Santiago is a beautiful city. I didn’t think it’d be ugly, sure, but it’s flat, immense, with a river flowing through, and you can see the Andes rising up in the east even from the city centre. It’s also quite European in style and feel. Fantastic for exploring on foot.
Chileans really like fast food. And they do a decent job of it. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips.
Coffee is awful. Food/snack outlets generally serve instant (ie. Nescafe from an automatic machine), so I looked for places with a real coffee machine. Problem is they don’t know how to use it, and the beans are always burnt, apparently it’s the same in Ecuador.
One decent coffee from the Café Haití/Café Caribe chain, and even that’s all boiled milk, rather than using any water. I’ll just have to keep the memory of that amazing latte from Roasters on Lonsdale (my last coffee in Canberra/Australia).
Sunday 31 July: Hanging out with the Fauchon (“fo-shon”) family in Santiago, they are the loveliest, most beautiful family 🙂
Monday 1 August: Exploring Santiago’s city centre on foot.
Wandered round Paseo Ahumada and the Plaza de Armas, then climbed the pretty Santa Lucía hill/park for some lovely views of the city, which is huge. Tagged along with a couple of European girls to Bellavista, a slightly boho neighbourhood with colourful facades, where there are some fun bars and restaurants.
Tuesday 2 August: Sunset over Santiago and the Andes from San Cristobal.
You take the funicular (chairlift thing) up from Bellavista, and the view of the city gets more and more amazing. Then you walk up to the santuario and it’s just breathtaking. Santiago is so much bigger than you realise, es gigante. Met a random German guy, also travelling alone, so we had dinner and a beer in Bellavista. He paid, no intentions or strings attached. This is what I call my ideal outcome, or ideal situation!
Wednesday 3 August: Seeing the coloured houses spread across the cerros (hills) of Valparaíso; and sunset over the ocean in Viña del Mar.
Thursday 4 August: Not getting hurt in the excitement and chaos of the student protests in Santiago; hanging out with tour guide Felipe, and fellow tourists Anna and Mark in the evening.
Friday 5 August: Prayer meeting with David and Michelle (Fauchon), Cristina, Ralph and Claudia, and Natalie, from SIM Chile. Meeting the wonderful Crespo family, my hosts in Quito.