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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

White Christmas, 2010 --

I flew to NC for Christmas Holidays on December 23 and enjoyed a nice steak at the Cracker Barrel of Henderson with mom and dad. On the 24th, we did some visiting before enjoying prime rib at Edith Mabry's house after wonderful services at First Methodist.

On Christmas Day, Angela, Chris, Catherine, and Carrie arrived and we opened up all our presents.

Here are the 'adults' gathered on Christmas Day. Catherine took the picture:



The girls loved their new Barbie Jeep:



That night, it began to snow, making it officially a white Christmas. When I woke up the next morning, we had about six inches of snow, and no electricity. But it was a very beautiful snow!






Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Santiago and Vina del Mar -- Mom and Dad's Anniversary trip



Another great trip to Chile, this time sharing this great country with my mom and dad for their 45th Wedding Anniversary. We left Atlanta on their Anniversary, November 24th, to arrive in Chile on November 25.  My mom took detailed notes of the trip, so here is her account:

We drove to Atlanta on 11-23-10. Edith Mabry rode down with us to visit her son Duke Mabry. We arrived at Duke’s condo about 3:10 P. M. We left Duke’s and drove on to Frank’s condo and rested for a while until Frank got home from work. We drove back over to Duke’s and all of us went out for supper at the Colonnade Restaurant. Back to Frank’s for the night. On Wednesday, 11-24-10 Alice and I hung around Frank’s condo while he was at work. We did go out for a while shopping. We thought we were flying out about 10 P.M. but Frank came home from work early (about 3:30 P.M) and said that the plane was taking off about 8:30 P.M. We went to the airport to check in and wait to see if we would be able to fly standby on the flight to Chile. We all were able to get on board and we all flew First Class. Had 2 meals on flight and drinks. We arrived in Santiago, Chile about 7:30 A.M., Thursday, 11-25-10 (they are 2 hours ahead of us).

We took a taxi to our hotel, the “W” , in Santiago. The hotel had upgraded us to a "Spectacular Room" with a huge balcony overlooking the city. They had also arranged to have a fruit tray in the room.



The view from the balcony:


After checking in the hotel we toured the city on a double decker tour bus. We went to the top of San Cristobal hill on a Funicular (cable car that goes straight up the hill).

At the top of San Cristobal hill with the Virgin Mary that overlooks Santiago in the background:




We had lunch in the Bellevista neighborhood. We were joined on the tour by a couple from Boston, Shellie and Raphael, they also had lunch with us. For lunch we had cheese Empanadas and French fries (papas fritas) and Escudo beer. We got back on the tour bus and traveled to the central market where we had our first pisco sours of the trip.

In the Central Market with Raphael and Shelly and pisco sours:





After the central market, we got back on the double decker and went to the market at Santa Lucia. This is one of the best places to shop for souvenirs and crafts at reasonable prices. Here's Alice shopping:




We had a very special 45th Anniversary supper at Como Agua Para Chocolate restaurant in Bellavista. Roxana Colorado (a friend of Frank’s) joined us for supper. Our table was made up to look like a bed. The tablecloth resembled a bedspread and each end of the table had a Brass headboard and a Brass footboard. There was a long stemmed red rose lying across the pillows and rose petals scattered all over the table.


Alice and Frank had Filet Vigor y Pasco (steak). F. T. had fish (“Congrio”) (discovered later that it was actually eel) on a bed of creamed spinach (very good). Roxana had a chicken dish. We all had delicious salads and bread. Our drink was a Como Agua Para Chocolate house drink. The glass had sugar around the rim and a rose petal coated with a glaze of sugar on top. Our dessert was Strudell Encaspa and Como Agua Para Chocolate (their special dessert). We went shopping at Bellavista. We had our first bottled water with gas (carbonated).

Conger Eel


Steak

Friday, Nov. 26, 2010 we had a driver and guide pick us up on a van from our hotel and we went to Mojaito Del Campo for lunch. Alice had lasagna, F. T. and Frank had beef and potatoes. We all had salads, rolls and dessert.


Lunch with our translator, Romina, and driver


After lunch we toured the Vina Huelquen Winery and enjoyed a wine tasting (One of our anniversary gifts from Angela, Chris, Catherine, Carrie, and Frank). The wine tasting was in the front yard of the vineyard owner’s house. His name was Mario, and he was very funny. It was just the three of us, plus Mario and the translator. Frank broke one of the glasses at the wine tasting and wine went everywhere. He is still Alice’s child.
At the vineyard (English Walnuts in background)

Huelquen uses French oak barrels and American Oak barrels. French are more expensive and make the premium wines.


Wine tasting with the vineyard owner, Mario


Wine and Frank's wine stain


We saw an English Walnut tree while at the winery, evidently they grow wild there.



After the winery we returned to our hotel and Roxana joined us there. We left the hotel and rode the subway to a cultural market and shopped for a while (at the end of the Metro line – Los Dominicos).

Church at Los Dominicos


Then we took a taxi to Venice Restaurant and had supper, beef with fried eggs on top and French fries. We drank a few Pisco Sours and later had a Chile Hot Dog called an Italiano (weiner, mayonnaise, avocado, & tomatoes on a bun) Alice swore she would not eat a hot dog in Chile but she had to eat her words.
Eating Chilean hot dogs-- "Completos"

When we left there Frank went to meet some friends (he has friends everywhere) and Roxana rode with us on a taxi back to the hotel.



