I met my dear friend Astrid Montecino (founder of Tu Ruta es Chile) at a Spanish school that I attended when I first landed in Santiago de Chile. Not only was my Spanish very rusty but I also was completely alone in a foreign country. So I realized that Spanish classes would be a great way to meet other individuals! Tu Ruta es Chile is a tour company that hosts a number of fabulous tours in and around Santiago de Chile such as Valparaiso and Isla Negra. One of the events that caught my eye was horseback riding in the Andes coupled with an outdoor barbecue.
 
The day of the tour, I woke up to the familiar sound of my phone ringing. I moaned as I opened my eyes and reached for my phone to check who dared to disturb my slumber. My head was still pounding from the night before when I realized that my friend Brittany was calling and I had only 15 minutes before I had to meet the rest of the group for the tour. In a panic I answered the phone only to realize that my friend was also suffering from the same syndrome as myself…let us call is “exhaustion.” As soon as I hung up the phone I hurried up to get ready before the group left and power walked to the check point. Out of breath, I reached the hostel just in time, clambered inside the van and closed my eyes to “rest” as the van took us to our final destination. The fresh air was amazing as I descended from the bus. In the distance I could see the mountains freckled with white snow and yet as the sun beat down on us, I hardly felt the cold. We all sat down to watch out tour guide prepare a great barbecue with chorizos, meat and chicken before heading out to the mountains. The meat was devoured quickly and we only had a couple of minutes to pat our satisfied stomachs before being directed to the stables to pick out our horses. “Who has ridden a horse before?” the stable master asked the crowd. In hindsight I should have kept quiet but I quickly raised my hand as if I was an exeprt… in reality I took classes 15 years ago. “Be careful with this horse” said the stable master “he tends to not like the other horses.” Awesome.
 
Barbecue Meat
Barbecue meat
 
After each of us was assigned a horse, we were taught a quick lesson on how to stop, go and the works. Then we were off! One after another we crossed rivers, climbed rocks and stopped occasionally to gaze at the beautiful scenery. Once at the top we dismounted and walked to a small waterfall to recharge and take pictures. The walk down was just as breathtaking as we watched the sunset over Santiago de Chile. We arrived just after dark and as I dismounted I could feel the pain in my legs and butt. I guess over 4 hours of riding will do that to you!
 
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Above: Me getting on my horse for the first time. He was a little testy, he kept kicking any horse that came close to it!
Below: Standing in front of the Andes
 

in front of the moutains

This is certainly not your regular horse ride but it definitely will be one that I will never forget! For more information about Tu Ruta Es Chile, click here!