Our arrival in Chile didn’t start off exactly as planned. The flight was amazing because we had a clear view of the Andes as we descended into Santiago but we were left with much to be desired when we saw our rental car. Sami is responsible for renting our cars and he’s still paying the price for this booking! Not only does it have bicycle wheels for tires, it has no air conditioning! It drives like a tin can and feels like you are pushing 200 km/h when you go above 80 km/h. The one positive thing is that Sami looks enormous in it and it really makes me smile. Also Nu seems to really enjoy it because he thinks it’s just another one of his toy cars. Despite it’s miniature size, it got us to our first destination in Chile – Algarrobo – in one piece.
I’ve been saying to Sami all along this trip that we are in need of a technology detox, and this isn’t exactly that but it’s pretty close! We are nestled in a pine forest in a tiny wood cabin with only an hour of Internet a day – and it feels amazing. The air is clear, the hammocks swing well and stars shine bright. I’m loving our Chilean retreat.
An Amazing Airbnb Experience
We are in a small town called Algorrobo, which sits along the beautiful Chilean coastline about an hour and a half from Santiago. Our Airbnb is unbelievable. It’s small, that’s for sure, but really adorable and has everything to make our stay really comfortable. There is a pool, a playground, a sand box with toys, a massive garden filled with fruit trees (which we can pick!) and a big wood fired oven and BBQ. We spend our mornings drinking coffee and trying to stay warm while we watch Nu perfect his climbing skills on the playground and our afternoons soaking in the hot sun.
Following the Poet’s Route to Isla Negra
On our first day we went to visit the home of Pablo Neruda, one of the most famous poets of all time. This had been a dream of Sami’s and having not read his poetry I wasn’t quite as excited but I have to say this place was truly remarkable. He spent years customizing each part of the home and every aspect shows his eccentricities. It’s shaped like a boat and filled with ship heads and sailing trinkets. This place is a museum but it really looks as though he’s just stepped out for minute. Everything from glassware to his childhood toys remain in place.
Soaking in some sun at Playa Canelo
Despite being near freezing in the night, the sun in Algarrobo is strong and the afternoons are hot! To cool off we visited the Canelo National Park and Playa Canelo. It’s a massive beach surrounded by touring pines and huge crashing waves. It’s not exactly a beach for toddlers but Nu seemed to think the 5 meter waves were hilarious. After having our toes in the freezing ocean water for several hours we were all ready for a snack and indulged in some fresh churros – something which Nu would love to make a daily routine.
We’ve been eating well in general here, taking advantage of the big BBQ, the fresh fish and the many butchers nearby. One of favourite foods has been the ceviche which literally tastes like the ocean.
Wine tasting in Casablanca
Of course with good food there must also be good wine. While we have to be honest that nothing can beat the Argentinian Malbecs from Mendoza, we visited an amazing vineyard and were shocked by how good a cab sauv from Chile can be. I guess we are used to Chilean wines being the super cheap option at the LCBO and SAQ. The vineyard was called Casa del Bosque and it was beautiful.
Dipping our toes in the freezing ocean water
After a recommendation from our Airbnb host, we made the steep and sinuous drive in our shitty little car to the town of Quintay to visit Playa Grande. It is exactly as described – a very large beach! But it also has a breathtaking view of the cliff-like coastline with crashing waves. The water was the coldest I’ve ever stepped in and was too much of a wuss to swim but Nu went right in with no complaints. Of course he needed a chocolate cookie to warm up afterwards…
Today we are heading back to the urban life to the beautifully colourful city of Valparaiso and we will share more soon!