We flew up from Patagonia to visit Luke and his fiance Maca at their home in Salamanca Chile.
Salamanca is a small city of about 15,000 people, located about four hours north of Santiago. The climate and terrain felt strikingly like Southern California. It was foggy every morning and then broke into bright sunshine each afternoon. It never rains in the summer (or the spring and fall) and there are cacti and scrub bushes on the hillsides.
Luke met Maca while studying abroad during his junior year at Middlebury, and has been living and working in Chile since our graduation three years ago. They both now work for the municipal government, and live in a small house at the edge of town. It is a pretty good setup.
It was great to catch up with an old friend, and to stay with locals rather than in anonymous hostels. We got to meet Maca's family, who cooked us a few amazing meals, and got a window into life in a small Chilean city. We generally took it pretty easy, and spent our days wandering around and taking it in. After a few days in Salamanca we trekked north up the coast for another four hours and spent a few days in the port city of Coquimbo. From there we went even further north, to an incredible beach town where we went on an ocean safari. See the pics below!
|The four of us on a hilltop.|
|The dry hills above Salamanca.|
|Luke and I exploring a burned out bridge in the farmland outside of town.|
|Nellie and Maca's younger brother Benjamin, holding grapes that are used to make Pisco. It was awesome to see a vineyard with bunches of juicy grapes.|
|Nellie holding a "Tuna", which is a kind of cactus fruit. Benjamin convinced Nellie to pick it up and then took this photo of her, but failed to mention that the fruit is covered in tiny horrible spines. Nellie found dozens in her hand. Rascal!|
|Eating a dinner of Chilean fast food in Luke and Maca's house. Chileans put avocado and mayo on everything.|
|Nellie and I above the harbor in Coquimbo.|
|Luke and I in the same spot.|
|Chilean breakfast is a bit lacking (just bread and jam), so Nellie and I tried to bring American-style breakfast sandwiches into their world. Unfortunately we were foiled by a near-total lack of quality ingredients. There was no bacon!|
|We saw a bunch of Guanacos in the desert on our way to the beach town. They are like llamas. Pretty weird looking.|
|Going into the water. It was cold!|
|Nellie was pumped to get a wet hug after :)|
|We went on an ocean safari and saw the most incredible wildlife. We saw a whale and a huge group of dolphins right up close. The dolphins were jumping and were so beautiful. There were also sea lions, penguins, and cormorants.|
|The whale's tail. It was bigger than our boat.|
|The dolphins. They were really fast.|
|Seafarers on a desert island.|
|Final sunset over the Pacific.|