My Mom kept a diary while we were all in Chile. Rather than re-write out everything we did, I decided to take the lazy way out and just post her log of activities. Yay for lazy!
Wednesday, December 19 and Thursday, December 20
Eric picked us up at the house and took us to SFO. Tracy has a cold! We took American Airlines flight to Los Angeles. We walked over to the International terminal and changed the seats for Tripp. After a hamburger at McDonalds, we boarded the Lan flight to Lima.
After a chicken dinner (ravioli for Tripp) we slept most of the trip. Layover in Lima – Tracy feeling bad! We then caught the flight to Quito arriving about 4:00 pm. After customs we took a taxi (bad traffic) to the hotel – Nu House in La Marisal right on the Plaza Foch. Great hotel, very modern. Nice 4th floor room – Tracy on 1st floor.
A quick shower and then we walked around the square. Dinner at BBQ & Co. which is cattycorner from our hotel. I had spaghetti and pulled pork (good), Tripp had fish and Tracy had a steak sandwich. We got a pitcher of Pilsener beer (tasteless). We bought water and headed back to room. Bed.
Friday, December 21
Breakfast at Q, a restaurant right below the hotel. A buffet – pretty good. Taxi into Old Town. Saw President’s palace, government buildings, walked all around. Went into a museum on the history of money in Ecuador. Interesting. Went into Grand Hotel on Square. We were tired so went back to hotel. Lunch at Magic Bean. Tripp wanted Happy Hour Pancakes but they no longer serve them. I had nachos, Tripp had pizza and Tracy had potato soup. Tracy still sick. Tripp and I walked around area, found a beautiful art store. Rested. Katy came in and she wasn’t feeling well.
Dinner at Cinquecento (Italian). Katy ended up joining us. I had fried calamari/prawns. Others had pastas and Katy had minestrone soup. Back to hotel.
Saturday, December 22
Up early, taxi to train station. Caught a tourist train to Machachi. Nothing there. Cold and rainy. Took a tour of a local farm- “good energy” as it is center of 3 volcanoes. Saw horses, llamas, goats, rabbits. Lunch at old farmhouse. Very good food – empanadas, celery soup, pork or chicken, papaya for dessert. Guide played guitar and sang. Young kids from tour also joined in. Lots of fun! Train back to Quito. Got lucky and found cab right away. Back to hotel. Rested.
Got free drink at Azure Beach bar across the street (mojitos) Then bucket of beer and nachos at BBQ & Co. Odd because Pilsener beer better in bottles then on tap! Asked hotel for typical Ecuadorian food restaurant – they sent us to Mama Clorinda’s. It had a large menu but was only serving turkey, lamb and potatoes as it was Christmastime. Left and went to Dors – new restaurant that we had found on our walk. Just opened – no customers. But good and very pretty. Tripp and Katy shared a meal of 3 steaks with different sauces (lemon, mushroom and red wine). Tracy and I had languistino bisque and a shrimp torte (like a napoleon – very good but Tracy did not like the sauce as it was avocado). Walked back to hotel. Bed.
Sunday, December 23
Hotel did not do wake up call. Woke up at 4:52 – had to be at airport by 5:30! But we made it. Checked bags then checked into Aerogal flight to Galapagos! Met at San Cristobal Island airport by guides Omar and Daniel. Bus to town (San Cristobal) then tendered to boat, Monserrat.
Got settled in. Cabins small but fine. Unpacked. Lunch (spaghetti buffet) then got on bus to Galapaguera Land Tortoise breeding center. Learned all about what they are doing to save the tortoises. Very interesting. Back to town, walked around. Stopped at bar and had beers and fried plantains with cheese. Good. Back to boat. Had peach drink and introduced to crew. Dinner was fish over carrots and beets with really good sauce. Dessert was poached pear in cherry sauce – very good! Exhausted, went to bed. Took a Dramamine and put on wrist pressure bracelet. Slept fine!
