South America

We just returned a few days ago from an amazing (and near perfect) adventure to Chile and Argentina with two of our favorite friends. I will just say that South America in general is photography heaven. Bright colors, beautiful and interesting people, and ridiculous landscapes are just some of the photographic candy that I was fortunate enough to encounter. If you’ve never been, add it to your bucket list. I definitely feel a return trip in our future.

Valparaiso and Viña del Mar- Chile

When we arrived in Chile, it was hot. However, coming from the end of Nashville winter (although I’m not totally sure we had a “real” winter in Nashville) to the end of a Chilean summer was pretty amazing. After getting settled in our hostel and taking in the ridiculous view, we were ready to explore.

 After touring around Valparaiso, we went to dinner at the house of Hunter’s host family. He studied abroad here in college, and the family was amazing. We sat in their beautiful courtyard until late in the evening, eating and drinking wine while making new friends. 

I will say that Chileans (and perhaps many South Americans) as a whole are extremely welcoming and hospitable. The host family and their friends welcomed us in with hugs and a kiss on the cheek like they had known us for years. It certainly made the first day of the trip very memorable.

Day two started the tour-de-wine (that remained a theme on the entire trip)! Chilean and Argentinian wine is cheap and extremely good. We toured a beautiful vineyard in the Casablanca Valley complete with wine and cheese tasting at the end.

Mendoza- Argentina

After a quick flight to Mendoza, we took a taxi ride to our hotel. Thanks to my hotel points (racked up during my time at my old job in my pre-photography life), we were able to stay at one of the nicest places in the city. 

After a picnic lunch in a park with fountains dyed red to look like wine (celebrating the grape harvest festival), we wandered through neighborhoods and parks to get a feel for the city. Mendoza, I think you stole my heart because certain parts of you reminded me of Charleston! Beautiful gates, palm trees, and cobblestone streets….such a pretty city.

Mendoza and the surrounding towns are known for their vineyards, so we took a bike tour to visit several. It was a great way to slowly see some of the countryside and get a little bit of exercise to work off the wine we tasted!:)The first vineyard was a small family-owned operation. We really enjoyed getting to hear the story of how it started and what each family member does to help.

Their high-end wine, called Filosofos, is aptly named because when the owner of the vineyard was testing it out on his friends, he said that they turned into philosophers- discussing the meaning of life, origins of the universe, etc. We really appreciated the personal touch the family took towards each type of wine that they made. Definitely a great tour.

Vineyard number two on the bike tour was much larger and was actually one of the oldest vineyards in Mendoza.

Even despite their size and use of technology, it was amazing to us what they still did by hand (all the way down to turning each bottle of sparkling wine {every.single.day.} to ensure that it settled correctly). Their wine was wonderful, and LaGarde Wine is available at some places in the US. If you see it, go get some. You will be glad you did.

Bariloche- Argentina

We got to Bariloche by a 16-hour bus ride, which wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Their long distance buses are really nice, with seats that fold flat into beds, so you can actually sleep comfortably. Probably the highlight of the bus ride was a game of bingo (in Spanish of course) started by the bus attendant. Yours truly won a bottle of wine (best bingo prize ever!) at 9 in the morning. Not a bad way to start the day. (Note- we did not drink the wine at 9 in the morning).:)Bariloche is in the Patagonia region of Argentina. The fact that a city is in Patagonia means it is going to be beautiful. And it was. We stayed in a cabin by the lake with some of the bluest water I have seen in a long time.

While we were there we went on a hike to climb up to an overlook. Not really sure how to explain how beautiful it was, but photos don’t really do it justice.

Buenos Aires- Argentina

Perhaps one of the most (potentially) photographic cities on our trip ended up with me taking almost no photos at all. Our time in Buenos Aires was very short, and what was to be our day of touring was ruined by hours of rain. We did brave walking in the downpour, stopping in cafes to dry off and get some coffee. But my camera did not leave its (waterproof) bag. Sad. Buenos Aires, I will return when you have sunnier days.

Overall, if you have not taken a trip to our southern sister continent, I highly recommend it. Traveling is so good for your soul. To see another culture, other people, a different way of life. Reminds you that things can be different, and its okay. Great even.:)

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