About an hour West of Santiago lies the small town of Pomaire, Chile, known for its ceramic pottery and surrounding hills covered by avocado trees. We went on a weekend with Grima’s Brother, Raul, and his wife, Gloria. Seemed like the whole city of Santiago had decided to weekend there. I remember the first time I went there back in the 60’s – streets weren’t paved, hardly a soul around, but still great pottery. It’s grown somewhat from that time, but if you walk a block or two off the main drag you’ll see the more authentic town that has been around for quite someRead More →

December 25th in Chile is in the summer – the same as June in California. It can be a little disconcerting for those of us used to Christmas in the winter. Some of the traditions from the North have made their way down here. Lights and Christmas trees are seen in many places.   Lit trees adorn Calle Pedro de Valdivia in Providencia, Santiago.   But there’s more adherence to the traditional Christmas celebrations of the birth of Jesus. Manger scenes are plentiful and the baby Jesus doesn’t appear till Midnight Christmas Eve. Manger on the right, Christmas Tree on the left of the ProvidenciaRead More →

After a whirlwind trip we came to the final day in Chile for Michelle, Andrew and Canaan. The flight left close to midnight giving us time to do a little more exploring around Santiago. We took them to the Costanera Center in Providencia, an upscale community of Santiago. It’s the largest shopping mall in South America. From there we went to the Parque Bicentenario just a little ways away in the community of Vitacura. A wonderful way to relax in the summer sun and a beautiful end to their trip to Chile.   When I visited Chile in 2007 I took this picture of theRead More →

Prior to Michelle and Andrew’s departure from Chile. we all got together with family at the house of our nephew, Mauricio. Mauricio and his wife, Nicole, had returned the previous year from a stint in the US while attending Stanford. Mauricio received his doctorate Nicole her Masters.  I remember vividly a previous trip to Chile where I helped Mauro with the application process to get into Stanford. It was very gratifying when he was accepted into the program and came to California, just a short drive from out home in Roseville. This was a chance for most of the family to reconnect with Michelle andRead More →

Temuco is the center of the region known as ‘La Araucania”, the base of the Mapuche indigenous culture in South America. Victor and Silvia have lived there for over 40 years and were they raised their family. We stayed with them in their apartment in Temuco and also in their house in Pucon, at the base of the Villarrica Volcano.   Volcano Villaricca as seen from the tourist town of Pucon, Chile. This is one of the volcanoes that erupted a month after we returned to the US.   The apartment building in Temuco where Victor and Silvia live. We stayed with them for aRead More →

When you go to Huilo Huilo, you can’t miss the Nothofagus Hotel (https://huilohuilo.com/our-accommodation/hotel-nothofagus/). One of the most unusual hotels I’ve seen. Outside it seems to merge with the natural environment, a sense that continues inside, especially with the spectacular circular atrium with rooms winding up in a circular path around a large tree taking up the interior space. Almost every square meter of the place makes one feel the outdoors.           Andrew, Michelle and Canaan       In the hotel you’ll see these amazing hand-crafted creatures, reflecting the magical quality of the place. They’re sold branded as “La Magica deRead More →

The Huilo Huilo Natural Reserve covers about 120,000 acres in central Southern Chile in a region known as the Seven Lakes. The reserve, a private ecotourism enterprise, was created in 1999. This was the last location on our day trip from Pucon, Chile, and it was a magical experience. We spent a few hours wandering along the paths around the Nothofagus Hotel, passing amazing waterfalls and through beautiful forests.     Hiking through the woods with Silvia and Victor in front, Canaan and Grima in middle and Andrew and Michelle taking up the rear.   Jon Wilhelmsen   Andrew and Michelle Blackford   Grima Wilhelmsen,Read More →

Grima’s brother, Victor ‘Pitin’ Farías and his wife, Silvia, live in Temuco, Chile, and have a small house in Pucón, Chile. Pucón is a resort town at the base of  Villarrica volcano, which erupted about 3 months after we were there. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villarrica_(volcano)). But, it was peaceful while we were there. We spent the night in Temuco and the next morning headed for Pucón where we spent much of the day. Mitch and Andrew with Villarrica Lake and Villarrica Volcano in the background.   Los Pozones is a natural hot springs about 37 km from Pucón towards the Argentine border. There are 7 separate pools andRead More →

Heading south on the Pan American Highway we made a stop at the Saltos del Laja (Laja Falls, or complete translation, ‘Flagstone Falls’). This is located about 31 km north of Los Angeles, Chile. It was a relatively dry summer so the Falls were pretty low compared to past flows, but still impressive nevertheless.   View from below   View from above   Mitch and Andrew   Canaan about to walk behind falls   A Chilean school group arriving   Contemplation   Group Photo   Mitch and Canaan cooling off   Ok, being a little silly – remembrances of engagement pixs   So, more toRead More →

We continue our trip up the coast with Mitch, Andrew and Canaan. Valparaíso is an old port town with steep hills that wrap around the bay. Viña del Mar’s character is totally opposite. Where Valpo is a working port city, just around the corner, Viña is a tourist destination. View of Valparaíso’s hills   This picture is an old one from 1966, but shows a pretty good view of the port city as it wraps around the bay.   Took a break from driving across from the old Valparaíso cemetery.   Time was running late so we passed through Valparaíso straight to Viña, where we had a bite to eat atRead More →