posted on 2019-10-04 22:57:53 in Patagonia
The 15hr flight arrived a little late into Santiago but with an eight hour wait before Thomas’s arrival it wasn’t a problem for me. Rather than wait at airport I took the opportunity to head into the city to find my accommodation for the next few nights. I took the Centropuerto bus into the city alighting at Los Heroes. From there I decided to walk the 3km to the apartment rather than taking the Metro so I could experience the hustle and bustle of city life and make myself familiar with the surroundings. First impressions of Santiago- Pizza, face piercings, street rubbish, buskers, Fast food, very uneven paths and pot holes and lots of people! I felt I was always trying to dodge people as there were no rules as to which side to walk. Chile has around 15million people with half living in Santiago. I think they were all out on the streets each time we went out walking.
The foreign language thing has already proved an interesting experience for me with zero knowledge of the Spanish language. Buying the bus ticket was relatively straight forward, however once I arrived at the apartment that was a entirely different situation. The owner could not speak a word of England my Spanish is extremely limited, lucky we had access to Internet so I could use Google translator to help. The unit was ok, certainly not 5 star, nor 4-3 or 2 but it was clean. Everything in it was tired looking, cracks in wall and tiles off in the bathroom, while In the kitchen the water pressure was very low, the microwave operated as stop/go (no timer) and I couldn’t light the gas stove without Thomas’s help!
Both days in Santiago have been spent spent exploring the city visiting markets, churches. Seeing important government buildings and of course climbing some hills. Our apartment was ideally situated to visit the city centre and Parquemet the largest urban park in Latin America. In the park there is a statue that sits high above the city, from here The views are spectacular and we had a good sighting of Cerro Provincia snow capped standing at 2750m and our first glimpse of The Andes. Trying some of the local cuisine is always a must and the Completo italiana was no exception. The hotdog looking thing is a traditional Chilean food. It is called a “completo Italiano” because it is supposed to look like the Italian flag. It’s a meat sandwich with tomato, avocado and mayo. This was quite mild compared the sopaipilla previously eaten. That was a deep fried dough which in itself was very bland but when covered in the recommended chilli, onion and coriander sauce it quickly became tongue tingling hot! Buskers are everywhere, like you would typically see musicians playing at any suitable vantage spot, the ones that fascinated me were the ones at traffic light intersections. Instead of windscreen washers walking between the cars here buskers would do a little show, any thing from dancing to juggling, very entertaining!
A walking tour to the biggest cemetery in Chile taught us about Chilean burial culture, plus saw many fancy mausoleums of famous Chilean people including the ex-president before the military coup in 1973. The cemetery was not unlike ones I have visited in The Philippines in the past.
Today we planned our menu and stocked up with food ready for our first hiking trip departing tomorrow for 4 nights trekking in the canyon region of the Maipo Valley. This will be a 4 night trip and is being used as a trial run before heading south to Patagonia.
So far dry and warm days, 18c and cool nights 4c. Let’s hope it stays that way!