A Day On The Mountain

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood, taken from Highway 35

One of the great things about Oregon is that it has wonderful beaches, and mountains too.

Oregon Scenic Byway

Oregon Scenic Byway

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My sister, my dad, and I drove the Oregon Scenic Byway loop from Portland east on Highway 26 to Mt. Hood, circling the mountain to the east, then heading north on Highway 35 to Hood River, and back westbound into Portland on I-84.

Little Crater Lake on Mt Hood

Little Crater Lake on Mt Hood

little crater lake

Little crater lake sign

Our first stop was Little Crater Lake, a spot on Mt Hood that I had not seen before.  We had packed a picnic, and ate at the Bear Springs Campground.

The very well constructed picnic shelter at Bear Springs on Mt. Hood

The very well constructed picnic shelter at Bear Springs on Mt. Hood

We saw the Barlow Road marker (one of the last legs of the Oregon Trail) and made another stop at Frog Lake.  Frog Lake features prominently in my childhood memories.  We would go swimming in the lake in the summer when I was little.

Barlow Road sign

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlow_Road

Me and my dad at Frog Lake on Mt Hood

Me and my dad at Frog Lake on Mt Hood

On highway 35, traveling north from the mountain, you end up in Hood River. Hood River used to mean apples, but now it is known more as a windsurfing destination.

Entering Hood River County

Entering Hood River County

Entering Hood River from the south on Highway 35, you see this sign.

Mt. Hood, taken from Hood River with orchards in the foreground.

Mt. Hood, taken from Hood River with orchards in the foreground.

Welcome to Hood River, the windsurfing destination of choice in Oregon

Welcome to Hood River, the windsurfing destination of choice in Oregon

We didn’t get to Timberline Lodge this time, or the Columbia Gorge Hotel.  I’ll have to save those for another trip.

 

Mt. Hood Scenic Loop

Mt. Hood Scenic Loop

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A Day At The Beach

Indian Beach at Ecola State Park, Oregon

Indian Beach at Ecola State Park, Oregon

You can never count on the weather to be good in Oregon, but the closest you can get to an almost guarantee for sunny weather is August.  Having taken a week off from work in Florida to visit family in Oregon, and my penchant for picnics, we naturally ended up on the Oregon Coast one lovely weekend day in August.

Driving through the Oregon rain forest, the road leading to Ecola State Park and Indian Beach

Driving through the Oregon rain forest, the road leading to Ecola State Park and Indian Beach

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We started early that day so we could get to one of my favorite spots, Indian Beach at Ecola State Park, at a reasonably early hour and actually get a parking spot and picnic table.  Indian Beach is a favorite for surfers and dog people too.  It is a day use area only, with a small parking lot.  In the afternoon, a ranger is positioned at the entrance and cars are only allowed up the road if someone else drives out.  We got there early, and snagged both a parking spot and one of the best picnic tables with a view.

Our picnic spot at Indian Beach

Our picnic spot at Indian Beach

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http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=136

As we drove out to the coast there was a thick fog hanging low over the Columbia River and Astoria, which didn’t lift until nearly right at the beach.  The fog hung just off the coast over the water, and gave us a gorgeous sunny day with little wind.  A rare treat for a beach-goer in Oregon.

 

On the rocks at Indian Beach

On the rocks at Indian Beach

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Indian Beach has some good tide pools with anemones and star fish.  The water is ice cold.  Surfers wear dry suits and I can only go in as far as my knees, if it’s hot.

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This was a well planned picnic with all the traditional picnic foods, but of course substituting “smart dogs” (soy) for hot dogs.  A picnic is not a picnic without my mothers potato salad and at least one dog dropped into the fire.

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"Smart Dog" soy hot dog, potato salad, and vegetarian baked beans.  Yum.

“Smart Dog” soy hot dog, potato salad, and vegetarian baked beans. Yum.

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After Indian Beach, we stopped at the Ecola State Park for photos of the view along the beach and Haystack Rock.  We saw a sign warning about cougars, but sightings are a rare occurrence.  In all the years I lived in Oregon, I was never lucky enough to see one.  My sister, who spent many years driving over Mount Hood on a daily basis only saw one or two.   A park ranger we stopped and spoke with said someone had reported a sighting last month at Indian Springs, but it wasn’t a ranger and he sounded skeptical.

