Last Stand inSantiago!
Santiago Travel Blog› entry 32 of 34 › view all entries
We had a fantastic overnight trip to Santiago on the bus, it was half empty and no seats in front were taken - hurray, a decent sleep beckons!!! Wait a minute......... there's a family getting on and they are carrying a baby... surely not. yes - our "bus baby magnet" has served us well again! It roared it's lungs off for hours - still at least the parents saw the funny side even if Jeremy didn't.
Our first impressions of Santiago were the usual of a big city at rush hour - gridlock. However, it didn't seem to have the chaotic edge that Buenos Aires does and seemed a little bit more organised. We eventually got to our hostel in Barrio Bellavista (unfortunately the taxi driver seemed to get lost as we snaked our way to our hostel / anyone would have thought he was trying to take a longer route!).
We spent a couple of days wandering around the City, but only until we climbed the Cerro St Lucia in the City Centre and the Cerro San Christobel (although we did take the funicular railway up that!!), we didn't get a real orientation of how vast the city was or how impressively dwarfed it was by the Andes. It would be an even more amazing vista if we had come here in their winter - glass and metal skyscrapers with snow-capped mountains. Santiago is clearly a "boom city" at the heart of a thriving economy. It is relatively clean and the traffic is far less dangerous that the insane drivers of Buenos Aires!! Plenty of resturants and bars throng the streets and there is a nice atmosphere around the place.
We didnt get around to doing many of the things we had planned for Santiago like the trip to Valparaiso and the wine tours, but we had sort of started to wind-down for a while and were just resting ahead of our flight to New Zealand and didnt hugely accomplish much.
We did enjoy our stay in Santiago. It wasn't as image obsessed as BA (which we like, but you could tire of it!) and Barrio Bellavista was very a nice and quirky place to spend the evenings - we felt more like we were on a regular holiday with some of the fantasic food and wine we had!! One thing we got hugely fed/up with was the dishonesty of many services and resturants- the dishonest taxi driver could have happend anywhere, but short-changing in resturants and lying about "happy hour" 2-for-1 deal in a bar just eroded some of the good feeling we had about the place and we are really pleased to be setting-off on the next leg of our journey through New Zealand. Still, in the grand scheme of things we can laugh about it (although Jeremy wasnt hugely happy that the launderette lost his sock!) and shrug it off - we are expecting much of the same in Vietnam!