February 18 , 2024 /


I am not a vegetarian nor a rabid carnivore. I believe in moderation in eating and am fortunate to enjoy an inclusive, diverse diet .  Given a choice between meat or fresh fruits and veggies, I will take the latter.  Carne (meat, especially beef) plays large in the diets and menus in Argentina and Chile.  However, my last few days in Chile were enriched by an array of fresh fruits that included tasty and sweet watermelon, mango, papaya, pineapple, cherries, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, apples, oranges and grapes. Chile and Mexico export tremendous amounts of fruits and vegetables to the United States and having them at the source without shipping and storing and distributing is a treat.


As we were flying back to Mexico yesterday from Santiago, my mind wandered to what the standouts were for me of our too brief visit. At 40,000 feet, zipping along above the clouds at 555 mph, our LATAM 787-8, powered by two, giant, Rolls Royce engines, gave me a few hours for contemplation and reflection.  The rest of the 8.5-hour flight was given to sleeping and eating, breakfast and lunch.  We left SCL at 9 AM and arrived MEX around 2:30 PM as Mexico is 3 hours ahead of Chile.


I appreciate how privileged we are to be able to travel extensively and enjoy the discoveries and delights of adventures to new and different places.  I love learning about people and places, and connecting with them in something more than tourist mode, whatever that is.  Having said that, as someone limited in language and sophisticated global travels, I welcome these adventures with an open mind and friendly connections with those who are different.  These connections enrich my understanding and respect for the people and their environments.  So, here are my three top experiences in Chile although there were many more.


The first experience was the VIK vineyards and winery near Millahue, San Vicente de Tagua Chile, about a two-hour drive from Santiago.  In 2004 Alex and Carrie Vic set out with the audacious goal of making one of the world’s best wines. After a 2-year scientific search they found the best terroir in South America in Millahue (Cachapoal Valley) of Chile, a beautiful country dedicated to producing world-class wines. The vineyards, hotel retreat and winery sit in the middle of 10,000 acres.   You can read part of the story here.  Suffice to say, it was a once in a lifetime experience to spend a couple of days at Vina Vik.  There are three other world-class properties developed by Alex and Carrie Vik.



When I told a good friend who was familiar with Chile that we were going to Santiago and asked him what we should include, he said that if we can, go for a visit to the Lake District and Puerto Varas.  I reserved a flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt, rented a car for a couple of days and we drove the few miles to Puerto Varas on Lake Llanquihue with terrific view of the Osorno Volcano in the distance.  The lake itself is spectacular and the surroundings are pristine.  We drove also to Frutillar and Ensanada.  The following photos are of Puerto Varas and  another closer view of Osorno.  Chile’s Lake District is aptly named. There are twelve major lakes in the district, with dozens more dotting the landscape. Between the lakes, there are rivers, waterfalls, forests, thermal hot springs, and the Andes, including six volcanos with Villarica being the highest at 9,341 feet (2,847 meters) and one of the most active volcanoes in Latin America.












The Lake District is a major highlight of many tours to and within Chile. The scenery has been likened to Switzerland, and with the early emigrations from Germany and the resultant German feel to farms, towns, and traditions, it is cosmopolitan, yet entirely Chilean.


The third “experience” was meeting the people of Chile who are like the people in Mexico and other Latin American cultures where family is the highest value and priority, where good manners, politeness and respect are practiced daily, where food and drink are more than sustenance, like domestic arts and sacraments, and where, as outsiders from another country, we feel welcomed and accepted in spite of our differences.  We met Juan Carlos and his wife Monica, plus daughter Trinity, waiting for birth of 2nd daughter, little sister, Amalie, in April,  at an airport, then later on the same plane and we invited them to dinner. We enjoyed sharing stories of origins, families, work and why we all live where we do. The history of Chile, like the history of Mexico, is that they gained their independence from Spain.  The U.S. gained its independence from Great Britain and then expanded west by taking land from the indigenous people.  People from Spain came originally to take treasures back to Spain and some stayed, married locals and more family returned from Spain.  Some say the U.S. was settled where Latin America was conquered and that makes for some interesting and different histories.

For us, it’s back home to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, until the next adventure.  This blog will resume its other topics inspired by whatever thoughts and experiences bubble up in the coming weeks and months.  In the meantime, thanks for reading and I will connect and post again a little farther down the road.



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