A Short Getaway but Plenty to Takeaway

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Hotel Santa Cruz. Very well preserved colonial architecture and interior design.

August is usually the month when most people, here, go on vacations. Some on extended holidays, if they can, and some on short trips. Ours was a short trip… a very short trip.

We had just Saturday & Sunday… if you’re thinking ‘that’s as long as a weekend getaway is’ let me explain the “very short” comment! We decided to leave on Saturday – early, which in real time means after eleven! We left a little after 11.30. (to me, that’s half the day gone! :)) The first lap being a drive to Santiago from where we would turn off for Santa Cruz. We would have made the journey sooner, but we had to make an emergency stop. One little girl was feeling queasy. I was so glad to get off the car and settle my queasiness too! (I was trying to be accommodating and hadn’t said a thing about my travel sickness!)

It was a beautiful stop, literally. The highway had frills of wild flowers growing in clusters all along the way. The twins picked some to decorate the car windows. There happened to be a farmer’s shop with fresh vegetables. We walked in to see the produce. All very rural… no swanky counters. There was sackcloth to be seen around the place, dirt floors, and pumpkins lying in a small heap on the ground. It was so refreshing and brought back memories of my girlhood in a small town in the Punjab.

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And soon we were on our way. It was an amazing drive – good roads, not much traffic, and breathtaking pastoral scenes whizzed past as we tried to make it to our hotel before they closed lunch at 4.00 pm!

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The snow capped Andes mountains loom on the horizon…

The first sight of the hotel as we approached it from the Plaza was disappointing! (the pic at the top) The hotel is one of the best if not the Best in Santa Cruz, with prices to match! But all the gloom vanished as soon as we drove through the gate. Thereafter it was just a big wow!

We had made it with thirty minutes to spare before the restaurant closed! The only man, my son,  checked in the group, and we, the ‘girls,’ hurried to the restaurant and settled in. Lunch was a good experience – food as well as service.

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The beautiful restaurant!

The little ones had had their afternoon nap in the car and were quite ready for some fun and games. So, the park it was. It was a sunny day, which was good, and that reflected in the crowds of children and their guardians who had descended in the park, besides the vendors: candy, ice cream, coffee, trinkets & toys… face painting and also youth who were practising some balancing stunts on a rope. Add to that blaring music… it was festive and like a fair! Later we visited the hotel’s kids play zone, which opened at 10.00 am and closed at 10.00 pm! It was a great place and there were people to take care of the kids.

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One section of the play area.

Next day, I was up early. I was in the restaurant at 8.15 am. I tucked in a good breakfast and a cup of hot tea as fast as I could, and then I was outside… headed to the Plaza, which was opposite the hotel, across the road. I wasn’t ready for the blast of cold breeze that hit me. I gasped. It was freezing! I wasn’t ready for this as the interiors lead me to believe that I was comfortably clothed for the weather.

I wrapped my stole around my head which had all but become a blob of ice! I hadn’t brought any gloves along and I didn’t want to go back to my room to change into a thicker jacket.

 So, I braced myself and soon forgot about the cold as I walked in the plaza garden. It was deserted at that hour, unlike the previous evening, when it was teeming with people… old ones who were single sitting and staring at space or couples holding hands and strolling down the garden pathways; young ones cuddling on the benches, and children and parents doing their thing! I happily clicked away with my little phone. This morning, the only others around were a motorcycle group that thundered by and stopped at a restaurant across the Plaza and an old gentleman who was feeding the doves.

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Written in stone… Psalm 144:12-15 This was the first thing that I came across as I entered the Plaza from the hotel side.

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The Santa Cruz Church.

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The gentleman who fed the doves…

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The Carillon Clock & the machinery in the main tower which, I think, operates the clock!

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The Plaza de Armas.

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Benches, barrels & wheels…

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The Coffee Lounge & Bar was very welcoming with a fire going in the fireplace. I liked the little nook where one could sit and read!

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Outdoor Wine Lounge

 

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private quarters (I think) and staircase…this was on my floor.

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My single room…opening onto the Plaza de Armas! That cane work on the cupboard transported me to my little girl days in Cochin. We had a small one like this in our room!

The Museum Colchagua is a not-to-be-missed item. It is a private museum and is inside the hotel complex. The exhibits are spread out inside and outside. It takes quite some time to go through the whole collection.

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Some pics of the outdoor collection of bulky things…not all here, there was a lot!

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Imagine a wood panelled coach! And a bed properly made on the sleeper berth…quite a homely touch!!

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I believe August is the month for kite flying…we saw quite a lot – in the sky and being sold along the highway. We bought a couple on the way back.

I clicked many pictures with my phone. I am not very happy with the outcome…I’ve shot better ones! But, each of these photos is more than the place they show; they carry memories of comfort, joy, fun, laughter, amazement, disappointment, gormandizing, and contentment.

We had to give the Wine Tour a miss, it would have been too rushed. Another day perhaps we’ll have a more leisurely stay and maybe I’ll take some better pics! And for the closing note: The bathroom was a bit out-of-place with the interiors… modern. I’m not complaining…oh no, I’m glad it was!

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I thought it was great of them to include a reminder in the bathrooms… but why then instal a tub?!! No luxuriating bath for me…I showered, as I always do, in my individual attempt to do my bit. 🙂 😀

One more family vacation with lovely memories.

 

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