La familia maravillosa de Clemo

Trip Start May 11, 2010
Trip End Jan 06, 2011

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Flag of Chile  ,
Friday, July 9, 2010

So after all the action of Pucon, we got in touch with friends of Peter (George) Richardson, who works with Andy's Dad on the fish farm and who grew up in this part of Chile. Enter the wonderful Clemo family into our lives, who are some of the most hospitable and friendly people we've ever met, especially considering they'd never met us before! 

Patrick invited us down to their farm for a few days, which was really beautiful, it makes you realise how on top of each other we are in the UK. So much space, in a valley filled with huge woods and rivers, surrounded by snowy mountains and volcanoes. They are also so self-sufficient, constantly shooting rabbits for the pot, digging up crayfish or making honey from their bees - I felt like a right towny in comparison!

We also had the grand moment of Andy swallowing his nerves and getting on a horse for the first time since he fell off a donkey when he was four. Patrick was somewhat bemused by this as they use horses a lot on the farms round here, and so many people that can't afford cars go everywhere in a horse and cart along the roads, but he kindly put Andy on the gentle old one that struggled up the hills, so we had to wait for him every so often. Then Patrick got a big stick and tapped its rump (Andy is saying that tapped is an understatement in the background), and suddenly they bucked forward, Andy in a right panic, although it was so funny to see how proud he was once he'd mastered trotting!

After a few days we went to the Clemo's home in Concepcion and met Patrick's lovely wife Rose, who insisted on making us homemade Pisco Sours and huge fantastic meals, (including apple crumble for Andy). Their three children, David, Christopher and Pauline, also all went out of their way to show us the area and a good time. The city itself is not very beautiful, although it has a lovely setting surrounded by hills and the huge Bio Bio river, but is very chilled out and friendly, particularly as the extended Clemo family all live in the neighbourhood, so we had a lot of fun meeting them.  

They've all been so affected by the massive earthquake on 27th February, and you can see a lot of devastation on the roads, bridges and buildings, and everyone talks a lot about how awful it was, with a lot of looting and no water or electricity for a long time. There are small tremors nearly everyday, which I was quite excited to feel yesterday, but nothing compared to the enormous one in February fortunately! 
We said goodbye with a lot of reluctance (hostels just don't quite match up!) but we're now in Santiago, which on first impressions is a lovely city, and then north to the Elqui Valley and San Pedro de Atacama and the desert, finally a bit of real heat!
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Mike on

Loving your blog guys; its not until you zoom out that you realise how much distance you still have to cover; Im glad that you are taking it slow though, and seeing it properly; loving that tea cosy hat as well Andy! did you get a run out in the rugby?

Pete Richardson on

hi Cate and Andy...really enjoying the blog ....sounds like you are having an amazing time glad you met the Clemos...wonderful people.

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