A Cougar warning sign at Ecola State Park

A Cougar warning sign at Ecola State Park

 

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park, looking south towards Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock

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Indian beach map 002

We also drove through cute and trendy Cannon Beach, but didn’t stop as it was so crowded we did not see any parking spaces.  Not surprising for a warm, sunny August weekend.

What remains of the wreck of the Peter Iredale from the dunes.

What remains of the wreck of the Peter Iredale from the dunes.

Driving back towards Astoria from the coast, we stopped at Fort Stevens State Park to see the Peter Iredale.  This beach was another frequent childhood haunt, and the location of one of my all time favorite family photos.

Family photo taken in 1967.  The wreck of the Peter Iredale is in the background.

Family photo taken in 1967. The wreck of the Peter Iredale is in the background.  That’s me, second from the right, at four years old.

I hadn’t been in quite some time and I wanted to see how much of the old shipwreck was left.  The Peter Iredale wrecked here on the beach on Oct. 25.6th, 1906.  We’ve been coming here for years as the ship deteriorated and the dunes reshaped themselves.  It is always very windy here, as it was when we stopped.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Iredale

Peter Iredale photo from the website

Peter Iredale photo from the website

Another photo from the website

Another photo from the website

 

Our last nostalgia stop was the Astoria Column.  One sister spent a high school summer break working at the column and one cousin lived in the caretakers house for several years.

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Posted in Family, Oregon | 2 Comments

Sauvie Island: The go to spot for u-pickers in Portland, Oregon

 

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An old International truck marks the entrance to Douglas Farms on Sauvie island.

An old International truck marks the entrance to Douglas Brothers Farm on Sauvie island.

If you live in Portland, Oregon (especially on the west side) and have the urge to u-pick, the place to go is Sauvie Island.   Sauvie Island is just 10 miles north-northwest of Portland on Highway 30, only a few minutes past the St. John’s Bridge.

The bridge to Sauvie Island.

The bridge to Sauvie Island.

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SauvieIsland

My sister and I spent a very pleasant August afternoon picking corn, cucumbers, beets, blueberries, and flowers.   The corn was very tasty, the best I’ve had since leaving Michigan.

An old International truck at Douglas Farms

An old International truck at Douglas Brothers Farms

Just after crossing the bridge, there is Douglas Farm on the right, where we picked the corn and other goodies.

 

In the corn field

In the corn field

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They give you a wagon and you make your way through the rows of vegetables.  We also picked sunflowers at 50 cents per stem.

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Rows of sunflowers at Douglas Farms on Sauvie Island.  The bridge is in the far right background.

Rows of sunflowers at Douglas Farm on Sauvie Island. The bridge is in the the background on the far right.

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In the summer, Delilah’s Catering hosts Farm Dinners at Bella Organic Farm, and there are pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the fall.

http://www.delilahscatering.com/farm.html

http://www.bellaorganic.com

 

The pumpkins will be ready by Halloween

The pumpkins will be ready by Halloween

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There are quite a few u-pick farms on the island, and farmers’ markets too.  Farther along the road we found the blueberries we were looking for.  They were $2 per pound for u-pick.

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My sister in the blueberry bushes

My sister in the blueberry bushes

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The blueberry farm also sold dahlias for 25 centers per stem

The blueberry farm also sold dahlias for 25 centers per stem

 

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Lucknow Estate, Castle In The Clouds

The Girls, at David's in Kennebunkport, Maine

The Girls, at David’s in Kennebunkport, Maine

From Seattle I flew directly to Maine to celebrate my friend Teresa’s birthday. Maine is another beautiful spot in the summer and quite a lot like Oregon where the weather is concerned.  It was warm and sunny in the day, but when the sun goes down you do need a jacket or sweater.  That is a nice break from the hot and humid Florida summer.

The outside deck at David's in Kennebunkport.

The outside deck at David’s in Kennebunkport.

Event planner and decorator extraordinaire Joanie had once again come up with a great plan for Teresa’s birthday.  We drove west towards Moultonborough, New Hampshire to have lunch at and tour the historic Lucknow Estate, also known as Castle In The Clouds.

