Valparaiso, Chile: Colorful, Historic, And An Easy Day Trip From Santiago.

When visiting Santiago, Chile last November, Dan and I took a day trip to Valparaiso, Chile’s uber colorful port city with a dicy reputation.  We had originally planned to stay a night or two in Valparaiso, but the timing did not work out and I was satisfied with our day trip. In fact, since it was so easy to visit as a day trip from Santiago, I would recommend most visitors with limited time to visit Valparaiso via a day trip from Santiago.

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The flowers in Valparaiso are gorgeous.

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The street art is also on point.

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The New & Awesome Executive Lounge at the Double Tree by Hilton Santiago – Vitacura

Dan and I love a good lounge, whether its in an airport or a hotel, we love free food and drinks. We also really enjoy staying for free on hotel points. When we booked our trip to Chile last year, we immediately looked at all hotels where we could redeem points for our stay. The Double Tree by Hilton Santiago – Vitacura was a candidate and we ended up booking four nights here based on the point redemption and the hotel’s location. It didn’t hurt that Dan has Diamond Status at Hilton either.

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Entrance to the Double Tree by Hilton Santiago – Vitacura.

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Hitting the Highlights of Santiago, Chile!

Santiago is the capital of Chile, the long, skinny country on the Western side of South America. Chile is bordered to the right by the Andes mountains, to the left by the Pacific Ocean, to the North by the desert, and to the South by glaciers. Due to its isolated location, Chile is indeed unique and extremely proud of its country and local products. Side note – to protect this status, Chile is also very particular about what one can bring into the country (wine is allowed).

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Wine map of Chile. The most appropriate kind of map.

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Touring the Colchagua Valley Wine Route in Chile.

Dan and my wine-cation last Thanksgiving unexpectedly took us to Santiago, Chile after visiting Uruguay (mainly because of flight schedules to/from the US). Since we were in Chile, we absolutely had to engage in some Chilean wine touring, especially since we do not drink much Chilean wine. In fact, we really did not know much about Chilean wine at all.

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The stunningly beautiful Colchagua Valley.

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February In Paris: A Brief Photo Tour.

I spent Valentine’s Day weekend in Paris, France this year, sadly without Dan (SORRY DAN)!  It was a girl’s weekend, and we had the best time. I will be posting more about what we did, where we ate, how Paris is in February (spoiler alert, it was amazing and 60 degrees and sunny!), and how you can recreate our itinerary, but for now, here is a snippet of some of my favorite pictures!

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First up,  la tour Eiffel at sunset. Valentine’s color schemed.

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Macarons at Laduree.

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60 degrees at la tour Eiffel actually on Valentine’s Day.

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Pretty rugs on a private tour at Versailles.

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Le Louvre.

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Truffle cheese, french bread, and wine.

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The little hens on the trip. On top of Galleries Lafayette at the Ice Cube Bar.

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O’Paris Pub in Versailles. A great post-Versailles break with outdoor seating.

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The group at dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel.

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Winged Victory.

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Parisian fried chicken.

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Swoon.

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Les Jardins de Versailles.

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Love an old French advert.

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Cute restaurant that was there when I lived in the 11th!

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Pretty Parisian buildings.

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Another pretty restaurant.

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Le Tabac.

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Notre Dame de Paris.

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View from the top of le Centre Pompidou.

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Midnight at la tour Eiffel. Post dinner, drinks, and a visit to the top!

A Weekend in Montevideo, Uruguay: Wine, Meat, and Art Deco.

Dan and I spent Thanksgiving 2018 in Uruguay! We initially started in Western Uruguay and moved East after a few days. Particularly, after visiting excellent wineries in Carmelo, Uruguay (Western Uruguay) for as much Tannat as we could drink, we spent a few days in Montevideo before flying to Chile for more wine tasting!

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A busy street in Montevideo.

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Narbona Wine Lodge – A Relais & Chateaux Property In the Middle of Nowhere, Uruguay.

Dan, my husband, and I first encountered Narbona wine several years ago at Salt Creek Grille in Princeton, New Jersey (a great restaurant – get the fries!). One of its managers, Hugh Preece, introduced us to Narbona’s 2011 Tannat, and we instantly fell in love with the wine.  Side note – Hugh also introduced us to Portuguese wine, which eventually led us to getting married in Portugal

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Side note – getting married in Portugal…

Back to the wine, the 2011 Narbona Tannat was big, tannic and everything we love in wine. We proceeded to order numerous cases from various wine distributors in the US and, when they eventually sold out (possibly to us?), we decided that we needed to visit the Narbona vineyards in Uruguay. It didn’t hurt that I have been wanting to visit Uruguay for a while, and that Anthony Bourdain had recently visited Uruguay. In any case, we made reservations at the Narbona Wine Lodge over US Thanksgiving 2018!

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Narbona – from our room!

On arrival, the Narbona Wine Lodge was everything we wanted and more! However, it was slow and definitely a place to get away from it all. And, it was difficult to find any reviews online so, here you are! 

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Narbona.

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A Day Exploring Cesky Krumlov From Prague.

When in Prague earlier this year, since I had visited Prague before, I really wanted to do a day trip to a new city. I settled on Ceský Krumlov, which is a beautiful small town about 2 hours south of Prague, near the Austrian border. 

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Ceský Krumlov is the red dot.

I choose Ceský Krumlov based on the wild reviews of Rick Steves (with whom I have a love/hate relationship) and in in the hopes of visiting Ceský Krumlov before it is totally overrun with tourists – too late for that one! In sum, Ceský Krumlov was an easy day trip from Prague, but it was super, super crowded with tourists!

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Views from the castle in Cesky Krumlov.

The Town And Its Sites

Ceský Krumlov is truly totally cute and looks like a fairy take town.  Ceský Krumlov is also quite compact, and wandering around Ceský Krumlov itself is its main attraction.  I recommend allotting at least a 1/2 day for Ceský Krumlov and at least an hour to simply wander the town. That being said, I would probably not spend more than 24 hours in town.

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Just getting into town.

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