Chile Day 1: Away We Go! + Santiago Part 1

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It’s been almost a year since I went on my trip to Japan. This time, our destination is Chile, which we (me plus my friends, Jessica and Alana) will be covering over a period of 10 days. We’ll start with Santiago, the capital city, then head north to the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, then head south to visit the Patagonia region to see glaciers and penguins. Sounds like fun!

Our flight to Santiago did not depart from Toronto until 6:20 pm, which gave Jess and I some wiggle room to make the drive from Sudbury to Toronto. We work together and have both been picking up lots of shifts since our unit has been working short, so the both of us were exhausted.

Left: flying over the Dallas FortWorth area. Right: flying over the Chilean Andes.

Anyway, the flight from Toronto to Dallas and Dallas to Santiago were pretty uneventful. I even managed to get some sleep on the way to Santiago, amazingly enough. We landed in Santiago around 10:30 a.m., met up with our tour operator guide, and checked into our hotel. Yes, you read that right. Hotel, not hostel. We’re moving up in the world, ch’yeah!

We had the rest of the day free to ourselves so we rested up a bit, then headed to the Bellavista area. It involved some navigation of the subway system, which is pretty straight forward unless you don’t know Spanish. Some guy took pity on us and helped us translate what we needed to the lady at the ticket counter.

Anyway, we managed just fine and checked out La Chascona, one of three homes of the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. It was a cute artsy kind of house with lots of little quirky items and small, pretty gardens.

La Chascona.

After, we walked over to San Cristobal and went up the mountain by funicular. You could technically hike up but we were pretty tired from our flights and it was super hot. Disclaimer: when we left home, it was something like -45 degrees Celsius, so Chile’s 30 degrees Celsius feels super hot to us.

It was a nice ride, though, and you get some stunning views over the city. We took another break to look at souvenirs and have some cold drinks to rehydrate. I tried out a Chilean drink called mote con Huesillo, which is a sweet cold drink with wheat seeds and dried peaches.

Top: The view of Santiago from San Cristobal. Left: the statue of the Virgin Mary at the top of the mountain. Right: the funicular track.

At that point, we were all hot, sweaty, tired, thirsty, and hungry (we hadn’t eaten since the small breakfast served on our flight into Santiago), we headed back down the mountain and stopped at a small bar on our way back to the subway station. We ordered some drinks and food (quesadillas and a pizza) while chatting and watching the soccer game on TV with the other patrons, then made the return trip to our hotel for some much-needed rest.

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