“May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.”
– Harley King
The weekend before last I was in Bangkok then after 3 days off, I was off to Santiago in Chile. I’d bidded for the Santiago trip about twice prior to this but this time I was fortunate to get it at the end of January. The flight was over 14 hours so the longest of the routes. It was tiring but I really enjoy the South American flights as I get to practice my Spanish more. I have learned from the Buenos Aires trips that with the South American Spanish, some of the words are different to the European Spanish so again, good for me to learn and practice.
This was a 6 day trip which meant 3 nights there so after arriving in Santiago on Friday morning, I decided to literally just relax and sleep so I was fresh and ready to do some exploring over the weekend. I did have an ulterior motive though as the Netflix drama ‘The Stranger’ I had worked on last year started to stream on Netflix on Thursday so I was excited to watch this and combined relaxing with watching this. It didn’t disappoint, I was gripped with all the twists and turns and also seen myself in episode 2 which was exciting.
The next morning I was awake about 6am so nice and early to be ready to go horseback riding across The Andes Mountains. The trip included being picked up at the hotel and driven roughly about 48km South East of Santiago to the San Hose de Maipo area, which is bordered on the east by Argentina, across the Andes. On our arrival we was greeted by our guide Leo and some of his horses and my horse for the day was called Trigallo. We set off and headed up the mountain side. I have only done horse riding once in Johannesburg but that was on flat ground, now this was completely different as i hadn’t really anticipated the steepness of the mountain sides or how actually on the edge we really were. It suddenly dawned on me as I looked down, how high we actually were and that our lives were literally in the hands(or hooves) of these horses as one slip and I’d be rolling down that mountain. Fortunately, the mountains were life for Leo and his horses so they knew every twist and turn and exactly where they were going. It is safe to say now tho, my fear of heights has been conquered a bit more.
Looking around at the vast area of mountains with nothing but silence or the sound of the odd waterfall, it just felt surreal to think I was actually ‘horse riding through the Andes Mountains’. It was such a hot day and getting even hotter so we kept stopping for water and of course to let the horses drink and eat. The trip was around 4 hours and half way through, we stopped for lunch made my Leo, including his home grown tomatoes which we’re just delicious and twice the size of the average tomato. We sat by a small pond so the horses could rest in the shade and get the water. Leo had got us some raspberries off a bush to sample as well as some fruit from a cactus. To be honest, I never actually knew there was fruit on a cactus but now I can say I’ve actually ate some fresh off the cactus in The Andes. Just a few foot away, sat upon a rock there was some young Chilean guys who must have been camping for the night or weekend. They had a guitar with them so we just sat relaxing, having lunch, listening to live Spanish music and I thought to myself “You don’t get many Saturdays like this in a lifetime”.
The trip including transport to and from Santiago worked out at 62,000 pesos which in GBP was £62.00. It was so worth the money as Leo is a fabulous guide and as he has lived in the mountains since he was 14, there is nothing he doesn’t know about them. He speaks some English so the trip is accessible for those who don’t speak Spanish.
Contact details for Leo’s Horse Riding in the Andes are as follows: Instagram: Vidaenlamontana. Email: Leo.firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Numbers: +56975410915/ +56977187349