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God I love wine country

Hello hello!


We passed our month-aversary of traveling! Do we still struggle to get onto buses at the right time? Yes. Have we only done laundry twice? Also yes.


In my last update we were leaving Valparaiso to spend 5 days in Santiago, Chile. Santiago was so cool, with so many things to do. Dozens of free museums and parks, and a whole lot of delicious food (including Taco Bell!)

Chile was under the Pinochet dictatorship for seventeen years, between September 11 1973 and March 11 of 1990. Thousands of people were murdered, exiled, and "disappeared" during this time which created a gaping whole in the Chilean population, mainly of young men.


There is a beautifully constructed museum to commemorate the abuses suffered during this time called the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. It was sad and powerful and important.


We also visited the house Pablo Neruda built for his mistress in Santiago, which was a beautiful and nautical home separated into 3 different buildings that were connected by stone steps and obnoxious green grounds. It was very quirky and everything I want my house to be (except the doorways need to be a little taller!)


Then began our 2 night and 3 day hotel extravaganza sponsored by Maddy's parents in a 5-star hotel in central Santiago. We bought wine, pizza, and watched Princess Diaries in our bathrobes for two days- it was incredible.


During this time we began to get our feet wet with vino at a well-rated wine bar downtown. We tried 12 different Chilean wines and snarfed down a cheese plate before dining a a nearby French restaurant on Anna's moms dime (we are indeed spoiled).


Our next move was up in the air- we had an AirBnB booked in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina on September 20th but needed to fill ten days before that started.


What better way than wine country? Next thing we know we are crossing the Chile-Argentina border on top of the Andean mountain range.



For the last week or so we have wandered around quaint Argentinean cities drinking red wine and eating perfectly prepared Tira de Asado (shortribs) at various spots around town.



Mendoza, Argentina was our first stop and so far, my favorite. It is a small city with lots of parks, wineries, handcraft markets, bars, hostels in historic homes, and MEAT! Our hostel all chipped in for a barbeque night and we did not know what we were getting ourself into when we signed up. Three and a half hours of roasting meat meant that dinner started at roughly 11 p.m. The meat was worth it though, and we killed the time sharing card games from our respective countries (Cambio! from the French was the best).



Everyone suggests Ubering to the wineries because it's cheaper than a taxi and public transport only works if you are going to rent a bike. We heeded this advice the first day, and took an Uber to the Trapiche Bodega, in which we toured centuries-old facilities and majestic grounds littered with olive trees (they are big olive oil producers here, too).



The second day, we were not so lucky (or perhaps, we were not so smart). We attempted to take public transport, and after 2 buses and failing to find a taxi or hitchhike, we walked the remaining miles to our vineyard destination. Just for them to tell us they were no longer serving lunch at the ripe time of 3:30 p.m. Lesson learned, I suppose!


We still had a great time and found empanadas at the next winery, which was within reasonable walking distance.


After our stay in Mendoza, we took a three hour bus to San Rafael, where we are currently located. It is a smaller city than Mendoza, but it reflects the same hospitable charm and adorable downtown. Today we visited a garden labyrinth designed to honor the memory of Jorge Luis Borges, a famous Argentinean thinker, writer, and friend. As fall kicks off in the U.S., this is the closest we will get to a corn maze for a while (I suppose Florida doesn't have any corn mazes, but it feels more attainable over there!)



We are attempting to rent an automatic car tomorrow to drive to el Cañon del Atuel, a canyon that is supposed to be incredible for water sports and scenery! Hopefully that goes smoothly (or at least without disaster!)


Next on our list is San Carlos de Bariloche, the "Switzerland of Argentina" as all the blogs call it. After a 14 hour bus ride from San Rafael, we will be welcomed with artisan chocolate, craft beer, skiing, and mesmerizing lake views- we are sure to have a good time. I will be celebrating my golden birthday (23 on the 23rd!) there thanks to my parents renting us the AirBnB! We are stoked.


Anywho, hope life is good wherever you are.


Lots of love,

Lauren Kinsey Kuhlman



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