Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Arden

Last week we celebrated Arden`s 25th Birthday with not one, but two suprise parties. There were two cakes smashed in his face. You have no idea how had it is to throw a suprise paty for someone you spend 24 hours a day with! But, somehow with good friends helping, it worked...TWICE!

The next day we travelled to Valdivia, one of the oldest and most historic cities in Chile. It was beautiful and plus there was an Oktoberfest. We toured around the city for hours looking for a place to stay which allowed us to see most of the town. We dined on pizza and Kunstmann beer with friends and then headed to the Beerfest in the park. We tried some amazing beers and wore funny hats! Our favorite was Chocolate Naranja. mmmmm!! Yum!

In the morning we toured around the city. We went to a old Spanish fort, we were able to see the ancient ruins, cannons and hear the history of Chilean Independence. And our tour guide was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow.
The Old Church

The Cannons and the Ocean
After a long day of history we got on boat and went to a little island for fresh sea food. It was delicious. We had fried fish and french fries and drank wine from coffee mugs.

It was a wonderful weekend, thanks to all our Temuco friends that helped make Arden`s 25th one to remember!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Skiing on the top of a Volcano

We skiied Llaima (pronounced JI-MA).

This was one of the most AMAZING experienes of a lifetime. The Laima volcano is located in the Andes Mountains. It is covered in snow all year and can only be described as a white desert. At the resort there were only about 50 other people. You can take as much time as you like skiing down, accross, backwards or any other way you like. There are no runs, only abyss.

We made our way to the very top where it feels like you are standing on the top of the world. To get there it is necessary to take "the lift" up the volcano, then ski down pretty far, stop yourself in the middle of the mountain and then hold on for dear life on what I can only describe as an ice pick on a rope and pray you don't fall off as you are pulled to the top. A million swear words and seven near death experiences later, we made it to the top. IT WAS WORTH IT!!!

Arden walking into the whiteness

So happy we are alive

The View

 Look closely, you can see the ice pick we arrived on

The white desert


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fiestas Patrias!

Two weeks ago we traveled to Concepcion, the second largest city in Chile, to share "Fiestas Patrias," the Chilean Independence Day with two of our new friends and their families.  Feliz Diez y Ocho!  (Happy 18th).  Turns out, they celebrate much in the same way we do - with barbeques and beer!  Well, almost the same.  They replace beer with delicious Chilean Ponche (white wine w/ chunks of various fruits) and Chicha (fruity champagne w/ a kick).  They replace fireworks with more eating and drinking.  Most importantly, they do it all as a family.  We had the pleasure of joining a wonderful family who's mission was to keep our plates full of home cooked Chilean tradition for 48 hours straight.  They succeeded.  We gained 5 kilos each.  Awesome!  Below are a few of the traditional dishes from the feast:

 The Barbeque

 Student Protests
 The Beautiful Campus
Enjoying the Campus

"Empanadas de Pino" - Chile's most traditional empanada stuffed with a blend of beef, onions, one olive,one egg and a hint of merken (chilean chile pepper)
"Congrio" - rich, flakey white fish direct from the local fishing port cooked in a savory broth with potatoes and vegetables.
"Cazuela" - stew of fish, chicken or beef, potatoes, a pumpkin-like squash, and assorted vegetables in a broth
"Chorripan" - traditional Chilean sausage grilled over carbon flame and eaten on toasted Chilean bread with a Pevre dressing (Pevre is a blend of fresh tomatoes, onions, and parsley like salsa).  Mayonnaise, ketchup and "mostaza" (sweet mustard) are also available for added flavor.
"Anticucho"- Chile's version of shishkabobs.  Grilled sausage, steak, onions, and peppers on a stick.
Barbeque - giant pile of assorted meat served with grilled potatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes, beet salad, and more meat

Between meals, we also visited the Universidad de Concepcion (Chile's largest university, on strike since July), Talcahuano (fishing port and Naval base that was leveled by the after earthquake tsunami in 2010), and beautiful downtown Concepcion (Chile's second largest city).  See pics!

Downtown Concepcion

Fish Market

Famous Ship in Talcahuna

Finally, we made a pit stop at the Salto del Laja (Chile's baby Niagra Falls) on our return trip to Temuco.  After a few photos, a keychain souvenier, and a bag of Equino Gerky (horse meat jerky), we made our way home. 

The Waterfall

Many thanks and love to Felipe, Pamela, and their wonderful families for taking us in and showing us what it means to be a Chilean family. 

The Medina Family