This past week, I finally started to get into the swing of things! Monday, my Pilates class was cancelled forever, so I had to run to the U Catolica San Joaquin campus to register for a half credit class last minute. I ended up taking soccer, and I think the change was for the best! I’m starting to make friends in that class, and I’ve been settling in much better with a set schedule.
I also had my first test. It went pretty well for what I was expecting and I now know how to prepare for his future tests. So, all in all, I’m still feeling pretty positive about everything.
Saturday, we went to Curicó, a town about 3 hours to the south of Santiago, to a Vendimia. A vendimia is a blessing of the start of the harvest season and of the grapes. There’s a princess, a festival, a grape squishing contest, wine tastings, asados, a market, etc. It’s a giant grape festival, and is a ton of fun. We have festivals in America, but for some reason, I liked this one more. I’m not really sure how, maybe it was just because I’m in Chile.
We got to the festival and then had breakfast as a group. After breakfast, we had an opportunity to wander through the markets while they were still setting up. They started blessing the festival, the grapes, and from what I gathered, whatever they felt the need to bless, then moved onto the traditional weighing of the princess. They sit the princess of the Vendimia on a giant balance and then find her weight in bottles of wine. I felt like it was a bit public, but tradition is tradition. After the weighing and the blessings, the grape squishing contest began. There were 6 teams who competed to see who could create the most juice in a set amount of time. It was definitely a lot of fun to watch. After the contest, the stage cleared the way for bands who played the rest of the day.
Attendants to the festival were able to buy wineglasses and tickets. The tickets functioned to buy food and beverages. There were wine, food, and juice vendors spread out on one side, and then a whole section of vendors grilling meat in another section of the festival. The rest of the festival had different vendors selling homemade jewelry, clothes, art, jams, cheeses, chocolates, and basically whatever you could think of. It was a lot of fun. We just wandered around taking in the festival and chatting with different vendors about the merchandise.
Here’s the other thing: Chileans are also really nice. The vendors, while they were trying to sell us things, were genuinely interested in talking to us. They were fun and cracked me up. I like how easy it is to just strike up a conversation here.
After the festival, we headed to a tour of a winery. I’ve been on tours of wineries before, but what was great about this one was that we actually got to see the vineyards. We started in the vineyards, and they encouraged us to walk around and try their grapes. While we were trying the grapes, the guide explained the different grapes and growing methods and how they affected the wine. It was really interesting. After the vineyard, we got to tour the wine cellar and learn about how the wine is processed and stored before heading back to Santiago.
All in all, it was a fun day, and it was great to get out of Santiago and see another part of Chile!