(www.castleintheclouds.org)

Map of the Lucknow Estate

Map of the Lucknow Estate

The back of the house at Lucknow Estate.

The back of the house at Lucknow Estate.

The view from the back yard.

The view from the back yard.

The land/estate was purchased by Thomas Plant, a self-made millionaire who made his fortune in the shoe industry.  The house was built in 1913 – 1914 on 6300 acres.  From the brochure:

The basic construction of the house is steel beam and hollow tile chosen for insulation and fire retarding properties.  He included technological conveniences such as hydroelectric power, ammonia-brine cooled refrigeration, central-vacuum and intercom systems and a water-fed fire suppression system.

In 2002 it was sold to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, while the Castle Preservation Society manages the restoration and preservation.

The estate is open to tours and includes a restaurant, the Carriage House, in what used to be the stables.  You can tell this building used to be the stables, a fact they take advantage of with saddles and riding paraphernalia all around.  We started with lunch on the terrace, with a commanding view of the area.

Restaurant terrace with the killer view

Restaurant terrace with the killer view

Restaurant interior

Restaurant interior

The house is well maintained and kept to its original decor and furnishings.  There are items on the dressers and clothing in the drawers and dressing rooms.  When Thomas Plant built it in 1914 he included many innovations.  The house has 5 bathrooms, three with “needle showers.”

We toured the house and grounds, where they allow photographs, so I went a bit wild with the camera.  The following photos are from our tour:

 THREE VIEWS OF THE LIBRARY

The library includes several hundred books, many first editions.

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library

library 2

MR PLANT’S OFFICE

Immediately to the left of the entrance hall is Mr. Plant’s office.

Thomas Plant's office

 GUEST BEDROOM, FIRST FLOOR

Following the hallway to the right of the entrance leads you to the first floor guest bedroom.  This bedroom has a “needle shower”, one of three in the estate.  Very unusual for the time, the semi-circular shower had pin holes for water all the way around.  The water pressure was 70 psi.  I think it must have been painful, as women were discouraged from using them due to “delicate skin.”

guest bedroom, first floor

needle shower

THE DINING ROOM

The dining room is octagonal in shape with a star-patterned hardwood floor. The ceiling is canvas over plaster.

dining room

THE KITCHEN

The kitchen had an ammonia and brine refrigeration unit and an interlocking rubber floor.

kitchen

self-cleaning built-in stove

self-cleaning built-in stove

MR. THOMAS PLANT

In the “grand” staircase leading to the second floor hangs a painting of Thomas Plant.

Painting of Mr Thomas Plant, 1859 - 1941

Painting of Mr Thomas Plant, 1859 – 1941

MASTER BATH

I was impressed with the master bath, and would be happy with it in my own home.  The master bath is on the second floor and has a gorgeous view.

master bath

The dressing area, sewing room, and boudoir are all connected, and separate the two main bedrooms on the second floor.  Mr. Plant used the master bedroom, while his wife Olive used the largest bedroom on the second floor with a beautiful view.  Olive was Mr. Plant’s second wife, 24 years his junior. They met in Europe in 1912 and married in 1913.

 

 BOUDOIR

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OLIVE’S BEDROOM

Olive's room

Olive's room 2

The view from Olive's bedroom

The view from Olive’s bedroom

GUEST BEDROOM, SECOND FLOOR

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Dresser items in the guest bedroom on the second floor

Dresser items in the guest bedroom on the second floor

 

SEWING ROOM

I absolutely fell in love with the wallpaper in the sewing room.  I asked one of the docents and was told it is not original to the house.

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The wallpaper in the sewing room

The wallpaper in the sewing room

 

Sadly, the story of Mr. Plant has a less than silver lining.  Upon his retirement, and due to his patents on shoe making machinery, he retired with what would be in today’s money about 3/4 billion dollars.  He lived large and was generous with his wealth, building a retirement home for the elderly poor in Bath, Maine, but was a poor investor.

From the brochure:

By 1924, Tom Plant was in serious financial difficulty.  In 1928 he mortgaged the property and in 1941 was forced into foreclosure. Plant died in 1941.  Olive was left with executrix fees and her personal belongings.  She returned to her home in Toulon, Illinois.

