And then there were two!
Santiago Travel Blog› entry 26 of 36 › view all entries
The era of travelling solo was suddenly over. I met Natasha in Santiago airport as we had planned. It was good to have someone to travel with - someone who knows a bit about you without you having to explain anything - although I admit that I was a little worried when Tash mentioned she almost couldn´t get her backpack onto her back, it was so heavy (25kg!). Anyhow, we got to our hostel fine - La Chimba - it deserves a review all of its own - and wandered around Santiago city, which is actually an incredibly big city (I wasn´t prepared for that). It also had a very European feel about it (although I´m writing this while I´m in Buenos Aires, and all these sentiments are amplified here).
We had dinner in a seafood restaurant near the fish markets, which was a nice change for me, even if the fish was a little overcooked. Back at the hostel we had a wine tasting session with the owner of the hostel: 6 people and 6 bottles of red wine, although we didn´t go overboard - we left some wine for the next day.
The hostel is near a big hill, upon which a big statue of the Virgin Mary stands. You can catch the furnicular up the hill, or hike it like we did. I´m glad we did because we made a friend - a big bushy wolf-like dog who walked all the way up the hill with us, and patiently waited for us to eat our homemade tuna sandwiches (for which we rewarded him with an empanada). He was lovely, but we lost him when we decided to catch the cable car across the hill - when we came back, he was nowhere to be found. There is a good view of Santiago from the top of the hill, and the cable car, but the city is so smoggy it´s hard to see some parts. The furnicular ride down to the bottom of the hill was actually kind of cool, not the steepest I´ve seen but nice and old and rickety. That night we cooked spaghetti bolognaise and accompanied it with wine, then went out to a few local bars with some other people from the hostel. Nothing too exciting as most of the bars closed quite early and drinks were relatively expensive.
On our third day, we visited the Museum of Fine Arts which hosted a fantastic photography exhibition by Elliot Erwitt (who seems to have photographed just about every famous person from the 60s on), then had lunch at a restaurant recommended to us by the hostel owner (Donde La Elk, it was called, and had a good value menu of the day - four courses for 2,600 pesos).We watched France win the semifinal before wandering around the local food and clothes markets.
Most of the travellers I had met didn´t like Santiago very much, and to be honest, what it offers is totally different to what cities in Peru and Bolivia offer. I suppose if anything, it felt a bit hollow, just a big city with not much to offer, but I´m sure anyone could enjoy their time there if they were willing to look for the right places.