Santiago, Chile to Coyhaique, Chile Saturday January 7, 2017

Good morning from Santiago Chile!

Breakfast was from the buffet at the Club Lounge in the Ritz Carlton.

There was the display of fresh fruit.

Juices. The raspberry juice was very sweet, it tasted just like-you guessed it! Raspberries! I am sure it would taste great in a fruity martini!

Cold meats and cheeses.

Fresh honey and the honey comb!

After breakfast, JP and Maximo picked us up to take us to the airport and make sure that we were on the right flight to Balmaceda where we would be picked up and brought to Coyhaique River Ranch.

Santiago is in a valley and gets quite smoggy. You can barely see the mountains in the background. My throat was getting quite scratchy, I thought I was getting a cold, but it was the smog!

Lots of agriculture in the Santiago area. The Spanish were looking for gold here. Hardly any was found, but the climate was great for growing fruits and vegetables.

Agriculture went up as far up the mountains as could be done.

A snow covered volcano.

My snack. Chocolate chip muffin, raisins, and a Coke, straight up.

Steve picked the cheese muffin. Very dry.

Flying over the Lake District. We will visit here next week!

Ohh! A bon-non! How exciting. I have always wanted to sit on a couch and eat these!

No flavor. Airy with crunch inside and smooth milk chocolate. Will think about passing next time I am offered one.

The Andes! Let’s hope we get some better pictures than this on our trip!

A view from the window of the plane as we near Balmaceda. It has been raining, and the streams appear to be very muddy. This may put a damper on Steve’s fishing plans.

We landed at Balmaceda and picked up our luggage. We weren’t sure who was going to meet us. Finally I noticed a gentleman wearing a Coyhaique River Lodge shirt. This was Gaston, one of the owners. Two other guys joined us. They were boyhood friends, who decided to meet up and fish together for the week. They were going to meet their wives in Santiago at the end of the week. One guy was from Alaska, and it took him a really long time to get to Balmaceda.

The water was very muddy, Steve would not be able to fish this river, the Rio Simpson, which is supposed to be the best river in the region.

The farmers set the woods on fire to clear the land for cattle grazing.

The view of our valley in the late afternoon. Off the deck is a wood fired hot tub!

Here is Julio offering us a bacon wrapped date. Delicious! In the background is K, a non fishing spouse. I am to hike with her. She is into hiking and mountain biking. I am into reading romance novels while on the recumbent bike at the gym. I have asthma, she doesn’t. She will enjoy the hiking. I will last as long as I can!

Deep fried salmon and dipping sauces was another canapé.

This was a Chilean soup. It was very spicy. There were chunks of tender carrots and tough beef.

Squash with cheese, pork that looked like ham and delicious apple sauce. Steve doesn’t eat apple sauce, so I got to eat two applesauces!

Dessert was gorgeous but oh so sweet. Dulce de leche sauce, a fried dough spiral, and vanilla ice cream with crunchies on top. I did not finish this!

The view from the windows in the great room. The rainbows didn’t photograph well. It will stay light here until about 9 p.m. One of the wonderful parts about visiting the southern hemisphere during our winter.

Do you drink your tea with honey?

Do you honestly believe there is gold in a pot at the end of a rainbow?

Where do you eat your bon bons?

Off to South America! Thursday January 5-Friday January 6, 2017

Our bags are packed again, and we are off on a three week trip to South America. Yes, this is 2019 and the date on the posting is 2017. I haven’t blogged this post before, so if you don’t like reading about my old trips, well, too bad. Just delete the e-mails and come back in three weeks to see if I have posted something more current! We were flying from New York to Santiago on Latam Airlines. Here are our not warm nuts and sparkling wine. Our aircraft is a Dreamliner, that has lights that change colors. Everyone was full of smiles on the flight. There were many children on the flight. It is very strange to be on an airplane where the native language is not English. We are off to South America, so we are going to have to get used to it.

The lie-flat seats were great, but very hard. There was nice leg room on the flight. The room color has changed to blue already!

Dinner was some kind of beef. We ate it quickly so we could go to sleep. Eyes shut at 9:30.

Good morning! It’s time for breakfast on the plane. It is 3:30 a.m. NY time, but as we land at 6, we need to get breakfast over with. We are 2 hours ahead of Eastern Time.

Daybreak from the plane!

We landed safely and went through immigration without any problems. We got a little nervous as our guide was not at the pickup area right away, but he showed up soon after and we were on our way.

Maximo, our driver drove us to what he called Sanhattan (Santiago/Manhattan), and to our hotel.

Who doesn’t like staying at a Ritz-Carlton?

Today we would be going on a tour of Santiago. We will be brought to the airport tomorrow morning for our flight further south where we will stay at Coyhaique River Lodge for a week.

This is one of the neighborhoods we drove through. There was lots of street art on the buildings.

First stop was the fish market.

Many stalls of fresh fish.

These clams were still talking to each other!

These scallops look like pastries!

Sheets of giant squid!

Black on one side, white on the other.

Fresh fish is the specialty in the restaurant at the market.

We walked through a beautiful open air market.

Orange juice freshly squeeze before our eyes!

A chapel in the cathedral in Santiago. Pope John Paul II prayed here for peace.

Outside one of the government buildings a group of Mapuche, one of the indigenous peoples , were protesting.

The women wore no tops, they looked like they were daubed in mud.

The man wore an outfit that represented an animal.

This was a building built around another building. There were a number of pop up craft sellers here.

Our guide Juan Pablo (JP) explained how bridges and buildings were made with clay, eggs, and water.

I spied this drink stand with an interesting concoction. It was made with fresh peaches, some type of grain and tea.

The cart and seller making our treat.

It was sweet but tasty! I was nervous that I might get indigestion, but JP told me it was safe to drink!

We took a drive to one of the highest peaks in Santiago, hoping for a great view. Unfortunately it was very smoggy.

Best times for views was in August when it rains.

We drove to a local park for a walk. Here was a young girl feeding the flamingos.

There was an artificial pond with carp. They were humongous! Many people were feeding the carp and flamingo pellets of food from the machines.

This is a view of the Parque Bicentario and the ritzy section of Santiago.

We went back to the hotel and rested before dinner.

We started to walk around outside the hotel looking for a restaurant. It was nice to see flowers in bloom!

After not finding anything exciting we decided to have dinner at the Ritz Carlton instead of wandering around further. Pre dinner snacks and champagne!

Steve is either asleep or in a love fog. It is seven pm and the restaurant is empty. We were warned that most people don’t eat until eight pm. They did have a dining room area outside, but it was too warm for us. There was also what appeared to be a meet and great for a very large travel group. Too noisy and hot for us!

Rolls with melted grated cheese on top and filled with sautéed onions! YUM!

Amuse bouche. Salmon carpaccio.

Steve had the winning dish. Chilean sea bass with beans and corn.

I had the duck. I didn’t like the swirly sauces. Steve’s fish had clams in the broth. As Steve doesn’t like clams, we asked for them on the side and I got to eat them.

Dessert was pound cake and mint tea from the club level lounge. No pictures, but it still happened!

Do you eat street food?

Does it make you sick, but you still eat it anyway?

Are you going to continue to read the blog, even though this is not a current trip?