Viña del Mar, Chile

I’ve already been in Viña for over a month now, but I wanted to wait to write about it until I could post some pictures as well. (My computer is sort of on the fritz and won’t let me upload any, but I’ve managed to overcome such tiny obstacles.)

When mi familia picked me up at the hotel, I knew immediately that we would get along. Esteban, 

my 7 year old host brother, gave me a huge bouquet of flowers (oh! I forgot to take a picture of the flowers!) and an even bigger hug. The whole family had shown up to take me home and they all hugged me and offered me coffee and were so nice.

We live in a condo on Cerro Recreo, one of the hills in Viña del Mar, pretty close to a lot of the other CIEE students here.  My family is by far the best, though. They’re very tipico Chileno, true Chileans, and they’re always asking me what I need, or want, or if they can do anything for me. Here is a photo of me with the entire family:


Yo, Papa, Mama, Esteban, Annette, Nicole, y Abuela

My room is pequeñita but lovely! I was shocked that I fit everything into the closet (and on only 8 hangers!) but I managed to, somehow. The house is also very cute, it’s split up into two condos and Abuela lives in the condo next door so she’s basically a package deal. I super love her; she cooks lunch almost every day and she’s always telling me these awesome stories about Chile. Here are the pictures of my room and the house.


The first week I moved in here, the beaches, the streets, and the tiendas were all full of people (turistas). After I made a comment about how crowded it was for being (supposedly) a pretty small town, my family explained to me that we were in the middle of ‘La Festival de la Cancion.’

This is also known as the Festival de Viña; it’s held every year in Viña del Mar, where I’m lucky enough to be living, and I was here for the very tail end of it. The city-dwellers were literally going crazy over all of the celebrities in town. There were barricades in front of every hotel, on the beach, and blocking certain streets. The most popular Chilean morning show taped every episode that week on a set that I could see from my house! (You know, on the beach that’s five minutes away…)

Apparently this is the biggest music festival in South America. It’s been going on since the 60s and really huge stars always come to it (like Pitbull, who came last year, and Morrissey came one year but he was a drama queen they say). We watched it on TV every night and interviews, paparazzi talk shows and gossip about the festival were basically the only things they played during the day.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not really into music; I’ve had the hardest time explaining my musical apathy to all of my new Chilean friends, but I really just like whatever I like and even I don’t know what or why. But I was pretty glad to get to be in town for this festival, because I would never spend my own money to go to one and I basically got to experience it for free. I’ve learned a lot of Spanish music (which I love!) and celebrity watched as we passed by a few hotels.

The beach that is literally a 5 minute walk from my house; be jealous.

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