Biking and Hiking in Farrellones

On Saturdays, John has started road biking on Farrellones which is the road that leads up to the ski resorts not far from our house.  Outdoor activities abound here and cycling is a big one.  He recently purchased a new bike in New York City on a layover (Bikes are SO expensive in Chile) and has found two work colleagues who are serious cyclers and have given him great guidance.  He is big time now – even has the shoes that snap in and the bike pants with the padding.

John at Farrelones

The big thing here is to cycle up these incredible mountains.  Cycling up Farrellones starts with a 16km ride that rises about 1500m and then there is a second phase with 40 numbered switchbacks to the Valle Nevado Ski Resort which is about 45km from our house. The past few weeks they have made it to turn 15 – in total about 24 kilometers and a 2500 meter climb.
There is an incredible park at “turn 15” called Parque Cordillera Yerba Loca.  We thought it would be fun for us to see John’s crazy bike route while finding an extraordinary place to Hike.

Yerba Loca Sign

So on Sunday, we made the drive up and went for a hike with the kids.  We ended up going only 1 hour out and coming back because we got such a late start but it was spectacular.  I’ve posted below a bunch of photos from the hike.  It was great for the kids because there were cows around every turn and horses off in the distance.

Yerba Loca 1

Yerba Loca 2

Yerba Buena 3

Yerba Buena 4

Yerba Loca Cow

Yerba Loca 5

Yerba Loca 6

Yerba Loca 7Yerba Loca 8

Yerba Loca Horse

Yerba Loca JK

Yerba Loca 9

Yerba Loca Madie JAck

Parque Cordillera Yerba Loca has a hike to a Glacair La Paloma where you hike for 19.24 kilometers (about 9 hours they suggest) and you get to the foot of this remarkable Glacier.  John and I have decided we need to do it before we leave Chile.  They also have a hike in the winter that takes you to a giant frozen waterfall where you can go ice climbing.  People say it is the best place in South America for ice climbing.  Not sure we will try that one.

The kids are always incredibly proud at the end of a hike. We are all going to be outdoor adventure sports enthusiasts before we leave. The topography of Santiago is so amazing that it is hard to believe this hike was just a random Sunday outing.

Feria Libre Barrio Brasil

This weekend I was determined.  I was going to find a proper summer vegetable market if it killed me.  There are many “Ferias Libres” or farmer’s markets in Santiago, in addition to one of the largest vegetable markets ever  – La Vega – but they are not easy to navigate and I often bring home mediocre vegetables.  I have been asking everyone I meet and combing the internet for recommendations.  I finally came across a great post on a blog called FoodyChile that called out a feria libre on Saturdays in Barrio Brasil.

Barrio Brasil is often noted as one of the best barrios in Santiago and an area I had wanted to check out for some time now.  It is in the center of the city which is about a 20 minute drive from La Dehesa, where we live.  Turns out the market was well worth the trip. It covered 4-5 blocks on either side of Av. Brasil (On Martinez de Rozas between Ricardo Cummings and Av. Brasil) and each vendor was better than the next.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is in nearly every dish in Chile. They are so large that you end up purchasing a big hunk.

Fruit at Feria

The peaches are excellent here.

They also had two fish purveyors that had nice looking fish. In Chile you purchase the whole fish and they clean and filet it for you.  We have had some bad luck with fish so it is really important to be able to see the whole fish before you buy it.  The open-air market conditions are not quite what they would be in the States.

We purchased a whole Reineta which is similar to a bream in the United States. John has been trying to master ceviche using the recipe from a famous Peruvian chef named Gaston Acurio, who started the restaurant La Mar (originally in Peru but now has spread to many places including New York and San Francisco), easily our favorite restaurant in Santiago.  We hope to perfect it before we return to the states.

Fishmonger2

Fishmonger

This time of year, Chileans are very excited about Porotos Granados.  They are only available in the summer and they make a lovely stew made with pumpkin and corn.  The beans come in a beautiful pink shell and these giant heaps of Porotos Granados are iconic at the summer market.

Cranberry Beans

While finding a fresh fruit and vegetable market in a country known for exporting beautiful produce sounds uneventful to someone reading this in the States, as you can tell from my last post, it is indeed noteworthy.  I have not cracked the code on food in this country.  I try, and try again, and try again, but often things end poorly.  So finding this feria made my weekend.  We also found the great park in Plaza Brasil where the kids could play and a fairly good Italian restaurant, Sole Mio, for lunch.

plaza brasil

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I will continue my food quest.  I reached out to a few food bloggers in Chile to see if any might be interested in organizing a market tour for expats.  Colin Bennett from FoodyChile.com has been terrific.  He is going to take a group of us out to the markets this coming weekend.  I’m excited to finally know how best to manage these sprawling markets and find the best produce before summer runs out.  Wish me luck!