Monday, December 24
Breakfast – eggs and pancakes. Then took panga (tender) around cliffs of Cerra Brujo – through natural arch – beautiful. Back to boat then got snorkel equipment then boat to beach. Saw sea lions, blue footed boobie, warblers, frigate birds, lava gull. No marine iguanas! Then relaxed. Back to boat. Lunch was eggplant parmesan, cauliflower, chicken curry, meat. Chocolate mousse for dessert. Then snorkeling to Kicker Island. Water cold. Saw sharks – Galapagos and black tipped, sea turtle, damselfish, starfish. Back to boat. Rest. Excursion to beach, Playa Ochoa. Hermit crabs and stingrays.
Got out Christmas tree. Beer before dinner. Mine was vinegar! Dinner is turkey for Christmas Eve dinner. Eggplant parmesan, sweet carrots, green beans, Caesar salad, tomatoes and mozzarella. Birthday cake for dessert for Annmaria. To bed – rough voyage but no sea sickness.
Tuesday, December 25
Breakfast – fried eggs and French toast. Excursion was a walk on a sandy beach of Espanola Island. Gardner Bay – lots of sea lions, finches. No marine iguanas! Snorkeling around little island – sea lions, stingray, lots more fish. Sea lion nipped at guys fins! Lunch of typical Ecuadorian food – very nice. Coconut rice, peanut sauce on potatoes, fish, chicken, fruit. Hike on beach –and around to Suerez Point: marine iguanas, the waved albatross (on this island only), blue footed boobies, Nasca boobies – really neat. Saw the “Soplador” or blowhole.
Dinner was pasta and meatballs, tiramisu. We played dominoes then bed.
Wednesday, December 26
Breakfast of hardboiled eggs and toast. Floreana or Charles Island. Landed at greenish (olivine crystals) beach called Comorant Point. Saw Great Blue heron. Walked across island to a lagoon with beautiful sticky sand. Saw flamingoes, sea turtles mating and females leaving shore after nesting. Snorkeling around Post Office Bay. Lots of fish, playful sea lions, Galapagos penguins! Cold water though. Got a postcard from Palo Alto left the day before!
Sailed to Santa Cruz Island. Coconut shrimp and cake for dinner. Pangaed into town Walked around.
Thursday, December 27
Bags out, Breakfast. Pangaed to Charles Darwin Reserve. Land tortoises and yellow iguanas. Bus to other side of island. Ferry then another bus. To airport. Somewhere along way girls bags were robbed (Evan’s jacket and Tracy’s Iphone plug and some headphones.) Aerogal to Guanaquil then Quito. Taxi to hotel. Got settled (we are in kid’s old room) – shower that felt great (tiny showers on boat). Tracy got bad news about mortgage – very unhappy. I went and checked out shops while Katy and Tripp had beers. Some neat places. Met Tripp and Katy at bar – San Jose State in bowl game on tv! Tripp, Katy and I went to Mama Clorinda’s Ecuadorian restaurant again. Katy and I shared sampler plate – good – 3 kinds of meat (pork, goat and beef or lamb), fried plantains, hominy, Peruvian giant corn, chicharronne. Tripp had a beef dinner.
Friday, December 28
Breakfast at Q again, Tracy joined us. Went on a city tour with a guide. Through the cathedral – neat, volcanic ash rock, can see angel statute on hill through back window. Then to town square. Saw old bishops house (now shops and restaurants). Went through “gold” church – covered in gold leaf, La Compania De Jesus. Up to the angel statue – great lookout – she is standing on a dragon. Then drove 1 hour to Middle of the World. Kind of hokey but lots of fun. Shrunken heads, facsimiles of native houses and graves. Line where 0.00 latitude is (equator is actually 26 kilometers wide). Saw demo of water swirling in different directions. Katy rested egg on nail. She got a certificate. Drunken walking on line. Then back to hotel. Girls and I went back to art shops and bought a few things.
