Sunday, June 17, 2012
A ´Cozy´ Cabin
....Unfortuantely going to Mendoza, Argentina´s capital of wine-making, was
not in the cards for me. After I said farewell to Carl since he was going back
up to the states for his Dad´s wedding, I hopped on the first bus with
front row seats to view the awesome passage into Argentina. While we got
all the way to the border, we were turned around because of heavy snow
conditions high up in the Andes. I was disappointed and a little annoyed (it was not
the most comfortable of buses) and found myself back in the same hostel in
Fortunately, I had a back-up plan. Before leaving for South America my mom had recently gotten back in touch with a long-lost relative, who just happened to rent out mountain villas around Santiago! She had told my mom before I left I was welcome to use one of them if they were available. Carl and I were too busy in our travels, but this now seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it. Luckily I had the good fortune to meet two British girls in the hostal the day before, and it wasn´t 10 minutes before I had arrived from my failed trip that I bumped into them again. They seemed game and I said I would try to see if the place was free tomorrow. We went out that night in Santiago where I met one of their friends, Tim, who had moved
to the area, along with his Chilean girlfriend. We had a great time, and I invited them to the cabin if they wanted to come as well.
This turned out to be my best idea so far, as the cabin was extremely difficult to get to without a car or a cellphone, both of which Javi, the Chilean girlfriend, had access too. As we made our way up into the mountains through a thunderstorm, I could not have been happier to have two people who knew the area drive us all up there! The entire way we were comparing this situation to a horror movie (A dark and stormy night, a couple of young things go up to a cabin in the middle of the woods know one really knows much about, etc.), which only got worse when we actually got there. We had taken an extra half hour or so to buy groceries but it turns out the housekeeper, Nancy, had to wait outside for us in the freezing rain until we arrived, and she was none too happy when we finally rolled in. After shoving the keys in our hand she made her way back home, and only telling us as she was shutting the door that there was no heat in the house and we would have to build a fire.
Seeing as none of us were particularly experienced at making a fire, especially in a furnace, we were a bit on edge for the first 10 minutes in the cabin, shivering in our wet clothes and trying to get the damn thing started. Luckily the two Brits had a bit more experienced than me, and we were able to have a roaring fire that heated up the whole cabin (not to mention filled it with smoke for awhile as well). Javi and Tim had brought a portable barbeque and in the end we had a general feast with lots of wine as well. The speakers in the cabin could only play CDs... the selection was pretty horrible but we had a great time making fun of the songs playing. We stayed up quite late and managed to continually freak each other out, joking that Nancy was still waiting outside, clawing at the windows :-)
The next morning Tim and Javi had to leave, and the three of us were stuck in the cabin with nothing much to do except read and watch the rain outside (the same storm that had blocked me out of Mendoza was bringing some of the heaviest rain throughout Chile all year, apparently the situation was much worse in Santiago). We lazed around and kept the fire going, but mostly it was a good chance to get some serious reading done which I hadn´t had time for in awhile. While we tried to get the heat working, we eventually found out there was no gas and there wouldn´t be any till tomorrow, we decided to boil water in the teapot and us that to wash ourselves instead of using the freezing cold water.
The next day the rain finally stopped and we were able to go out and explore the area. However, we hadn´t made it two blocks when a horde of puppies attacked us with their cuteness. We spent a good hour at least sitting and playing with the puppies. We got many an interesting look from the locals and the owner tried to sell some of them off to us (which we totally would have accepted if we thought we could take care of them at all). There are many cute pictures of us and the puppies (which I´ll have to post later). The puppies got so tired from playing with us that they all fell asleep on our laps, which was 10 times as cute as before. Finally their mother managed to goe them inside and we continued on.
We finally came across the main attraction of the area, Las Cascadas de Las Animas, which turned out to be a big amusement nature park but with access to two pretty spectacular waterfalls. After hiking up quickly we decided it would be way too expensive to do anything else. We decided the area was nice, and the cabin had been fun, but that tomorrow we should try to leave (especially because the gas STILL wasn´t working!). After another great meal (kudos to the girls, they really knew what we were doing!) we called it another freezing night, and the next day hi-tailed it out of there. The ride back in the colectivo was spectacular, as we hadn´t been able to see the valley during the midnight thunderstorm when we arrived.
The epilogue to this interesting, albeit luxurious side trek was that in Santiago Tim and Javi invited us to have a drink at the rooftop terrace of ´The W´ one of 5-star hotels in Santiago so that we could see the whole city at night. It was a strange experience and the inside of the hotel was as interesting at
the view, but it was great to see Tim and Javi again, and I hope our paths will cross again soon!