Saturday, November 27, 2010 we ate at a little bakery type store called Castano. They had good rolls. Next door to Castano was a beauty shop named Joaquin Salones. Alice decided she would get her hair washed. No one in the beauty shop could speak English except for one customer. She told Alice she would tell the beautician what Alice wanted done and that she would be there until they were finished with Alice.


Alice's Chilean Beauty Shop


We returned to the hotel and went up to the pool on the 21st floor and we had 3 Pisco Sours there at the bar. They cost Frank more than our supper the night before but we were in “high cotton”.

Pisco Sours at the pool bar at the W

Frank left to rent a car and while he was gone to pick it up Alice was wondering what would we do if he didn’t come back. Frank drove to Viña del Mar. It was a beautiful drive and we listened to Spanish music on the radio as we rode along. Frank drove like we were in Henderson. Arrived at the Sheraton Miramar Hotel and Convention Center. Talk about “high cotton”, this is the top of the high cotton. Ocean front (beautiful). The Sheraton had indoor, outdoor, and also a natural swimming pool.

Pool at the Sheraton Miramar 

Sheraton Miramar 
Alice writing recording the day's events on the balcony


 We had supper at the La Flor de Chile – so good. There was a dog there that reminded Alice of our old dog, Jabbo. We had Pisco Sours, steak fries, cheese empanadas, rolls, wine, coffee – bought a bottle of wine and then to bed.


"Jabbo" and more Pisco Sours

Sunday, November 28, 2010. The Sheraton was wonderful, so many beautiful scenes – being beach front was nice. This is the spring in Chile. The flowers are beautiful and so many of them.


The beach by our hotel

We had a big breakfast at the Sheraton then we drove to Valparaiso, Chile – a beautiful drive with so many places to shop. You had to take a funicular to get to the top where you walk around and shop and eat. We had Pisco Sours at Las Naranjas del Mar. We had chicken empanadas and Cebiche (raw fish cooked with lemon juice with pepper, onions) at Naranjas del Mar, wasn’t that bad.
Alice finally found her some diet Pepsi.
At Naranjas del Mar

Valparaiso

Funicular

Eating and drinking again
Shopping again...
Frank drove up those hills like he knew where he was going. Had to pay 50 cents to go to the bathroom and they gave you your toilet tissue. F. T. saw a fire station and also saw a funeral procession with flowers piled all over the flower car. We went back to the hotel. Alice and Frank walked on the beach and checked out the swimming pools while F. T. rested his knees.

The 50 cent bathroom
We went to Entre Mesas for empanadas and Pisco Sours. We had mushroom & cheese, ham and cheese, shrimp & cheese empanadas and cilantro sauce with rolls. (Almost every meal had rolls with "pebre" -- a salsa made from olive oil, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro. Each place seemed to vary the ingredients to have a unique flavor.) Then, we ate supper at Fellini’s Italian restaurant. Food was very good, asparagus soup was delicious. F. T. and Frank had seafood and Alice had pasta. (Frank had the Congrio again, the Conger Eel.) Alice said she had the best cup of coffee since we had been in Chile. Back to the hotel and to bed.
Dinner at Fellini's

Alice's pasta dish (YUM)

Frank's conger eel with shrimp sauce


Monday, November 29, 2010. We had breakfast at the Sheraton and drove back to Santiago for our last night in Chile. While driving back to Santiago a car passed us on the highway and they waved like they are our long lost friends. Frank knows people everywhere but we couldn’t figure out who this was that passed us. We had to pay tolls of $9.00 going to Vena Del Mar and $6.00 coming back. We arrived at the Sheraton Four Corners for our last night in Chile. The hotel gave us tickets for free drinks while we waited an hour to get in our room. Frank returned the rental car while we were waiting to get in the room. When he returned we went to eat and shop. We rode the subway to Cerro Santa Lucia where we did some more shopping and sightseeing at Santa Lucia hill, where Valdivia founded the city of Santiago.

Santa Lucia Hill 




We went into a grocery store and bought some cheese and crackers. We went to Aqui Esta Coco for supper. This was the best meal. We sat downstairs in the wine cellar. (Even Alice loved the Cebiche--the raw fish 'cooked' in lemon juice.) We had scallops on the shell. Frank had the sea bass with capers which was delicious. Alice had the filet with roquefort sauce.
In the wine cellar at Aqui Esta Coco 

Cheers!

Chilean Sea Bass

Alice is glad we are going home tomorrow because she couldn’t stand it if it got any better. We went back to the hotel and to bed.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010, another beautiful day. We went to breakfast and window shopping. Frank and Alice went to the pool on the 12th floor. When they came back to the room F. T. was ironing his shirt (ironing in Chile). Frank and Alice went shopping again, they rode the Metro.

The crowded metro

Frank ran into a tree and Alice kissed the street – they were both okay. They went into a mall that had a spiral walkway going up with small stores all along the way. Alice said that the stores were about the size of her kitchen. There were hundreds of them.



For lunch we had Mechado Italiano, boiled beef with avocado sauce, and mayonnaise on a bun. Alice had fresh pineapple juice, F. T. had diet Coke, and Frank had beer.

The last lunch

Mechado Italiano

We went back to the hotel and had a Pisco Sour then caught a taxi to the airport. We flew out of Santiago about 10 P.M. and landed in Atlanta about 6 A.M. We all flew First Class coming back also. Good to be back in the USA. We had a good trip.

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