Beers, Culture, and Funky Elevators: Recent trips around the region!
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Limache, Olmue, La Campana:
This past weekend I went with my fellow volunteers Ashley and Hilary on a day-trek to get to know some other sites in the región, namely Parque Nacional La Campana and the Tauss Brau cerveceria. I must say, these two gringas are filete! We are all very like-minded and down for adventure, which has certainly made for a solid first few weeks: now back to the sites. As its Spanish name indicates, La Campana is the big national park in the region; that being said, it is hardly any indication of the full potential of Chile’s natural wonders. We took a few laps around this quaint little place, soaking up the sun and the good views of little Olmue down in the lower valley. After a sizable trek back to the center of town, we decided that our physical efforts for the day had earned us a trip to the neighborhood brewery. Having lived in a hub of micro-brewing mania for the recent part of my life, much like the majority of my peers I derive great pleasure from drinking beer made ‘en casa’. So, it goes without saying that this brewery definitely hit home! The Tauss Brau cerveceria is literally and figuratively located off the beaten path, nestled about 1 km due west of the main, dusty drag that connects Limache and Olmue. Once we finally managed to locate this little gem, we were taken aback by its unassuming demeanor and interior that screams “outdoor Chilean beerfest”. Once we got seated, we got our suds ordered and soaked up the beautiful views of the countryside, which is surrounded by the Andean foothills and was being complimented by the still-lingering rays of sun. Once our beers arrived, we did our ‘salud’, ‘chin-chin’, and a few other forms of ‘cheers’, and got down to business. To put it simply: amazing beer. Despite some questionable service on the part of our waiter, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we will be paying a few more visits to this pleasant little watering hole.
Me and Ashley took a trip one of these Sundays to explore the infamous Valparaiso. Upon coming to Chile, I had never actually heard of “Valpo”, nor did I have any real idea about the cultural significance the city held for the country: essentially, it is the cultural capital of a very culturally-rich country! Recipient of UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition for the unprecedented, seamless beauty of its Historical quarter, this quirky city is chalk-full of colorful architecture, historical dwellings of some of Chile’s most notable figures in literature, art, and music, as well as countless, neatly restored cafés, eateries, and locales. Each place not only reflects the cultural and historical significance of “La Joya del Pacifico”, but adds to it. As a result, it has a funky, bohemian feel that cannot be ignored.
The fog engulfing the city upon our arrival had eventually given way to some early afternoon rays of sunlight. Our day consisted off wandering around the hills and alleyways winding through the city, riding on the ascensores, or little elevator-trams that dot the hillside, and grubbing on some fresh seafood. My initial impressions of the city are, needless to say, quite positive! As it is only a 25 minute Metro ride away, this will undoubtedly be a frequent stop for entertainment, beach-combing, music, an (alleged) chorrillana the size of my torso, and much more!
Trips on the Horizon:
*Lollapalooza music festival in Santiago; artists on the bill include Foo Fighters, Band of Horses, Skrillex, Foster the People, MGMT, and a slew of hometown acts such as Fernando Milagros, Juana Fe, Camila Morena, etc.
*A trip across the border to Mendoza, Argentina for the long Easter weekend: well-priced, tasty vino tinto, churches, and some good old-fashioned gringo shenanigans.