Sunday, 30 August 2009


Within a couple of minutes walk from our home there are two different ferias (markets) that sell fresh fruit and veg. We have a Wednesday one and a Saturday one.

Now, anyone who has lived in Chile will know that many markets in Chile are loud, brash, sometimes threatening, sometimes dangerous, sometimes really annoying but overall pretty entertaining places. Here in Santa Cruz, things are a little more laid back. There's no shouting. There's very little shoving. No one seems to care we're foreign. There are little old ladies gossiping away. The fruit and veg is as good as anywhere and the prices seem to be cheaper. 100 pesos (us17c) for a large head of broccoli? Bargain. Free range eggs readily available? Yes! Live chickens for 700 pesos? We don't have room for them at the moment but we hopefully will soon. I can't wait to have my own free-range eggs and free range chicken meat...although I won't be the one doing the slaughtering, plucking and gutting, I'll be paying someone else to do that :) You can also get lovely fresh fish here for the same price as at the Valpo markets. And Marchigue lamb season is just starting...oh yes...

Life is good in Santa Cruz.

I'd been visiting Santa Cruz fairly regularly for two years before moving and although it's been less than two weeks since we properly moved, I know I'm going to love it here. It really reminds me of where I live in England- a small country town, not much going on, good people, good food, beautiful countryside all around, dog walking and hanging out with friends. I grew up running around the countryside. After 12 years living mainly in the city, I'm ready to go back to my roots.

You might be able to tell from all my photos that the weather hasn't been the greatest in the last few days. Hopefully it'll clear up soon, especially as the Fiestas Patrias are coming up with the associated outdoor asados and rodeo.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

World Wicker Capital: Chimbarongo

I'm always suspicious when a town declares itself the world capital for a certain product. I'm even more suspicious when that town is in Chile and doesn't actually have all that much of the product in question. Still, Chimbarongo has a few roadside stands selling some surprisingly tasteful and good quality wicker goods. I don't really like the stuff in general.

We went yesterday to pick up a couple of bookshelves for my office and the kitchen. We took the beautiful back road on our return to Santa Cruz which borders the new reservoir with the stunning snow-capped Andes in the background. I couldn't stop to take photos as they're currently doing road works to finish off the sign posting. (The header photo of this blog was taken a few months ago from the bridge that crosses the river flowing out from the reservoir.) The road winds through some really, really cute, adobe based towns to Chepica and then on to Santa Cruz.

Driving out the other side of Santa Cruz later that day, I noticed a store selling exactly the same goods for the same prices.

Chimbarongo is about a 45 minute drive from Santa Cruz.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Reintroducing Bella and Some Photos

So today Telefonica finally decided to turn up and install internet so I'm back online and back in blogland, although I don't have time to write very much today.

So, here's a quick update of what's been going on:

-The move went ok, only a telly got broken.
-The cats and the dog generally ignore each other which is better than we had hoped for.
-The dog has already put on a lot of weight and is looking so much healthier and happier. She was a bit scraggly in that last photo I posted of her. But look at her now..! She's also incredibly well behaved, happily walks on a lead and when let off comes straight back when we call her. All this after just a week. Oh, she also whinnies like a horse and whimpers when we leave her on her own in the house for five minutes. Not so good.

But in a week she'll have a new friend to keep her company...

And here are a few more photos of the countryside around Santa Cruz.

This is where we take Bella for her walks. We have a friend with a farm. Lucky, eh?

Thanks to everyone who got in touch to wish us a happy move, it was much appreciated.

I'll be back with something sensible to say soon, I promise.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Introducing: Bella (and Sasha)

We adopted a perro vago a couple of months ago whilst on a trip down to Santa Cruz. We'd stayed in Hotel Casa de Campo a few times whilst on trips down to see properties and find a house for ourselves. On one of the first trips, our breakfast was almost stolen by a half-starved dog with a cute face and weird bat ears.

Next time we stayed, the same dog- looking a little better fed- jumped up and started hugging us. Upon asking Armando, the hotel owner, whose dog it was the answer was quick and succinct:

"It's yours."

"Ok," we replied, "but we need you to keep hold of her until we move in August."

Bella, also known as Chola, has already seen the new house and has even started to learn what we expect of her when around us and other people. She appears to be quite a quick learner and training will hopefully be reasonably easy. It can be really hard to train an adult dog that has never had anyone trying to properly control it before.

Next week she'll be joined by two cats and in 3 weeks a little Border Collie puppy, Sasha. It'll be a tight fit.

We're going to be the crazy gringos who take their dogs for walks every day and pick up their crap.

I can't wait.