Friday morning I boarded a bus and left Viña del Mar bright and early to head to Rabuco with my program. Rabuco is a small town about an hour east from Viña that is nestled right in the Chilean countryside – if I had to choose one word to describe the trip, it would have to be “quaint.”
When we got there we split into different groups, depending on if we wanted to go to a workshop to learn how to make Chilean sopaipillas (fried dough) or tour a greenhouse. I chose the latter because, although slightly less delicious than a fresh sopaipilla, I absolutely love greenhouses. And plants. It is a shame that I am so inept at growing my own – I have killed or nearly killed every plant I have owned. Regardless, the plants did not seem to mind my brown thumb as I milled around with the man that owned the property and my group learning about the process that they go through from seedling to selling. And as much as plants dislike being in my care, they participated wholeheartedly as models in a flora-photoshoot.
After touring the greenhouse, we met up with the others that had gone to the sopaipilla-making class to head to an avocado and citrus packing plant. It was really interesting to walk around the plant. I don’t think I have ever laid my eyes on more avocado (or in Chile, “palta”) at once in my life.
After seeing all of this fruit we were getting pretty hungry, so we were beyond content when the group boarded the bus and headed to a ranch where we had a lovely country lunch of roasted chicken, quiche, avocado, rice, bread, salsas, and potatoes. Paired with some fresh pear juice and an apple tart, it was close to perfection. I was so hungry that I dived right into my meal before taking a picture of it, but my half-eaten plate gives you a rough idea of how tasty it was:
After lunch, we were introduced to Cami and Kevin, two Chileans about our age that are Cueca partners! Cueca is the national dance in Chile, and Cami and Kevin are about as good as they come. After demonstrating the dance for us, they taught all of us some basics, some of which I had already learned in my folkloric dance class. Even though we were all so full from lunch that we were ready to topple over at any moment, it was still a lot of fun.
After dancing, we all relaxed, played volleyball, did some relay races, ate (more) dessert, and got to know Cami and Kevin a little bit better. It was a beautiful day outside, so we stayed in Rabuco until about 6:00 pm, then headed home to beat the sunset. That night I relaxed and went to sleep on the early side, which was imperative for the next morning…I was going to be leaving from Viña del Mar, Chile, to travel to Mendoza, Argentina! To be continued…