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Gap Year Abroad

7 posts from January 2011


Chiloe and Puerto Varas

After school and my volunteer job teaching english at the local elementary school finished up, three friends and i decided to see more of Chile. After weeks of discussing all the potential locations, planning bus tickets and hostals, and making lists of things to see, Caitlin, Gina, Margo, and I got on a bus to Chiloe.
The bus system in Chile is awesome because you can get anywhere in the country for little money and relatively quickly. The bus to Chiloe was an over night bus and about 15 hours long. We were very excited when we finally got there. After wandering around a bit we found our hostal, showered, and set off exploring the town of Castro. We found a craft market selling blankets, baskets, dried seaweed, local liquor, and jewelry.
We spent the rest of the afternoon looking around Castro and taking pictures of the unique houses on stilts. That night we found a cafe on the water and we tried eel. We went to bed pretty early that night because we were tired from our long bus ride the night before.
The next day we took a bus into the National Park, and spent the entire day hikeing around. We hiked on a deserted beached that must have streched 10 miles. There was so much to see in the park, that we wished we could have spent a couple of days backpacking through it. In our one day there we hiked on the beach, the dunes, by a lake, and a little bit in the forest. Everything was absolutely stunning. That night we came back to our hostal tired, hungry, and slightly sun and wind burned. We decided to make spagetti and veggies in the hostal, and we all agreed that it was the best food we had eaten in a while.... probably just because we had spent the entire day hikeing but still.
The next day we headed over to a nearby town to look at a historic church and sample some curanto en hoyo (a typical chiloean stew with seafood of all types, potatoes, meat, and a corn cake thing). After that we caught another bus to Puerto Varas which is a town on a lake with alot of German influence. Arriving in Puerto Varas was so wierd because it literally felt as though we had left South America and flown to Europe. The only thing reminding us that we were still in Chile was the fact that the people around us were speaking in Spanish.
That night we checked into our hostal and then wandered around the town, still in a state of bewilderment at how different this place was then the rest of Chile. The next day we had breakfast at a German cafe, and then walked around the historic part of town. We saw all of the old houses and the church in the center of the town. Besides trekking all over the town, we also rented kyaks and got out on the water. I have never seen water that clear and blue in my life. After that we got some german pastries which the town is known for, and then got back on our bus to Vina del Mar.
Going to Chiloe and Puerto Varas with three of my best friends was an amazing end to my stay in Chile. When we returned back to Vina I only had four days until my flight back home and those days went way to fast. I had to say bye to some of the most amazing people that i have ever met. After a while I learned how to say hasta luego instead of adios because i will most definitly be returning to Chile sometime hopefully soon.
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A Tale of Three Thanksgivings

I lucked out this year. I got to celebrate Thanksgiving three times. The first time was with the professors and other exchange students from the Universidad Vina del Mar. Every exchange student was supposed to bring in a popular dish from their native country. I brought in cornbread, and some other American students brought in mini burgers, baked beans, and cheesecake. A student from France brought in different cheeses, and a Australian student brought Pavlova which was delicious!
Directly after leaving the "Thanksgiving" feast at the University i met up with some friends and my host mom drove us to CIEE's Thanksgiving dinner. All of the CIEE students were there and we consumed turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and of course pumpkin pie in mass quantaties. It was a delicious meal, but a bittersweet night because we had to start to say our goodbyes to one another.
Two days later my host family decided to celebrate Thanksgiving again, and so we drove to my Uncle's house in the countryside near Santiago. I made pumpkin pie for everyone to try, and it was an instant hit. We ate the pumpkin pie right at the begining and then start making empanadas. I think now I am an expert at making empanadas! After eating a huge lunch of pie and empanadas we walked around and picked cherries nearby. We drove back to Vina that night full of delicious food and ready to spend the next day at the beach.
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Color Cafe

This is my favorite cafe in Valparaiso. It serves the best manjar pancakes that i have found anywhere!

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Valparaiso is the city of color and art. The houses are brightly colored, and the graffiti on cerro alegre is intricate and beautiful.

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My brother Christian is the Asado master! Here he is grilling beef, chicken, and chorizo for our weekend Asado.


La Cueca

This couple competes every year in the national Cueca competition. La Cueca is the Chilean national dance, and it simulates a rooster and a hen. Different regions of Chile have different versions of La Cueca.

Chile, end of month 1 173
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Photo Edition

Hola! It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words so welcome to the photo edition of my blog. I have always loved photography, but in Chile my hobby became more of an obsession. I now have thousands of pitctures from my time in Chile. I picked some of them that really show the country, people, and culture of Chile to share with you. Enjoy!
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Gap Bloggers

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  • Kira - Gap Year Abroad in France
  • Smith - Gap Year Abroad in Chile
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  • Chloe - Gap Year Abroad in Chile