29 April 2017
Picture perfect is the view from our beach villa in Concon. The stunning blue ocean dotted with sailboats directly in front of us and an impressive number of big yachts in the marina a little to the left. Top this off with clear blue skies, sunshine and a gentle sea breeze and you have our Saturday afternoon captured.
The boys’ fire is almost ready for our barbeque and the bubbles ice cold and ready. Life is wonderful!!
We took a local bus from Valparaiso and travelled about an hour down the coast. First we passed through Vina del Mar, a modern city with many high-rises and shops. Very neat with a lovely boardwalk and park along the shore over a couple of kilometres. Next down the coast is Renaca and then Concon. All these places, from Valparaiso to Concon, are intertwined. It’s impossible to see where one ends and the next starts. From one end of the bay to the other, it looks like one sprawling city from the ocean up the hills and around the bay.
Our arrival in Concon was not exactly uneventful. Not only did we have to walk for miles with our backpacks and food, but we did so in the wrong direction. Not all that difficult to accomplish when your host speaks no English and doesn’t provide you with a proper address. It’s a bit like hit and miss. And a loooooooooooooong walk!! But we got there in the end. Hot and sweaty and tired and hungry (we are always hungry!!). Our host was super nice, though, and drove 2 hours all the way from Santiago to personally welcome us to his holiday villa. His wife joined him and saw to it that we were surprised with a lovely clean place. Finding clean accommodation has not been the rule, but the exception, unfortunately. All very character building, so we can’t complain too much.
Our friendly host took us up to our fourth level villa in the cable car lift. The kids LOVED it! Between our almost non-existent Spanish and Ricardo’s translator on his phone, we manage to connect and have a few laughs. Amazing how language is an important, but only small part of communication.
It’s been three glorious days of soaking up the gorgeous views and we all feel like we could stay here forever. Jarik has even spotted an old dilapidated oceanfront building we could fix and turn into a hostel, bakery and penthouse apartment. We’ve been running along the narrow, winding ocean road every morning. So beautiful and special. And dark!! Especially the second morning. Sunrise is only at 8am, so if you’re running between 6 and 7, you don’t even get to see the light dawning until you’re back on your porch. And it makes for a very interesting run, especially in those areas without street lights. Just ask Kali, who tripped over a rock and left some skin on the pavement.
Yesterday Jarik and I left the kids at home to do some school work, while the two of us explored the Casablanca wine region. We both love cool climate wines, so we were in the right spot for a good experience. No sooner were we getting into our first tasting session or an earthquake shook the place so violently that I thought the wine bottles might end up on top of us. We all had to run outside where we had to decide whether we would move our tasting venue or go back into the cellar. In the meantime, the kids back home experienced the same quake. Two by the time we got in touch with them – they outside on the beach after their evacuation and us back in the cellar. Not much that you can do in a situation like that, other than to stay calm and enjoy the excitement.
The kids finally made their way back into our villa and managed to do a surprising amount of school work. Jarik and I continued our wine tasting, had a beautiful entrée with a delectable, heavy, buttery chardonnay and moved onto the next winery. By the time we got home, we were all laughing about our earth-shattering day and were ready for a night out on our ocean town.
Concon turned out to be a stunning holiday for our family. Love, love love it!!
– Mariza –