Santiago was a city we had been looking forward to visiting for quite some time. We had planned a visit here – long before we even left home – because we were going to meet and stay with the family of one of my favorite patients, Isabel!
Isabel and I talked and planned for many weeks before Jen and I left for our trip. We were all very excited for us to be able to meet her sister, Carmen and Carmen’s husband, Andi. At last, all of our schedules aligned and we were all set to meet Isabel’s family. Andi was kind enough to pick us up from the airport in Santiago. We had a grand welcome waiting for us – see the pics below!
Ok, so the photogs weren’t for us. But we did ask one of the camera guys what the hubbub was all about and it turns out they were waiting for a famous Spanish singer named Ana Torroja. She was in town for the huge annual music festival in Viña Del Mar, a beautiful coastal town west of Santiago. We actually brushed shoulders with her as we were heading back into the airport to make a phone call to Andi because we couldn’t find him!
Once we found Andi, we headed home (but not without first stopping at a panadería to pick up the first of the many loaves of delicious marraqueta bread we would be eating over the next few days!) When we arrived, Carmen greeted us at the door. They offered us a room in their small home in Puente Alto – but as they say in Chile, the homes are small but the hearts are big!
Over the next few days, we shared many meals with Carmen and Andi and we also had the pleasure of spending time with Isabel’s brother, Carlos and his wife Lorena and their two children Paula and Mattias. Andi made sure we were well fed every morning and made fresh coffee for us which is very hard to find in Chile.
We visited the tallest building in all of Latin America, the Gran Torre Santiago, with Carmen and Carlos. We were able to see all of Santiago from there and learn about some important points of interest and history of the city.
Both Carmen and Lorena were amazing cooks – we were so lucky to have tried some home made Chilean dishes like parilla (barbecued meats), choripan (sausage wrapped in bread), chilena (a mix of tomatoes, onions, olive oil and a bunch of spices), and our new favorite drink, pisco sours. Lorena made some of the best pisco sours we have had in Chile up to this point, adding fresh mint leaves to really enhance the flavor.
Spending time in Santiago with the family was just what we needed to recharge our travel batteries. We relaxed, ate, saw a movie, did laundry and took the metro to several places (which most of the time came with live entertainment!)
It was very low key and that was alright with us after all the traveling we had been doing. We absolutely loved our time with Isabel’s family and we someday hope to return to see them again!
Honorable mentions: Laleona and Martín, our sweet home away from home kitties that belong to Carlos and Lorena.