Aventura en los Andes
The ´glamping´part of the experience starts even before you arrive in the mountains. Scooped up as you are from your digs in Santiago by the creator of LB, the charming and `as Chilean as you can get´, Jaime Zaror in his gleaming red pick up truck. It´s a good job you get taken there as you´d never find his place nestled in a hidden corner of the foothills of the Andes in the Cajon del Maipo.
And for me the adventure part of the experience starts soon after leaving the road, knuckles turning white, clutching the seat as the gradient of this bumpy mountain track gets ever steeper. But soon, with Jaime chatting away about mountain life and as I start absorbing the magnificence of the mountains rising up ahead, bustling Santiago already feels a million miles away.
Greeted by the mistress of the house, Anais an exquisite Flatcoated Retriever, taking in the quirky recyled house, built around a large Dome tent, together making up the ´Casa Domo¨´. . I gasp in awe walking out onto the wooden terrace and behold the majesty of the surrounding mountains. Transfixed by the beauty and feeling held by their nurturing presence. To the right the slopes of Los Purgatorios and to the left the Cumbre de los Damas and ahead mountains rising up each side of the snaking valley. My breath expanded as I took in this fresh mountain air and supped on the fresh jugo aperitif.
Over the next week I grew to know these mountains in their ever changing splendour; mists hanging low on their slopes and peaks peering over the top; to shimmering sunrises spreading slowly over sensuous slopes; to late afternoon rays rays casting curious colours continuously changing to silent sunsets, perfect pink wisps over shadowy cervices and undulations, dark ominous loomings beneath richly twinkling night skies. Full moon rising above these Andean giants emblazoned in my memory forever.
Such a treat to slumber in the spacious Dome tents scattered discreetly in the mountainside bush; comfort, yet still the joy of being close to the Earth and feeling one with this powerful South American terrain. Awaking to the distinctive morning chorus. One feathered friend is most definitely calling joyously “Vivir, vivir, vivir”, which is enough to make even the most sleepy of souls reach for the tent zip to breath in the magic of these dawning mountains. Every morning I´d give thanks for the wonder of simply being in this special place. So conducive to meditating, writing, yoga, reading, relaxing in the hammock. Hiking in these mountains another treat with it´s distinctive flora, fauna and insect life. Trekking to and swimming in breathtakingly beautiful ‘cascadas’. Enjoying traditional Chilean ‘asados’ on the terrace and evening fires under the stars. And Jaime Zaror, whose only concern seems to be to ensure his guests have the best time ever as they experience the magic that is the Chilean Andes.
(nb: Jaime´s beloved ‘caballos’ are due to arrive soon at Los Baqueanos so that he can guide his guests on horseback through these mountains that he knows and loves so well. )