Free mojitos again but at Q (really good). Group was burning figures in effigy for New Years – creepy. Dinner at Achiote – Ecuadorian. Tracy had ¼ guinea pig (not much meat and gristly) Tripp had goat. Katy had soup and I had grilled shrimp. Appetizer was delicious rice cakes with cheese.
Saturday, December 29
Up early. Out to airport. Flight to Guayaquil then to Santiago. Rental car at airport. To Katy’s apartment. Started laundry – first load was stinky shoes from boat! 2 more loads that day. Went for pizza below her apartment. Ran into a couple from our flight. Katy gave them ideas of places to go. Walked to PWC – saw Katy’s office. Tried to get dinner on way back but no one had any money. So had cheese and crackers at Katy’s.
Sunday, December 30
More laundry. Katy and Tracy went to get Evan (they missed him) at the airport. Tripp and I walked down to Juan Valdez and Starbucks. Packed up – car loaded! Off to Indominita winery. Beautiful – up on hill. Lunch was delicious. I had 2 appetizers: 3 types of shrimp (bisque, fried and ceviche). Tracy had grouper, Evan had conger soup, Katy had salmon and Tripp had steak salad. Wine tour. Bought some wines. Then had dessert – an assortment!
To Valpariaso apartment. Sparse but great view. We had our second Christmas. Met Liam (Kiwi) and Jules (English). She is 8 months pregnant. Liam made dinner – chicken pasta and salad.
Monday, December 31
Liam made pancakes with fruit. We walked into town. Stopped at ship bar – great! Had chorollana – the fries/meat/onion/egg thing. Bought hats and yellow underwear (for good luck). Went up an ascendor. Liam made a pork loin stuffed with prunes, couscous salad. Ice cream from New Zealand for dessert – delicious. Fireworks show – amazing!
Tuesday, January 1
Liam and Jules left. We drove to Vina del Mar and around to Playa Cocha. Pisco sours and ceviche at little restaurant. Back to apartment. Dressed for dinner. Savor Color closed but they recommended another place so we went to La Concepcion restaurant. Everything was delicious. I had filet, Tripp had ravioli with crab, Tracy had hake, Evan had conger on eggplant and Katy had shrimp curry. We shared an appetizer of shrimp in filo dough.
Wednesday, January 2
Up early. Katy and Evan caught bus to Santiago. We drove to Punta de Choros. No problems except in La Serena – a mad house. We tried to go to restaurant in Old Town but it was packed with people and no parking. Ended up at mall eating at Subway and paying to park in their lot. Got into town around 4:30. Waited at restaurant Eneyoe for man to guide us to cabana. Drank Coronas. Way down a maze of dirt roads. Settled in. Funky little cabins. Walked along water. Drove into town. Ate at same restaurant – shrimp empanadas (delicious), locos (dense and not very tasty) and conger. I went to bed. Tracy and Tripp watched an episode of Supernatural on her Ipad.
Thursday, January 3
Breakfast in cabana. To Harbor San Augustine for boat tour. Met Willie @gmail.com for English tour. Tour was great! First we went to Choros Island. Dolphins frolicked around our boat. Saw on island: sea lions, 3 types of cormorants, vultures and Humboldt penguins. Plus we saw the endangered sea otter. Then on to Isla Damas. We walked around it for an hour. Back to harbor.
Back to restaurant for beers and shrimp and queso empanadas – delicious. To cabana for a nap. Dinner at same restaurant – this time ling cod and corvino (sea bass) fried. Back to cabana.
Friday, January 4
Breakfast at cabana. Packed up and drove back to Santiago. No bathrooms for a long time after La Serena. Lunch at a Shell station – hot dogs and empanadas. No problem getting back. I took a bath as I had not bathed in Punta de Choros. Taxi to Katy’s work. Walked about a mile to a neat bar and restaurant at the end of the Park of the Americas, Mestizo. Kids fed flamingos in park. Had pisco sours and ceviche. Evan met us there. Taxi to another area. Spanish restaurant Pinpilinpausha (Basque). Had paella and salad. Taxi back to apartment.
