We awoke bright and early on Saturday to begin what was about to be an unforgettable weekend. We drove a few hours up into the Andes Mountains before stepping out to continue hiking with a purely spectacular view. I could not physically produce any words to describe how extraordinary our surroundings were. I wanted to take photos at every turn, but I realized very quickly that pictures do these beautiful mountains zero justice. I had to remind myself several times, "I'm actually hiking in the Andes Mountains. The Andes. In Chile." I spent a lot of time assimilating the enormity and processing where I was actually standing. It felt so wonderful to breathe in the fresh, pure air at our several-thousand-feet altitude.
We walked about seven miles altogether but I could have gone another twenty with the view we had (despite how tired I may have been). We could not have had a more beautiful day for our excursion: sunny; not a cloud in the sky; 65 degrees... It was a perfect day. We stopped on our way back home for empanadas, and I chose an empanada con jamón (ham), tomate (tomato) y queso (cheese). It tasted even better after our long day of hiking!
Today (Sunday) included a trip to Valparaíso and Vina del Mar – the coast of the Pacific Ocean! We had a delicious (large) lunch at a restaurant by the water. They served shells with chopped fish and crab and empanadas for our appetizers, and I chose fish for my entrée. So yummy!
Our evening ended with walking down to the beach to enjoy the shores of the Pacific Ocean. A handful of us (myself included) had never seen the Pacific, so it was awesome to be able to put our feet in the water. It's currently fall in Chile right now, so even though it's not swimming weather, we were still able to stand on the shores and allow the water to engulf our feet and the sand around us. We were at the beach at sunset, giving us yet another beautiful view. Not only was the weather perfect in the Andes, it continued throughout the weekend. This has undoubtedly been a weekend to remember.
Looking forward to entering our second week in Chile! After a weekend of excursions, we are back to classes at ECELA in the morning.
Please enjoy a slideshow of photos from this weekend below. :)