Hola a todos! Blimey, it’s been a long time since my last post…

I’ve recently returned to Chile after almost a month jet-setting around Europe – attending a conference in Barcelona, followed by 2 weeks back at home in the UK – and so am now in the process of settling back into my apartment and my Santiago-based routine. I’m also  trying to remember how to turn on my office computer, let alone remember what work I was doing before I left… There comes a time in every PhD student’s life where they come back to their work after a blissful period of remembering life outside of the office (or, at least trying to – see this comic strip for a fairly accurate representation), only to realise that they’ve made life infinitely difficult for themselves before they left. Not keeping a very good written record of what you were doing at the time, for example. Or making copies of copies of copies of copies (ad infinitum) of every file you’ve ever created on your computer, each being modified slightly differently from t’other, and given brilliantly useful naming conventions such as “Fig1_aii_x.eps” (right next to “Fig1_a_xii.eps”), “meh.sdf”, or “its_times_like_this_i_want_to_give_up_on_living.txt”. (again, another fantastically spot-on comic to represent this here!). So I’ve been spending the past 2 days sifting through all this rubbish in an attempt to get myself back on track and starting at square one (and not square_1_part2_III_b_new.jpg). The fun truly never stops!

Anywho, I fully intend on writing about the conference and sunny Spain, but for now I thought I would share with you this little “filler” post while I get on with writing that epic chapter 🙂

On Sunday, my ever-patient friend and supervisor, Dave, invited myself and ‘the intern’ (otherwise known as ‘Martha’) for a random road trip into Cajón del Maipo, a valley found an hour South-East of Santiago carved out by the Maipo river that flows down from the Andes, through the middle of Santiago, and out to the Pacific ocean. The area is full of exciting things like national parks, thermal baths, hiking trails and adventure sports, and so is an extremely popular destination with Santiaguinos looking to escape for the weekend. We set out with no particular plan in mind, other than to just see what the area has to offer for future adventures. The further we got from the city, the more the smog started to dissipate and the more open the surroundings became. We stopped off in San José, the main commune and town for the area. There happened to be a bit of a weekend event occuring as part of the town’s celebrations for its 250th anniversary that included a VW Beetle meeting, as well as some market stalls set up in the central plaza and a local group playing and singing some beautiful Andean music. After lunch at a local ‘parrilla’ restaurant (involving cooking meat over an open fire – soooo good!), we carried on in the car with a stunning mountain vista opening up in front of us.

I’ve been on uglier roads…

Every corner we turned the mountains just seemed to tower over us more, and it’s made me hungrier for more trips to the area to really get my teeth stuck into it! We stopped off on the side of the road to stretch our legs a little and take some piccies:

Beautiful all year round

Coincidentally, the very spot we decided to stop off at happened to be home to an impressive waterfall that we had to investigate. The power behind waterfalls is incredible and always takes me by surprise – you just had to stand near the bottom of it to feel the rush of water in the air generated by the impact of the ‘fall into the pool below.

Surprise waterfall!

Yours truly, for some sort of scale…

Sadly, by this point it was getting towards sunset so we decided to turn around and head back to the city, ready to tackle the area again another day when we had a bit more time to play with. Still, it’s always nice to get into genuinely fresh air in the countryside and is something I’d really love to do more often here (I’m really not a a fan of massive cities, La Palma drilled that out of me!).

So there you have it – a very mini post, but hopefully I should be able to get back into the swing of writing very soon. Should be good practice for my fingers before I start cracking on with the thesis…!

Hasta la proxima,


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