Saturday, January 5
Slept in. Walked to Barrio Italiano. The place we were to have brunch had construction next door that was very noisy so we left and ate at a little outdoor café, Café Anay. Tripp and Katy had the Big Breakfast. Tracy and I had delicious pizzas (whole wheat crust, serrano ham. cheese, heart of palm, artichoke hearts and onion). Walked through cute shops. Walked over to Central Market and Plaza de Armes – the artist wasn’t there.
Walked over to BellaVista and had beers at usual place, Backstage Bar and Restaurant. Walked back to apartment. Rested. Dinner in little area , Lastarria, at Restaurant Peztoro. Shrimp croquettes, Katy and Evan shared fish, Tripp had pizza and Tracy had chicken kebobs. Taxi home.
Sunday, January 6
Slept in. Drove to Santa Rita Winery. Beautiful. Nice tour. Wine tasting. Delicious lunch at Dona Paula Restaurant in a beautiful room. Swordfish, seabass, salads, salmon carpaccio and I had scallops parmesan. Spiral cookie with ice cream and caramel sauce for dessert. Stopped at Lider on way home to get stuff for next 2 dinners. Guys dropped off rental car and walked to California Cantina to watch playoff game and drink beer. Girls took taxi to Plaza de Armes. Katy surprised us with makeup lessons with Victor for our Christmas present. He was a hoot. It was lots of fun. Katy was “daytime”, I was “late afternoon early evening” and Tracy was “night”. It was great. We ordered some things that we have to pick up on Tuesday.
Back to apartment. Evan cooked steaks and veggies. More football. Watched part of a movie (too dumb) and went to bed.
Monday, January 7
Katy and Evan off to work. Tripp and Tracy taxied up San Cristobal and walked down while I made pumpkin pies. Lunch at sushi restaurant below the apartment. Then Tracy and I went to Los Dominigos looking for copper pots and other things. Did not find much.
Cooked turkey. Liam and Jules came over. Marcello made it for dinner. Turkey was good but not as juicy as last one. But it was lots of fun.
Tuesday, January 8
Katy and Evan to work. Tripp, Tracy and I went to Plaza de Armes to go to PreColumbian museum. Could not find it. Turns out it was closed for renovation! So we walked to Santa Lucia. Then back to Plaza to meet up with Victor to get makeup. Back to apartment and lunch at pizza place.
Met Katy at her office and walked to W hotel. Met Evan and had pisco sours. Walked across street to Tiramisu and had dinner. (Tripp and Evan had pianini, Katy had salad and I had pasta). We ran into couple from our Santa Rita wine tour. They are from Louisville and live on a horse farm. His son had just climbed a mountain in Chile and 2 young men from Kentucky had died doing it also. Taxi home.
Wednesday, January 9
Packed up in the morning. Tracy had a hair appointment with famous guy. Katy got off work and we went to Bellavista and had beers while waiting for Tracy. Her hair looked fantastic! He suited it to her hair type and coloring. We all loved it. Lunch at Como Aqua Para Chocolate. Really neat restaurant. We had 3 types of pisco sours (ginger, merkin and aji). Had 3 appetizers: ceviche, meat and veggie relleno and _______. Got copper pots.
Back to apartment, finished packing and got ready to fly. Went to Bravissimo for ice cream. Got the Millennium Berries. Huge thing with 4 types of ice cream (strawberry, raspberry sorbet, vanilla and chocolate mousse) with berries and raspberry sauce. It was delicious and we ate the whole thing! Santiago was hot – 95 degrees!
Taxi to airport. Saw the people from Louisville again. Plane to Lima (watched movie, Looper ). Plane to SFO – tried to sleep. Watched Who is Bernie. Tracy got sick the last 2 hours and threw up on landing. Joe Warren picked us up. Home to cold weather.