Brendan Vermillion

bvchef

Brendan Vermillion

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Well, the tickets have been purchased, tours arranged, hotels reserved and cooking class confirmed. It looks as though Vacation 2014 is all set and what remains is to pack and get myself to the airport. As organized (some may say obsessive) as I am, even I feel that it is too early to start that.

I looked at many different countries, towns and regions to visit on this trip, but have chosen to spend about half of my time in Bolivia and the remaining in Chile. My time in Bolivia will be filled with things to do, places to see. It will be the usual "power travel" that I do, while the last part of the trip, in Chile, will be laid back, relaxing and more free form. I know they will both be amazing. Pack a virtual bag and join me on this next adventure. Until then, ciao.





South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso March 18th 2014

Now, here is an insight of how my travel mind works. I bought the plane tickets for this vacation on November 2. On November 8, I wrote to the Chilean Cuisine Cooking Class for information on how to book a class with them. From its website and reviews on Trip Advisor placing it as the number one activity, this seemed like the best, most reputable Chilean cooking class out there. At this point I had no hotels lined up, didn’t know exactly what countries or cities I was going to visit, but I had my priorities. For food, wine and cooking I would go to where the class was. I knew it was going to be a great day, and it did not disappoint. The arranged meeting place was easy to find, down by a war ... read more
Wine Tasting
Ines and our Menu
Fenix 1

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso March 17th 2014

Now that I was in the know about the changing of the guard, I had my plan of attack. First on my list was to finish packing my stuff, store it and check out of the hotel. Next was a déjà vu of my first day. I went to the café across the street and had a smoked salmon bagel and café Americano. Things were falling into place and I couldn’t be happier. After a quick Metro ride, I was in front of the Moneda Palace ready for the changing of the guard. In Lima this ceremony was done behind big iron fences, giving all of my pictures the illusion of being shot from inside a jail cell. Here we were kept at least 30 to 40 yards behind big fountains with a glass wall surrounding ... read more
Mix of Murals and City
View from My Room
Guards at the Palace

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago March 16th 2014

I did not find Santiago to be a very tourist friendly city. Certainly it was clean with nice wide streets and sidewalks, but I don’t recall ever seeing a sign pointing towards something a tourist might find interesting. Even on the internet I was not able to find good information on the changing of the guard at the Palacio de Gobierno "La Moneda". What help is it when they say that it occurs every other day? Is today the day? Was yesterday the day? Will it be tomorrow? It seemed like it was some sort of secret, so I took it upon myself to get up early, miss breakfast and coffee to head down and check it out. Was it going to happen? I didn’t know, but there were lots of police, the streets were barricaded, ... read more
Palace Guard
Palacio de Gobierno "La Moneda"
"Riot Police"

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago March 15th 2014

Although I really enjoyed myself in La Paz, and Bolivia in general, I was looking forward to transitioning to the next phase of my trip. The thought of being closer to sea level and being able to walk a full block without huffing, puffing and wheezing was very appealing. My flight was at 4:40 so after leaving Tara near the Dutch restaurant I caught a taxi at 1:30 and headed to El Alto Airport. Traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated, so I arrived in plenty of time. Along with having to fill out more paperwork than I had anticipated, there was some confusion over an exit fee of $25 USD. I had researched it so was prepared, but the 4 Australians who had also come from my hotel were panicking. They only needed ... read more
Produce Market
Metro Station
They know me so well

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz March 14th 2014

and I had agreed to meet at 6:30 to head up to restaurant Gustu for our sumptuous tasting menu dinner. She was going to take a bus in from Copacabana and I would spend a leisurely afternoon in my hotel room working on blogs and organizing pictures. After checking in, I headed up to the small café in my hotel and had the most wonderful club sandwich with fried egg, ham, chicken, bacon and some fries. Follow that with a Café Americano and I was fully refreshed, recharged and ready to head down to Miraflores to fight with the airline. It wasn’t a long taxi ride to reach to proper address, but the place was closed and locked down with metal rolling gates. I had no choice but to hop out and wait, hoping they ... read more
Tara and Brendan Meet Again
Museo San Fancisco
Carved Face at Tiwanaku


Surprisingly I didn’t sleep too badly last night. I am not used to sleeping in a dorm, so wasn’t sure how it would go. No loud snoring, no late night wild parties, just a group of worn out travelers. Oh, and before I forget, it was mentioned that the beds were not in fact concrete, but salt. Duh. I don’t know why I didn’t put that together. Regardless, they were pretty darn comfortable. Breakfast was a quiet affair with instant coffee, bread, scrambled eggs, lunch meat, cheese (to build breakfast sandwiches) and fruit cocktail. Please don’t think less of me, but I ate 2 helpings of the stupid fruit cocktail. After not being able to eat for the first half of the week, I was starving. We loaded our luggage on top of the Land Cruiser ... read more
Flamingos
Iconic Rock Tree
Reflection in the Green Lagoon


Today was one of those hateful early mornings. I was to be picked up at 4 AM to head to the airport. When the phone rang at 3:40 and the driver was waiting I knew it was going to be a rush. Luckily I had packed and organized everything the night before. At the airport I ran into problems checking in. The airline required that the credit card used to purchase the ticket be presented, which I would happily have done if it hadn’t been stolen and cancelled. No matter how many times I explained that it was the same company, but just a different number the agent just looked at me and told me I had to purchase new tickets. The fact that I had flown from Cuzco, Peru to La Paz just days prior ... read more
These Things Were Huge
Standing on the Salar de Uyuni
Train Graveyard 1


After the best night's sleep I have had on this trip, I woke up in time to enjoy some breakfast. True, my day was almost ruined when the only coffee available was instant, but Traveler Brendan stepped in and sternly lectured Pamper Brendan. We all came to agreement that part of traveling is leaving home behind and stepping out of our comfort zone. Ok, so I may have exaggerated this just a bit, since the coffee really wasn't even a blip on my radar, but I did think that it made for a good dramatic intro to the blog. After a nice breakfast, Sylvia and I walked to the lake to board a small boat for the hour trip to Sun Island. It was once again a beautiful day. I cannot get over how vibrant the ... read more
Port, Boat, Clouds
Lonely Boatman
Best Quinoa Soup Ever!


*Spoiler alert* No there wasn’t. If you know me, you understand that I can’t get past the Barry Manilow song when I hear Copacabana. Two years ago when I was in Rio de Janeiro, this was my blog It became the favorite blog title so far. When I planned this trip and found that I was going to be staying in Copacabana again, were keen to find out what my blog title would be. It was a hard call. All I can say is I continue to walk around singing the darn song, but hey, when at the Copa….. Our tour bus left La Paz at 7:00. Happily I found out that it was my guide Sylvia from the previous tour. Traffic was a bit heavy as we headed up and through El Alto City. Today ... read more
Dancers for Carnival
Boats on Lake Titicaca
Overlooking Lake Titicaca

South America » Bolivia » La Paz Department » La Paz March 6th 2014

Starting last night I began to feel the effects of altitude sickness. It starts with a really bad headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, restless sleeping and in my case, lots of nausea. I felt well enough to head down to dinner in the hotel and had the most wonderful chicken soup and spaghetti Bolognese. I took a couple pictures, but really couldn’t justify putting up yet another chicken soup or spaghetti Bolognese shot. I have a feeling you can come up with an image in your mind. I didn’t sleep well at all, but when it came time to get up, I was too tired. I snooze alarmed for an hour and a half. Then of course came the mad dash to shower, gather my things and head down to meet my tour guide. I was ... read more
Valley of the Moon 2
Valley of the Moon 3
Valley of the Moon 4




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