The great thing about Chile is that you can have breakfast in the mountains, then head for the coast and have lunch on the beachfront. Such is the benefit of being the spindly country that it is. It averages on 175km wide…. the length on the other hand is the opposite extreme- 4300km!!! The last time I managed to get out of the city was an embarrassingly long time ago; over three months. Finally a long weekend came up which posed a perfect opportunity to do something. A mere 35km outside of Santiago lies one of a few small (and rustic) ski resorts in the Andes. It’s crazy to think that with only such a small distance between you and the big city you are able to feel rejuvenated by the fresh air, calm surroundings and stunning views.
While it may only be 35km away, the trip takes at least an hour as you drive carefully up the ever winding and narrow road. I wondered just how many times we turned a corner and as it turns out, each bend is numbered with a sign and reaches about 40! (So I am told, I somehow failed to see these signs, sorry for any inaccuracies). In the busy winter months this road, between 8am and 12pm (again, there abouts), becomes a one way and only allows traffic up. This makes sense because with 10 000 cars travelling that very road each weekend in the peak season there would otherwise be a hell of a lot more accidents. The owner of the hostel we stayed at told me that every season about 2 people die on this road. 2 people!? I was ashamed to admit how the death toll rises on South African roads every holiday or long weekend. The 10 year old me would not have coped with this journey, she would have beeen throwing up around bend 10.
I can’t say much for the 48 hours we spent up there since we did a very small variety of things. Take pictures of the view, drink Pisco, play table tennis, try understand drunk Spaniards who want to talk but refused to do it in English, soak up the sun on the deck and last but most definitely not least, barbecue. I am very pleased that in Chile, the ‘Asado’ (braai/barbecue) is just as, if not more popular and socially important than in South Africa. Although the fact that both countries enjoy burning meat on hot coals, there is a slight difference in the way the event is carried out here. Firstly, there are no plates, knives or forks. You do not eat one meal that is finished in 10 minutes. No, this event goes on for the entire evening. Just as one piece of meat is ready to eat, it is cut up into bite sized pieces and offered around. I can only compare it to a finger food type of meal, except the overall experience is 100 times better. I think this may also be what allows people to party for so long. Slow and steady wins the race and with the constant eating and busying yourself around the fire, there is no time to concentrate solely on the drinking. Just how I like it!
Here is a little clip I put together so you can get a taste of what I’m talking about. The song is by a famous Spanish (from Spain) ska band who are popular all over Europe and Latin America. Enjoy