Lucknow was purchased in 1941 by Fred Tobey.  In 1956, Richard S Robie bought the property and named it “Castle in the Clouds.”  He opened it to the public in 1959.  In 1991, J. Paul Sticht bought Lucknow and built a water bottling plant to capitalize on the abundant spring water on the property.  In 2002, the Lucknow Estate, minus the bottling plant, was sold to the Lakes Region Conservation Trust for $5.9 million raised from 2000 donors.

 

It seems to me that they had a grand old time spending money for 11 years, from about 1913 to 1924.  Then reality set in.  He did live out his days in the house, and died before it went into foreclosure in 1941.

After touring the house, the grounds and the stables (you can take a trail ride here on the estate horses), we headed back to Kennebunkport for birthday celebrations.

The bridge dividing Kennbunkport from the lower village

The bridge dividing Kennbunkport from the lower village

the bridge

The birthday girl and the planner

The birthday girl and the girl with the great ideas

Kennebunkport at sunset

Kennebunkport at sunset

Posted in Maine, U.S.A. | 2 Comments

Puget Sound and Harstine Island

map

Escaping the Florida heat, I spent the last weekend of July up in the Great Northwest with my family. From West Seattle we took a short ferry ride across the water, passing Vashon Island, and disembarking at Southworth.  My family and I had found a rental cabin on Harstine Island through VRBO.com.  We spent the weekend at the cabin, relaxing, eating and enjoying a few days removed from the rat race.

On the ferry, looking at Vashon Island.

On the ferry, looking at Vashon Island.

 

Me on the ferry

Me on the ferry

The cabin was behind a beautiful log house on Harstine Island.  They owners gave us the use of their big deck overlooking the sound, where we grilled salmon and enjoyed a wonderful bottle of champagne.

Harstine Island

Harstine Island sign

They also let our three elderly dogs stay with us in the cabin;  a 15 year old border collie, a 12 year old Scottie and Viv, an age unknown shih tzu my sister adopted from Salty Dog Rescue in Seattle.  (saltydogrescue.org)

girls and dogs

 

Our dinner on the deck of the big house

Our dinner on the deck of the big house

The cabin

The cabin

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The view from the deck

The view from the deck

We cooked, drank champagne, and even roasted marshmallows and made s’mores.

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Me and my mom enjoying the view

Me and my mom enjoying the view

 

The cabin's deck, grill and fire pit

The cabin’s deck, grill and fire pit

Preparing to make s'mores at the fire pit

Preparing to make s’mores at the fire pit

 

Making s'mores

Making s’mores

 

Viv enjoys some down time.

Viv enjoys some down time.

View of the big house from down below

View of the big house from down below

 

Rupert goes exploring

Rupert goes exploring

Flowers and a fig from my sister’s well tended garden in Seattle (the fig picture is not retouched, no color added.  The sun was just right and lit up all the figs on the tree.)

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fig 2

Posted in Family, U.S.A. | 2 Comments

Farewell to the Lion King

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My sweet Barcley was the closest thing you could get to a lion under 20 pounds.  He came to me in 2005, accompanied me to Michigan for 11 months in 2010, and then came back to Florida where he loved life, stalked lizards and relaxed in the sun.

A Grumeti River lion (left) and my own Lion King Barcley.

A Grumeti River lion (left) and my own Lion King Barcley.

I lost my poor kitty to Feline Aortic Thromboembolism, a silent killer that was swift and deadly.

Discovering snow for the first time.

Discovering snow for the first time.

I loved my little Lion King and miss him sorely.  We will keep him in our hearts.

Barcley and Ian

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Barcley head shot

Barcley

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Happy Father’s Day!

Dad 001

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

 

What do you get the dad who has everything?  How about a big “thank you” for a lifetime of fatherly support and good advice.

Two of my dad’s best pieces of advice are as follows:

“Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you.”  I live my life by this and it has proved true.  My cars thank you dad.

Dad with 2 cars

“You can do anything, as long as you set your mind to it.”  More good advice from dad.  We all had the utmost confidence and have kept striving.

Taxi in the snow

I also would like to thank my dad for passing on to me his love of cars.  He has it in spades, and I think I inherited some of it.

