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Chile, a long, skinny country defined by extremes: inferno, desert heat/frigid, snow-clad mountains; cacophonous, colorful Santiago/isolated, serene Easter Island; Chile sooths and stimulates simultaneously, cauterizing the heaviness of everyday minutia, allowing the lyrical to pierce one’s spirit.

For two weeks my friend and I were soaked and lathered by a myriad of highlights. Primarily Easter Island, the loneliest place on the planet, where the moon and stars dazzle with a blinding brilliance; touchable, awe-inspiring, embraced by  celestial solitude; clouds did not trespass on our sojourn; walking amongst the mythical Moai, monumental stone statues, over 600  magnificent men and a smattering of women gracing the island; mystery still informs their creation and the skilled, anonymous craftsmen responsible; here rests the world’s largest open-air museum, granted UNESCO World Heritage status; sublime, wonder of the universe.

From Santiago we “tasted” the libations of some of the finest wineries in Chile, an oenophile’s fantasy, realized; the port city of Valparaiso (home of Chile’s Noble Prize- winning poet, Pablo Neruda), domiciles lacing the hilly terrain, circuitous stairways and funiculars, mainstays of transportation.

Puerto Montt/Puerto Varas has a landscape touched by the divine: restful volcanoes, cascading water falls; languid, luscious lakes;  settled by the Germans in the mid-nineteenth century, the European influence is abundant.

Our prescient guides added grace, charm; overwhelming knowledgeable, insightful, we relished their passionate love of their heritage: “Tavi” Easter Island’s model for a contemporary Moai, soaring above the masses, his laughter will resonate whenever our thoughts turn to his magical home. But it was “Ronald” in Santiago, gifting us a “musical surprise”, that caressed our core; a concert pianist, he played a medley of scores from the masters, movies and his own compositions; applauding, crying, because nothing like music, lends clairvoyance to one’s memories; an unexpected taste of Chile transcending all the others.

“Pen” on the road…

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