What a welcome
We arrived at the central train station to a full military welcome including brass band, marching �" the full monty. We had managed to book a spot at a little B&B via email from Temuco
luckily so we made our way there. It is called Marilu’s B&B and is in Providencia which is more of a residential suburb, Providencia, on the (more affluent) east side of town. Not on the outskirts by any means, but out of the pure “centre”. Everything we had read of hotel reviews (on tripadvisor mostly) and in the guidebooks complained about the noise in Santiago
, so we were happy to find our B&B in a side road not looking on the main road, which is alternately called O’Higgins, Providencia, etc etc, but normally referred to as Alameda. It is a nice area to walk from though and is well located for buses, metro tubes and walking around. After chilling for a bit we went for a walk, firstly a bit around the area and then to the main centre of town and to Cerro Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia hill) which has a church and fort on it with multiple viewpoints of the smog, through which you can barely see the buildings. Pollution is a bit issue in Santiago. In 2001 Santiago was rated the 8th most polluted city in the world and I doubt things have got much better. The mountains are only about 80km away and you can hardly see them. Around Santa Lucia there is also an Artesan Market (the general term for craft markets here), which was not worth bothering with. Wandered back to Providencia area and had a bite at a pizza place which was pretty nice, but unspectacular (and empty �" enough with that already). Santiago really is a city of buses and you notice it (obviously a contributing factor to the pollution too). If you notice planes in London, where you can constantly see about 5 overhead, in Santiago you can constantly see around 15 buses. On the Alameda you generally can see about 15 going in either direction. They work well though and cost $350 (about 35p) for any distance. Been sampling a couple of the local Chilean wines again and working my way into the Carmenere variety which is something which seems to only be done here, although it is originally a varietal of French origin. It is very dark in colour and pretty tasty too. Will have to sample more.