I worked for some wonderful people before FriendsEAT: Rich Scelfo and Lucy Lombardi. They are partners in Seaboard Brokers, a wine importer specializing in wines from Chile, Argentina and Italy. They are the epitome of what bosses should be. They taught me, molded me, and I model my management strategy after them (and Arnold Casamenti who was my manager at the Shoe department at Nordstrom). I have an incredible amount of respect for their work ethic, the way they deal with people, AND their business savvy. If you ever meet them, consider yourself lucky.
I worked with Seaboard for quite a few years and had the opportunity to explore both Chile and Argentina. Chile was my first trip to Latin America since I left Colombia in 1987. I didn't really know what to expect. My mother had visited Chile when I was a child and she loved it, so I had an idea that it would be wonderful, but I was not prepared for all the wonders Chile had in store. In this post, I'll be discussing what I love about Chile and giving you some travel tips to make your trip to Chile fun, easy, and painless.
The Ups: EVERYTHING. Chile has skiing, swimming, desserts, lakes, wineries, ostrich farms, incredible seafood, gorgeous architecture, the Andes mountains, Valparaiso, and most importantly lovely people...and if you don't speak Spanish...no need to worry, most of these lovely people speak English. Make sure to schedule a trip to Isla Negra to check out Pablo Neruda's house and to pick up some Caldillo de Congrio at el Caleluche (I dream of that soup on a monthly basis).
The Downs: Chile is damn far. It is an 11 hour flight from New York to Chile...so get your xanax and vodka ready for the flight. Another negative about going to Chile is that you probably won't want to go home.
I stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Santiago de Chile. Although I'm not a fan of Hotels, this is an excellent hotel. Great food, great wine list and really good amenities.
Things to do in Chile:
- Visit the wineries, there are plenty of them all over the country. Obviously I am biased, but Santa Carolina and Vina Casablanca are truly stunning.
- Go to Valparaiso (I'll have to find my pics) this is a gorgeous seaside town. While you are there, check out the Museo Marítimo Nacional, you can learn all about Chile's Maritime history.
- Spend some time in Vina del Mar. Great beaches (although the water is cold, so I don't recommend a swim there). There are some really trendy restaurants, and the famous "Reloj de Flores" flower clock.
- Go to Isla Negra. Like I said above, check out Pablo Neruda's House and eat some Caldillo - Yummy
- Lakes Region in the south. Think the greenest, most beautiful place on earth.
- Go to the Atacama...you don't need to go to Africa to experience the desert, Chile's Atacama should do just fine
- Eat ostrich, there are tons of Ostrich farms
- Check out the Mercado de Pulgas for great finds from farmers and artisans
- Did I mention drink wine? yeah..their Sauvignon Blancs are stunning and so are their cold weather Syrahs. They also have Carmenere which is pretty much extinct anywhere else
- Meet some locals. Chileans are lovely...just don't tell my Argentinean friends I said this.