English for a year. While I was not particularly fond of China, these kids took my heart.
The Ice and Snow Festival (biggest in the world) in Harbin, China
Shenyang, China
Before I headed back to Canada from China, I made a 7 week stop in Chile, starting in Santiago
From Santiago, I headed to the ocean, to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar
I headed north to La Serena, and then to Antofagasta
I could not visit Chile without heading to the Atacama desert. Pukara de Quitor, just outside of San Pedro
I ended my 7 week adventure in Arica, Chile, on the southern border of Peru. What a perfect place to end my trip to Chile!
In January 2019, after a year and a half of working, I decided I needed a three week vacation and headed to Spain, Morocco and Portugal on a Trafalgar bus tour. Amazing Seville!
Castle in Spain
My travelling buddy Trip came with me to visit the sites in Spain
Costa del Sol
The last trip I went on was to Canada’s Capital city – Ottawa.

I do miss travelling but I know that, soon, I will be heading out for another adventure. I am hoping to get to Turkey and Greece for a few weeks in the next year. These boots have gone through China and Chile – they will be coming with me wherever I head to next!

Seeing this picture, the song “a Horse with No Name” runs through my head – that was the song that they played on our way back to San Pedro after our tour of Valle de la Luna.

​Discovering Chile ~ and myself

When I decided to travel through Chile, I did the basic research of the country, read information about each city I would see and looked at pictures.  I made myself a list of must~sees, but really I just wanted to discover what Chile was about. The people, the food, the way of life. What I didn’t expect was to discover so much about me.

Chile is a very long and narrow country.  The country has such a diverse nature to it.  From the glaciers in the south to the desert in the north, and the Andes creating a border with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru ~ there are so many unique qualities to this country it is staggering.  The natural beauty of this country is overwhelming. It has taken my breath away on more than one occasion.
There is also a great variety of food to be found. From Peruvian to sushi, from pizza to Chinese, you can find almost any kind of food here.  And the pastries!!  Its a good thing I walk at least three hours a day here!  I have yet to try Chilean wine or Pisco Sour but I will.
The people here struggle with English but are still anxious to help. They want to teach me Spanish and I have been trying ~ it is getting better.  I have met incredibly lovely people on my travels, and all ask where I am from, why am I in their city, have I tried Empanadas or the pescado, have I enjoyed a Pisco sour and, my favourite question ~ where is my husband? The older ladies seem genuinely concerned that I have no husband and am traveling solo! Their reaction amuses me.
The lifestyle here is similar to Europe ~ relaxed, easy going and very family oriented.  Siesta time is fascinating ~ stores close, families gather at a park, and they play, eat and rest. Such a difference from China where the children are so busy all the time that they are tired and not relaxed at all.
The thing that has struck me most is what I have discovered about myself.  I no longer care about materialistic things, I have all that I need.  I have discovered how strong I am, both physically and mentally. I have also discovered my limitations (Macchu Picchu is off my list).  But most of all, I have discovered that, regardless of what others think about me, I am very proud of what I have accomplished and how far I have come.
They say travel changes you. I don’t think it’s changed me. I think it has awakened me in how I view the world.  I have a different attitude now. I am more accepting. And I have said this many times but it bears repeating ~ I am so grateful for this amazing journey I am on.  I am grateful for the opportunities that have been give. And I know its not over ~ I have many years left.
So I am just going to keep on trekking and exploring!

South American Dreams


One month TODAY, I will be landing in Santiago, Chile!!  I have enjoyed, for the most part, my time in China but I am SO excited to be heading to the southern hemisphere and a brand new continent!

 

My South American journey has many places to see, and things to do.   I cannot wait to get started on this next chapter of my life!!  Here are just a few things I want to see and do!

 

1.       The Atacama desert – I have been doing research about the desert, and this is something I cannot miss while in Chile!!   San Pedro de Atacama looks so charming, and there are reasonably priced tours to go and observe the stars, and be mesmerized by the sky.  I cannot wait to be there!!

2.       Eat empanadas from a street vendor in Santiago – there are many street markets in Santiago, and I want to see everything, and inhale all the delicious smells of Chile, and enjoy a freshly made empanada.  
 

3.       Enjoy Chilean wine – I am not a big wine drinker but I do know that Chile has some of the best wine in the world, and I am going to try it while I am there.  

4.       Valparaiso and Vina del Mar – these ocean cities are a bus ride away from Santiago.  I want to be by the ocean, enjoy fresh seafood, and take a walk on the beach.

5.       Ride a bike through the countryside of Chile, near the Andes.  

 

There are so many things I want to do and to see in my life.  These are just a few that I know I can accomplish this year.   Any suggestions of other things I shouldn’t miss?