My dad and his cars and trucks.  We used to think he loved them more than us, but now I know that wasn’t true.  The cars just gave him less trouble than we did.

Dad, 1956 001

Dad, Laury, 1946 pickup

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAD!

I LOVE YOU.

 Dad and Laury

 

Posted in Family, Seasons & Holidays | Leave a comment

Back In Business

My mother's house in Oregon.

My mother’s house in Oregon.

There has been research suggesting that taking photos hampers ones ability to remember that specific occasion, and a recent Time Magazine article detailing the same.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10507146/Taking-photographs-ruins-the-memory-research-finds.html

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/10/stop-taking-so-many-pictures-all-the-time-because-its-ruining-your-memory/

Elk in our field.

Elk in our field.

All the research in the world though cannot change the fact that some of us love to take photographs and consider photography our number one hobby.  I have been on a forced sabbatical from this due to the theft of my Nikon D80 in Buenos Aires this past February.  But now I’m back in business, thanks to my sister’s former husband and friend of the family Randy, who has become quite a serious photographer and found himself with a new Nikon D4, and was kind enough to sell me his Nikon D7000 at a reasonable price.

The neighbor's horses.

The neighbor’s horses.

I spent the last week of May in Oregon getting acquainted with my new Nikon 7000.  All of the photos in this blog were taken with the new camera.

Crossing the St. John's Bridge.

Crossing the St. John’s Bridge at dusk.

We visited the Schreiner’s Iris Gardens in Kaizer, Oregon, a wonderful place to practice with a new camera and try some different settings.  http://www.schreinersgardens.com/

Garden 1

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garden 2

garden 4

 

purple iris

garden 3

pale pink

purple and pink

pink

 

Posted in Oregon | 2 Comments

Santiago, Chile

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The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago on the Plaza de Armas, Santiago, Chile. The plaza was under construction.

What do you do when you have just 24 hours in a city?  You make the most of it.

We arrived into Santiago on the bus at about 630 pm.  Our flights back to the US were the next evening, unfortunately.  We would have loved more time to explore this vibrant city.

It was my first time in Santiago and I really had no preconceived ideas of the city.  I guess I may have expected something along the lines of Buenos Aires, but it was quite different.

Breakfast in the courtyard at Le Reve, Santiago Chile

Breakfast in the courtyard at Le Reve, Santiago Chile

The hotel where we stayed, Le Reve, (an oasis and I highly recommend it) is just two blocks from an underground station.  In Buenos Aires, the underground was not air-conditioned and a bit old.  We were surprised to find a very modern underground, new cars, beautifully constructed and decorated stops, and it was air-conditioned.  We took the underground to the historic district.

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There is a large pedestrian area in Santiago, which we walked on our way to the plaza.  The main plaza, Plaza de Armas, was under construction, so we could only walk the perimeter.  We stopped into the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, (built 1748 to 1800) and passed the Museo de Santiago exterior.  That street was also under construction and the museum blocked.  Santiago appeared to be a city under a lot of construction with many projects and workers.  We also saw city workers painting over graffiti, and police officers on horseback.

Museo de Santiago

Museo de Santiago

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Our first priority for our one day in Santiago (besides getting a feel for the city) was to tour the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.  It is just one block off the Plaza de Armas.

http://www.precolombino.cl/en/

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It is a beautiful museum, where they allow photos with no flash in many of the rooms (but not all).  It is well conceived and has beautiful pieces.  The museum was the highlight of our day in Santiago.

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I loved how they displayed the equestrian gear from the southern region

I loved how they displayed the equestrian gear in the Southern Andes section.

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 The museum is divided into cultural areas, including Mesoamerica, Caribbean, Amazonian, Central Andes, and Southern Andes.  This Mayan stela is in the Mesoamerica section.

The Warrior King, a Mayan stela in the Mesoamerica section of the museum

The Warrior King, a Mayan stela in the Mesoamerica section of the museum

From the museum website:

This large stela, originally located in one of the main Aguateca plazas, in the southern lowlands of Yucatan, commemorates a military victory of this city’s ruler. The triumphant figure grasps a shield decorated with the image of one of the war patrons, the Jaguar God of the Underworld. The two prisoners with their feet tied have been stripped of their ornaments.

museum piece

(As much as I miss my Nikon, I do have to give credit to the quality of photos that the iPhone took in low light.  All the museum pictures were taken on my iPhone).

