Saturday, January 12, 2008

Day 8 and 9

 Day 8    January 11, 2008   


     We slept in a 400 year old bedroom.  Out the lace curtains we see a garden with such dense growth we can only hear the fountain 15 feet away.  It is a wild and beautiful profusion of plants and  shrubs, an orange tree with fat fruit hanging just out of reach.  And on the other side of the wall, just behind the headboard of this old bed, is the family chapel.  Originally a hay barn, built in 1640, by the year 1720 the family decided they needed their own church and converted the barn.  It holds many treasures, including a 5 foot high crucifix carved out of an elephants tusk in the 1700's that was once owned by a Pope and hung in his personal chapel in Rome.  The oil paintings and wood carvings, most of the baby Jesus, angels and Mary, are all museum quality.

     A delightful breakfast buffet, omelets, fresh juice, meats, even a leg of ham dried as procuitto.  We enjoyed a tour of Hacienda Los Lingues and then enjoyed  a horse demonstration by a Chilean cowboy known as a huasos. Then a long walk, for over an hour, around the grounds and down the road, past fields of corn, wine grapes and Flame seedless table grapes. Along the way we learned the answer to a great philosophical question every Freshman in college must confront.  If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there, does it make a sound?  We witnessed the answer.  A heavily laden plum tree, about 20 feet from us, suddenly and without any warning, cracked loudly and fell to the ground. The weight of the fruit was more than it could bear.  We paused, contemplated the sound, and decided we now knew the answer to one of life's more famous inquiries.

    We returned, tired from the intense heat. And sat down to read.  First in the garden, then by the pool, we read most of the day.  Gail finished her novel, Inez of my Soul by Isabel Allende. She enjoyed reading about the conquest of Chile and the story of the powerful woman named Inez. The story was set from 1549- 1553. King Phillip III gifted the Hacienda Los Lingues where we are staying to the first major of Santiago in 1599. Reading this particular novel while staying at this old hacienda brought alive the sights, smells and sounds of an era. I finished my book of Chilean short stories and began The Honorary Counsul by Graham Greene.  I first read it 30 years ago, so it is nice to return to an old friends.


Day 9 January 12, 2008


     Today we had to leave the beautiful Hacienda Los Lingues. Last night at dinner, we realized that we were the ONLY guests in the entire place. We were served dinner in the formal dining room at a long antique table that could seat 18 people.  It was comical with the two of us sitting at this table alone with two huge candelabras burning 20 candles. This morning the owner greeted us personally at breakfast and wished us well in our travels. We drove a couple hours back to Santiago, turned in our rental car and then hung out in the Lan Chile lounge until we caught our 30 minute flight to Mendoza, Argentina.

    Tonight we stay at the beautiful Park Hyatt which peers majestically over the Plaza de la Independencia in Mendoza.  It is very fancy with a lobby decorated with granite and beautiful local art. This evening we had a late stroll around the plaza and dined at the Hotel Argentino which is adjacent to our hotel. We finished our meal at midnight which is typical around here. It only rains five days a year in Mendoza. Tonight was a great night to wander around as the temperature was absolutely perfect. We look forward to exploring the old city tomorrow.

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