So finally to Pichilemu, a tiny town that on first acquaintance reminded me quite a lot of Felixstowe. Egg not so much, but he’s never been, so how could it. We must go to Felixstowe, mhmmmm chips. With regards to the resemblance, I just mean not much there, a wee bit run down, lots of questionable restaurants and that feeling mid week like you shouldn’t be there, so quiet.
As it goes I love the odd visit to Felixstowe, and the same became true of this seaside town, in fact we have already made a second visit for a weekend (as we are at the lodge in San Fernando again as I write, only 2 hours away by bus).
Having thought we would have been staying in a dorm room for two weeks in Valparaiso egg had booked us a double room in the beautiful Natural Surf Lodge as a treat. Now we found it on hostelbookers, so we had good reason to believe it was a hostel however this was not the case and it was a much nicer place than we are accustomed to dumping our backpacks. In fact I believe we lowered the style of their clientele considerably; everyone else had cars (cars!) and were just “weekending” and looked very grown up and, well, rich. And there we were scruffy as hell and being upset that we aren’t allowed to use the kitchen (at this point we were carrying nearly 2 kilos of various dry dried pulses, still are in fact. Long story but we really wanted to use them up). Anyhoo there we found ourselves, albeit in the “budget cabin”- it was gorgeous, we both feel it is the nicest room there and half the cost of the rooms inside the main hotel area. We did express this to the owner when it got quieter and he offered us the apparently better rooms for the same price. He thought we were crazy (“but these rooms have televisions?!)”).
I think I can say hands down best breakfast in South America, I’m not even asking egg for his opinion on this one and if I recall correctly he looked like a cat after being gifted a large salmon after consuming: pancakes, sour dough bread, toast, goats cheese, cheddar, Nutella, peanut butter, freshly blended smoothie, fruit salad, granola, yoghurt and jam. I was pretty happy with a fruit salad and a spoonful of peanut butter, felt like Dr Kelso, if anyone remembers that episode of scrubs
We arrived there in the evening just before sunset and went for a walk along the beach. It is so quiet and beautiful. The waves that Pichilemu is renowned for crashing consistently against the shore beat a relaxing rhythm and we were happy.
So, the owner hooked us up with his brother for a surf lesson and that was that, Ismael picked us up, sorted us out with wetsuits and boards, showed us technique and said so many things I couldn’t understand about the movement of the waves. We really loved it. Egg was up on his board really quickly but I, with my natural grace and agility, spent a lot of time on my belly and forgetting not to hold my board in front of me so being whacked with it when each wave came. It sounds like I shouldn’t have liked it but I really did. Maybe just because I love being in the water and the wetsuits mean you need no suncream and feel no cold. The ocean temperature is always similar to that in England thanks to the current from the Antarctic but our wetsuits were really good.
Quick aside, I loved my wetsuit! Felt like a super hero. Thinking about buying one and attaching a cape. But how have I never realised how hard they are to get on- first attempt took a long time. Did not help my self image as a graceful human being. Nor egg’s.
So having met Ismael and discovered mazapanchitos ( a brand of Alfajor that is gluten free due to bring fudge wedged between two layers of marzipan and covered with chocolate) we agreed to stay with him for the rest of the time in Pichilemu. This was a great situation as we got to stay in his really cute surfy house and pretty much all our food and surf lessons, in exchange for some work setting up his website. A nice meeting of interests which worked really well.
The first day after our lesson we were achy and not up to much surfwise, but there was a competition at punto de lobos (the really good waves are here. We learnt here. On the baby waves) so we watched the kind of surfers we might one day never become. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be; a big crowd, constant surfing and an announcer I couldn’t really understand at all.
My surfing didn’t improve much during our next lesson, I did manage to stand for maybe a second before falling in, egg was doing really well, I got tired paddling against the current and looked so pathetic Ismael towed me out, paddling for us both. I should have been embarrassed but it was so easy!
Many nights we ate in a restaurant called Manatee, the first time because we both like the word and the animal (I wanna marry a manatee), and again and again because they had delicious fresh half price sushi and mojitos for the holiday weekend. The chocolate and strawberry was so delicious. And now I’m hungry.
That was pretty much Pichilemu. Surfing, chilling, finished my second hat, (now egg has one too. I don’t think he wants it much), seafood (oh yeah we tried machas a la Parmesana, literally razor clams and parmesan, and a traditional dish. Horrible), a great sweet sweep that did gf goodies and dried fruit and nuts for egg.
From here we went back to Tumuñan Lodge to do three more weeks as we agreed as it’s the start of fishing season and they are getting busy. That’s the reason. Not because it’s hot and they have a pool. That’s not the reason.