Hello fellow aventureros,

After splitting off from Camila’s family, we headed towards Valdivia to start our own adventures.  However, since we were traveling and arriving in Valdivia on New Year’s Day everything was shut down and dead in the city.  Normally, Valdivia is a lively town with a health student population and offers great markets and city life down by the river front.  Also, the night life was said to be something to come for as well since they have lots of bars and clubs that are geared towards young people.  The second day was a Sunday and offered up little to do either inside of the actual city limits.  Instead, Camila and I headed outside of the city to go to a “Fería Costumbrista” which is a traditional kind of festival in a town called Niebla.  It was great fun since both Cami and I were clearly in a different world than the modern Chile that we both know so well in Santiago.  We were the tallest and whitest people in the festival and we enjoyed lunch and beer there.  I also took a photo with two people that were cooking empanadas; Cami and I were joking that I could tell people that they were her parents.  It’s easy to tell where Cami got her good looks.

The next day we went to the university gardens that were in Valdivia just across the river which was a great time.  After spending Monday morning in Valdivia we decided to come back to Santiago direct; we were considering going to Pichilemu but since I still had a wicked ingrown toenail we thought it better not to test it.  Late that night when we finally arrived in Santiago after 10 hours of driving, we decided to stop by my former abroad house, “La Casona” to see who was home.  There was a British guy staying in my room and he was the only one still up, so we made plans to meet up later.  A few days later on Wednesday we came back since he had said that the house would be full of people ‘pasándolo bien’ although when we arrived with a liter of beer in hand there was basically no one around except for a friendly Chileno and an amiable Frenchwoman.  We talked for a bit and did a tour of the old house to find that basically everything was the same as I had left it a year and a half ago, which was nice.

The next day started our time alone as a ‘real couple’ in Santiago with a house, a car, Jacuzzi and bedroom all to ourselves.  We had about 10 days in Santiago to enjoy time with Cami’s friends as well as enjoy time recorriendo la ciudad y viendo los sitios. I won’t explain day by day everything that we did, but some of the highlights were going to Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Santa Lucia, touring the Católica Law School and Casa Central, seeing the new Gabriela Mistral cultural building, going on a vineyard tour and making our own wine blends at an all-organic, carbon-neutral winery an hour outside of the city, visiting Camila’s cousin up in the hills of Santiago and swimming at their pool with quite a view of the city below, eating pizza at Tiramisu (rated #4 in all the restaurants in Santiago on TripAdvisor), eating late night Chinese food, hanging out at the pool at Camila’s house, meeting with engineers from three different companies, meeting with two engineering professors and going to La Piojera.

Hope you enjoy all the photos,

I’ll be writing up the next bit about our trip north next!

Un abrazo a todos,

Ian

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