And back where it all started

Santiago Travel Blog

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Typical Andean celebration dresses

      And after a nice 2 hour drive through the valley, we were back in Santiago, the place where it all started. Thus we were destined to enjoy ourselves for the last few days before Em got to fly back to the States to enjoy her couch and see J Brown and D got to sleep. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. We got into Santiago, had lunch at a nice vegetarian place in Santiago, El Huerto in Providencia and after a nice stroll by the frigid Mapocho River we dropped Mike and Susan off at their hotel and we all had a rest. Except for Emily who went on a cleaning rampage in Danilo's room. We then had a nice meeting with everybody (Emily, Danilo, Em's parents Mike and Susan, D's parents Annetta and Flavio) at a really nice restaurant where we had some good seafood with wine and as always, great conversation.

Em, Susan, and Mike and the Presidential Palace
 


     Saturday morning we picked up Mike and Susan, and headed over to Bellavista, where Neruda's house in Santiago is located - "La Chascona". We had both been there before, which is why we really recommend this place to anybody that would like to see something very unique. Neruda, much like his poetry, was idiosincratric, which was wholly reflected in the homes that he built (he has 3 houses, the other two are at Valparaiso and Isla Negra). Moreover, the guides of these tours are really good, and the one that we got was probably the best that we have seen from all the houses. Since it was lunch time we looked for a place with typical Chilean food, which kind of backfired when the empanadas that they brought were turkey cold, but at least the steak and the rest of the food was quite good.

La Moneda
Afterwards we went to walk around the downtown for a little while, we hit up the Plaza de Armas, where there is always something going on (except on Sundays and Saturday afternoons). This time there was Andean dancing going on, which was kind of strange being that Chile doesn't have the best of relation with both of its Andean neighbors (especially Peru), but the dancing was great and the people really seemed to enjoy it. After that we walked around the pedestrian streets and eventually made it to the Palacio de la Moneda, where you can walk through the presidential palace after some cursory metal detection action by the police. After that D went home to get a much needed nap and Em and her folks did a little walking in Providencia. Then we all  (the 6 of us) got together for a nice sushi dinner together.
View of Santiago
We sat on the floor and although it was quite painful after a while, it was a cool experience.


       The next day we had a family meeting in the morning, with a handfull of Danilo's uncles and a handfull of cousins, so that comes out to 6 uncles and aunts, and 5 cousins. So after some pizza and salad and some 2 hours of talking everybody was happy to have met each other, so that worked out nicely. Danilo dropped off Mike, Susan, and Emily off at the hotel where all three of them snuggled in  the big bed and watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, while Danilo took a nap in his own bed. Later we all met up one last time to have a homemade dinner with some wine. Three bottles of wine later, it was time to call it a night as Annetta and Flavio had work in the morning.

The Virgin that overlooks Santiago


      Monday after a troublesome checkout, we dropped off the bags at D's house and went to check out an art Gallery where Danilo's uncle, Ernesto Banderas had soe paintings for sale. On our way back to D's house, we bought some empanadas to make up for the cold empanada debacle of Bellavista. Luckily Mike and Susan got to try some cheese empanadas along some salad which raised their regard of Chilean empanadas. Afterwards we went to the San Cristobal hill, walked around an arboretum and then we were back at home to watch some TV together before bidding farewell to the Cortes household and leaving for the airport.


We made it in a record time of 20 minutes to the airport, but shockingly Delta had bad service and the Renda family had to wait an hour in line. After all was done, it was already time to go through customs, and thus ended our 4 and a half month travel through South America, with the same embrace that it started with.

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Typical Andean celebration dresses
Typical Andean celebration dresses
Em, Susan, and Mike and the Presid…
Em, Susan, and Mike and the Presi…
La Moneda
La Moneda
View of Santiago
View of Santiago
The Virgin that overlooks Santiago
The Virgin that overlooks Santiago
Santiago again
Santiago again
Santiago
photo by: Bluetraveler