Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chile trip: Santa Cruz, the coast, and back to Santiago

We've had a lot of adventures since I last posted! Internet has been sketchy, so I haven't been able to get my photos uploaded until we got back to Santiago last night. And I have a LOT of photos!

I last posted Thursday night, when we were starting our tour of the wine region, starting in Santa Cruz. This is the heart of the red wine region of Chile, and on Friday, Doug and I spent the day going wine tasting while Carter and Michelle stayed at the hotel in the middle of the vineyard and played outside.

This is Altaid Winery:



We also went to a place where they make olive oil and did a tasting. That was fairly mind-blowing! I learned a lot about olive oil, and I'm going to be a lot more picky about what I buy from now on.


We to Neyen Winery, which has some of the oldest vines in Chile:


We visited Hacienda Araucanas, which is set in a hillside about a half hour drive from Santa Cruz. This is one of many biodynamic wineries in Chile, which don't use pesticides or chemicals to control weeds and bugs. Instead they use chickens and sheep. It's amazing to stand in the vineyard and listen to the wind blow and the sheep call each other on the mountain.


We spent most of the day away from Carter, so it was a long day for everyone. The next morning (Saturday) we checked out of the hotel in Santa Cruz and made our way over to the coast of Chile, where many of the fantastic white wine regions are located. This was our first time in that area, so we were really excited to see it!

Along the way we stopped at a dairy farm where Carter got to see some interesting pheasants, chickens, cows, and even ostriches.



Here is a cute video of him meeting the baby cow. He wasn't too sure about the cow!

He had no fear of these ostriches, though. It was all we could do to keep him from climbing under the fence!


We then headed to the coast, where we had a wonderful seafood lunch at a restaurant on the beach. The coast in this part of the country is very rocky, and it's gorgeous!




I couldn't fit in all the photos, so here is a slide show of all the photos from these two days:

After lunch, we headed to our new hotel, the guest house of the Matetic Winery. The family who owns the winery has the entire valley, about 90,000 hectares, and the guest house is very private, surrounded by beautiful grounds. On Sunday morning, Doug and I went to visit Matetic's winery and Casa Marin, while Carter and Michelle explored the grounds and played.









That afternoon, we headed to another beautiful beach for lunch and some playtime.





Here is a cute video of Carter playing on the beach.

We had the guest house all to ourselves, and had breakfast and dinner in this lovely dining room, where the staff basically cooked us whatever we wanted!


Carter has eaten his weight in seafood on this trip! He loves shrimp and grilled fish of just about any sort. He also discovered that he likes flan.


He even tried his hand at pool.


It was a gorgeous place to stay. There was even a John Deere for Carter to ride on!


On Monday we checked out and visited a few more wineries on our way back to Santiago. We went to Loma Larga, where we had a tour and tasting with the winemaker, and then to Casas del Bosque, which had a playground for Carter to play on while we tasted wine.



We had a lot of fun riding around the countryside in our van. Carter loved going on "taxi rides", and when we said it was time to go he'd climb in his seat and get really excited. This kid loves to travel! He loves seeing new things, and he loves being on the go.



He took quite a few naps in this vehicle.


There were far too many pictures of this part of the trip to post here, so I've got another slide show for those of you who want to see more.

It was finally time to say goodbye to our wonderful guide Annette and our driver Alexi. They were so sweet to Carter and played with him a lot. He really attached himself to Annette in particular.


We're now back in Santiago for two nights, and we're spending the day relaxing. Michelle has a much needed day off, and I'm planning to go souvenir shopping in a bit. Tomorrow morning we fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina to begin the next part of our adventure!

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