Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Spending a week with my family in El Monte!

On the day marking our 8 months of travel, my family arrived at the Santiago international airport...They had been planning this for a while, and I was very excited to see them.  They found a place for a week in El Monte, just outside of Santiago in the wine country, and we were gearing up for the visit.

We took a bus from near the terminal 'Los Heroes,' in Santiago, headed for the airport.  Having not had a lot of sleep the prior night, we were a little out of it to say the least...We boarded the bus, and the driver pointed to a crate behind his seat for our bags.  There was hardly anyone on the bus, and I decided to also put my guitar in the storage space.  All of a sudden a ton of people boarded, and began putting things on top of my guitar bag.  Stupid of me, but I was watching carefully, and figured it would be fine.  Turns out, something chipped the nut on the headstock of my guitar, and the high E string is unplayable...The search for a new nut continues, and my previous paranoia of keeping my guitar with me will continue...

Anyways, we made it to the airport at about 10 am, and found the international arrivals terminal, which was much smaller than I expected from a big city like Santiago.  We waited in a crowd of rowdy taxi cabbies trying to get business, and finally, after being asked if we needed a cab for over an hour, I spotted my brother Michael walking out of the terminal exit!

We were both very excited to see everyone, obviously, and I was happy to finally meet Thom, my mother's boyfriend, who I had heard so much about, as well as Meg, my sister's girlfriend.  We waited while Thom and my mom went to retrieve the rental van, and we headed off into the Chilean highway system to find our home for the next week.

After only a couple wrong turns, we pulled into beautiful little El Monte, and into the driveway of the house.  None of us expected what we would find there, as it was an enormous property, with a pool, and gorgeous gardens and trees, home to 5 big dogs, and two caretakers...


Roast beef dinner I made...
A massive kitchen, and an awesome outdoor barbeque area with wood burning pizza oven, would be the site of our meals for most of the next week.  Danica and I did most of the cooking, as we missed our awesome kitchen in Manglaralto, Ecuador...

We spent a lot of time hanging out by the pool, and roaming the property, which had a creek flowing through it, and pond, and some massive trees.  We spent an afternoon visiting the  neighboring town of Pomaire, which is the pottery capital of Chile, and a nice small village to wander through.

Later in the week, we ventured out to the coast, and spent the day visiting Viña Del Mar, and Valparaiso, which were both very beautiful in their own sense.  We took the long way back, down the coast a ways, and got some incredible views of the ocean cliffs, very reminiscent of California...

Valparaiso Marina


 

 

We found a microbrewery down the road from El Monte, called "Szot," run by an American guy and his Chilean wife and son.  They had a great selection of beers, and we really enjoyed their Barley Wine and Double IPA, amongst others.  As mentioned in previous posts, we love finding good beer, as it is often hard to come by!  The owners were super friendly, and we visited them twice on our trip.

















My brother Michael in part of Szot's beer commercial...awesome

More delicious dinners were eaten, including one my mom made, stuffed chickens baked with stuffing and roasted veggies.  Grilled Salmon, and beef tacos.  We had an awesome time seeing and hanging out with everyone, and didn't want them to leave!  What a perfect place for it as well, the property was amazing!  Thanks guys!



Hanging out in Vina del Mar
We all boarded the van at the end of our week there, and headed to the airport to see them off.  That night wse boarded a bus 'Andesmar' and headed for Mendoza, Argentina...The end of a beautiful time in Chile for now, perhaps we'll cross over again, down the road...