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Roadtripping down the south Coast

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With a second bank holiday on the horizon, Hattie, Nic and I decided that it was time to plan another trip. Although, having decided this we took a very long time to put our plan into motion and only got ourselves in gear on Friday, as I organised to hire a car. We went along ready to sign anything they asked us, as Barbara had given us an amazingly cheap car, but just as we were about to hand over the signed contract she notice that we were English and said that there insurance wouldn't allowed us to drive. 'The British and the Africans' were here exact words, dreadful.

I am now writing this several weeks after the trip, but hopefully I can still remember what went down.

In the end we managed to hire a car through some dodgy deal that my flatmate, Mari, managed to arrange and so she accompanied us as we drove south. After having several arguements, due to Mari's insistance that she is always right, we hit the road.

We first travelled through all the touristy beaches, those that attract people from Santiago, Algarrobo and El Quisco. In El Quisco we stopped and had a nap on the beach, as the 45 minute drive had tired us out! On returning to the car we/I discovered that I had left the lights on and the battery of our car (a Kia Morning, I do believe) was flat. Whoops. Apparently there has been a law passed recently saying that all cars must drive with their lights on, I drove and parked with my lights on, maybe taking it a little too far. So, flat battery and a group of 4 girls, neither one of us with any knowledge of what to do, so I stopped the nearest male passerby to help me sort it out. Mari flipped out and told me to stop talking to strangers, so the poor guy was sat in the front seat about to jump start the car when Mari forced him to get out and we were back to square one. She claimed that he smelt of alcohol and drugs, although she was the only one who could smell that- she over reacts quite a lot and believes that no one should be trusted! As we were leaving (having got help from a more respectable man) I looked to Nic and Hattie in the back seat who were trying to contain laughter, as we realised as the first man got out of the car, he only had one hand!!! Technically the worst choice ever, although he was apparently keen to have a go and starting the car! Priceless.

Then we drove down to Isla Negra, which is where Neruda (the Chilean poet) starting building his final house, but it wasn't finished before he died. The house was beautiful and located on a beach with amazing metallic sand. We spent a while reflecting on the shambles of the car and continued on.

Dinner time. As we headed into a really built up port we decided it was time to eat. The place was called San Antonio, I think and as we walked along the ugly harbour we realised that there were seal lions on the beach, right near the shore, absolutely stunning. I still don't understand how they work though, they have no joints, and are just one long blob. Not overly attractive, but baffling. After bartering with a restaurant owner we managed to secure a good price for dinner and tucked into Chupe de marisco, which is basically a watery fish soup filled to the brim with shell fish of all sorts and that was roughly two pounds fifty!

As Hattie and Nic were terribly hungover from the night before, whereas I had an early night in preparation for our trip, we decided to head for somewhere to stay. Mari decided that it was going to be a place called Navidad. It was highly illusive and our map tricked us, thinking that it was just down the road we continued on as darkness began to set in. We went up and down, snaked around for ages and when 2 hours had passed, we had lost the will to live, well technically I got shafted as the driver, as the others all had a lovely nap.

Navidad was tiny. It had two hostels. In one of them we were offered a room with just 3 beds between 4 of us, Mari thought that it sounded reasonable, we, however, did not. So we ended up in the other hostel with a man that in no way had an sort of Christmas spirit. Bah bloody humbug.

The next day Mari and I got up early and headed to the beach to see what we had missed having arrived in the dark. It was amazing. A vast beach of grey sand met by powerful waves, lined with fishermen trying to catch eels. We climbed the immense sand dunes and sat and admired the view, still in search of surfers, but as yet without success.

From Navidad we wanted to get straight to Pichilemu, the most surf resort in South America. So we piled in the car and drove off. Lonely Planet gave us somewhere to stay for the night and it was absolutely beautiful, with a courtyard full of flowers and big rooms, they even gave us towels! And we were right on the beach, so not a bad view either. Spent the afternoon on the beach, snoozing and taking in the views with a bit of people watching. The evening was just as chilled as we walked around Pichilemu, had a bite to eat and a few pisco sours. The town itself was very strange, as it resembled a seaside resort from England, with old promenades and shops selling tacky inflatables.

Our final day started when I realised that I had left the lights on again and the battery was once again flat. boooo. So task one was to find a respectable gentleman to help us. With that done we then heading for Punta de Lobos (Wolf Point), which is apparently a paradise for surfers and where all the competitions are held. On arrival we knew that we had found our surfers. Having a quick count we could see about 35 in the sea, all trying to catch a wave. The scenery was breathtaking with steep cliffs met at the bottom by rocks We spotted many Volkswagen bus thingys, full of surfers selling hand mad surfer jewellery and there was a distinct lack of women, but at no point did we complain about that.

Basically, we just had a long weekend on various beaches, which was a great rest. I've got photos on my Facebook if anyone wants to have a look.


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My Year Abroad

Viña del Mar, Chile