Leaving school on Friday afternoon we truly felt wrecked and for the first time on our trip the weekend really meant something, and this was after only a four day week at school! On the way home from school we visited the very large fruit and vegetable markets located near our house. Chileans do markets well; full of bright colours, incredibly fresh and reasonably priced produce, these are hard to beat. Especially as we are finding the produce in the supermarkets very expensive and terrible quality.
Friday night at the hostel was again BBQ night. We enjoyed the low key affair but struggled through to the midnight time of eating. As with Argentina the locals here eat incredibly late and when you aren’t cooking for yourself it is hard to get used to. We usually consume two meals as a result.
The weekend presented itself with the usual mixed bag of Chilean weather. Saturday was just glorious and reached over 30 degrees so we clambered up to Cerro San Cristobal again for some much needed exercise and enjoyed an afternoon of sunbathing by the pool. Sunday, however, bought torrential rain and a temperatures around 8 degrees, so along with the rest of the hostel we kept warm inside and watched Spanish-dubbed movies all day. A very restful and quiet weekend good for the soul and the pocket.
Our first full week of classes went really well. We feel that our vocab has grown remarkably and we can now discuss our daily routine in Spanish. Never mind how helpful this may be in real life but still small steps are great! On Thursday afternoon we had a school excursion to Cerro Santa Lucia. A lovely tree covered hill in the middle of the city centre that provided more excellent views of the sprawling city and the Andes. With water fountains, lookouts and rubble of an old fort this peaceful spot is well utilised by locales and tourists as respite from the intense city surroundings.
We also tried the very popular mote con huesillo - a traditional summer time beverage in Chile. It consists of a very sweet nectar-like liquid similar to iced tea and includes cooked wheat and a floating peach. An unusual drink but one of substance and very refreshing.
Friday after class we head straight to the bus to travel to the port city of Valparaiso. Another mini break from the city and an excuse to practice our Spanish in a new environment.