Since we last spoke, I had a very special visitor here in Chile, my childhood best friend, Ally! Ally and I were inseparable while growing up. I basically lived at their house and became her parent's 4th daughter. We did everything together, including getting our blackbelts together.
It was so great to have an old familiar face come see my strange reality. She brought me all kinds of things I ordered online and she happily restocked my Dunkin' coffee.
The original plan was to go to Easter Island, but we were waiting for the ticket prices to drop a bit more before buying. Before that happened, all of the tickets were sold out, for the entire week. We were super bummed, but I decided to take this opportunity to give Ally a proper taste of Chile instead.
We enjoyed eating out a lot, and watching the incredible pacific sunsets. I took her to the usual Sky Costanera (which is becoming too touristy), El Cerro San Cristóbal, El Pueblito in Los Domincos etc. We also went to Valparaíso for the day, took a tour to Embalse el Yeso and stopped at the thermal baths and we toured to vineyards. It's safe to say we accomplished a lot in her short time here.
Embalse el Yeso:
This was the first time I'd been to this part of the Cajón del Maipo region. It's becoming very trendy now to visit, but since the purpose of the dam was never for tourism, it's a bit of a mess. It's a man-made dam that was built in the 70's if I'm not mistaken and is owned by Aguas Andinas, the main water brand here in Chile. The road is not built to handle the amount of tourists coming in each day.
The water is a gorgeous deep blue and the mountains looking over it had snow on top. In all of the my pictures you can get a taste of the magnificent beauty, but what you don't see are the hundreds of tourists on either side of me pushing and shoving. A place like that should be tranquil and serene but it's ruined by the large number of tourists taking selfies.
Afterwards, we went to the Termas Colina, also in the Cajón del Maipo region. I'd heard of these hot springs before but never had a chance to visit them. When my mom was visiting me, two years to the date (weird), there was a massive rainstorm that actually destroyed these hot springs. Thankfully, they were repaired.
I sound snooty saying this, but if you've been to other hot springs before, I'd suggest skipping the Termas Colinas. Once again, they were overrun by tourists. The water all cloudy and at some points I'd watch random hairs float by. It was like taking a bath with a bunch of strangers. The only cool thing was that there was mud at the bottom which is very good for your skin -although it smelled of sulfur.
Attilio & Mochi Vineyard:
This was the 3rd vineyard tour I'd been on, and hands down, my favorite. Atillio & Mochi is a tiny vineyard in the Maipo valley of Chile. The owners are a Brazilian couple. They decided a few years back that they wanted to quit their jobs, move to Chile and start their own vineyard. It was also helpful because they are both food scientists. Together, with just 1 more worker, they have created an amazing little vineyard and have won awards for the best wine in Chile. Their wine is so good that this season is actually sold-out.
You have to book a tour with them in advance as they're not open to the public. The lady who owns it could not have been more nice. Together, with her quirky dog, she showed us her vineyards and how they prepare the wine. I'm not a wino by any means, but I do appreciate learning about it, especially in Chile. After her tour, we sat down to try some of their wines. The woman was so sweet and prepared us homemade bread to have with delicious olives, oil and goat's milk cheese. We could have easily sat their chatting with her all afternoon. I highly recommend touring this vineyard!
This vineyard could not have been more different than the above one. Matetic is a gigantic wine company here in Chile. They own hectares and hectare of land. They create wine on a much larger scale than Attilio & Mochi. Something I like about almost all of the wines I've learned about in Chile is that all of the vineyards are completely eco-friendly. They don't use chemicals or pesticides.
It was really interesting to learn about the aging process of the wine at such a well-known and famous vineyard. I wanted to tour this one because my co-worker's family owns this vineyard. They basically have their own wine empire!
We took the vineyard tours with Chile Off Track -I've done several tours with them and they're wonderful!
It was so great having Ally visit. León was so in love with her and thoroughly took advantage of having extra hands in the house to pet him. The feeling was definitely mutual as Ally told me she cried saying goodbye to him.
When we arrived to the Embalse el Yeso, a beautiful dam, Ally asked me "Now, which mountain is the Yeso mountain?" I told her the Yeso is the water...
On our tour, we had a delicious picinic. There were several Brazilians on the tour that were fascinated by the cream cheese that was served. Apparently they'd never had cream cheese before. I feel sorry for them...
One night at dinner, Ally and I ordered a lot of food (apps, drinks, etc.). When the bill came around it was very cheap and was clearly not ours. We told the waitress who investigated and then returned to tell us that they had accidentally given another table our much more expensive bill (they had already left). So we only had to pay their much cheaper bill. Score!
^^ Pigeons always have the best seats