We did a lot of walking, found many green spaces in the city, large parks with fountains, and nice neighborhoods.  The prices for everything from food to subway fares were equivalent to the prices in the US, and much more expensive than Argentina.  We stopped into the Iglesia San Francisco, the oldest church in Santiago, located right downtown.

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Iglesia San Francisco, Santiago

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The interior of the Franciscan church, consecrated in 1622 in downtown Santiago.

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fountain

Of course we found an arts and crafts market.  And of course I bought some earrings!

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A cat in the craft market

A cat in the craft market

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Our last vacation dinner was at a well known vegetarian restaurant, El Huerto, only one block from our hotel.  http://www.elhuerto.cl/

I definitely want to go back and see more of Santiago and Chile.

L at dinner

Becky at last dinnerdinner

Posted in Chile | 1 Comment

Crossing The Andes via Omnibus

Our view out the window climbing out of Mendoza towards Chile.

Our view out the window climbing out of Mendoza towards Chile.

Crossing The Andes via omnibus may not have been as romantic or exciting as trekking or on horseback, but it was definitely convenient and incredibly cost effective.

The busses and the bus network in Argentina are efficient, frequent and quite nice, so we sat back and left the driving to Andesmar.  The bus we took from Mendoza to Santiago was a double decker.  We left Mendoza at 10:30 am, settling ourselves into the large and comfortable seats in the front row of the top level.   The seats afforded us a good view and more legroom than on an airplane except possibly first class.

on the bus

We climbed through the Argentinia side of The Andes with a beautiful view of the snow capped peaks.  The bus made few stops and passed through one very small town.  At noon someone came through and handed out sandwiches and sodas.  The 8 hour trip with a border crossing cost us each $40.

Taken through the front windscreen from the top level.

Taken through the front windscreen from the top level.

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Almost at the pass

Almost at the pass

Near the top of the pass, out the side window of the bus we saw a gaucho herding horse and mules.  It made me stop and think, as romantic as the idea of crossing The Andes on horseback sounded, I was glad we did the trip in a total of 8 hours, and not 8 days.

A gaucho herding horses and mules near the pass on the Argentinian side

A gaucho herding horses and mules near the pass on the Argentinian side

After only one long tunnel (thankfully), and still below the snowline, the border was at the top of the pass.  Customs and immigration took about two hours with a search of the luggage where I lost my little bag of Chia seeds given to me by the cook at El Bordo.  Too bad.  On the Chilean side the two lane road was under construction and down to one lane.  We had to wait for another 30 minutes for our turn to start down.  (We were told that two days prior to our crossing the road had been closed to all traffic due to a rockslide).

Our bus waiting to cross the border into Chile

Our bus waiting to cross the border into Chile

Looking back into Argentina from the pass

Looking back into Argentina from the pass

The descent into Chile started with about 24 hairpin turns, then the gradient shallowed and the terrain became farmland.  The ride was scenic and it was wonderful not to worry about signs, directions or the driving.  We hit rush hour traffic coming into Santiago, and the bus station was a mad house.

The road into Chile from the top of The Andes

The road into Chile from the top of The Andes

Somewhere near the top of the pass descending into Chile, we passed this sign indicating turn 23.

Somewhere near the top of the pass descending into Chile, we passed this sign indicating turn 23.

Once in the taxi it was an easy ride to our hotel, The Reve.  The Reve is an oasis in a beautiful neighborhood.  No need to go far for dinner, as the street that Le Reve is on and the next one over are full of great restaurants.  We had dinner at Liguria, recommended for its Pisco Sours.  I had to try one, but couldn’t finish it, and switched back to the tried and true Torrentes.             http://www.lerevehotel.cl/

The view from our room at Le Reve into their private backyard seating area.

The view from our room at Le Reve into their private backyard seating area.

A pisco sour at Liguria in Santiago, Chile

A pisco sour at Liguria in Santiago, Chile

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Posted in Argentina, Chile | 1 Comment