Published: December 29th 2009January 21st 2009
After a gruelling journey from NR7 lasting 30 hours we arrived at our hostel in Santiago. After a 5 minute struggle with the doorbell in the signless porch we were allowed in - only to find out two days later that we had been ringing the light switch to no avail!
The hostel was well placed and run by friendly locals who would ensure that the residents would try the Chilean summer speciality 'melon con vino' a scooped out melon filled with white wine, ice-cream and a touch of sugar. Just what the doctor ordered at the end of a hot South American day! Coupled with great BBQ's and superb breakfasts, these helped us ease ourselves into life at our first South American stop.
With many of South America's big cities having a not too over flattering reputation on petty crime, Santiago provided the perfect tonic to get into the swing of things. Having said that there were plenty of stories from victims of the infamous pick-pockets flying around the hostel i.e its not a good idea to leave your bag unattended at the bus station.......
The city was a pleasure, from the splendours of its colonial past
to its position as one of South America's financial hubs. We visited some nice churches, cathedrals, squares and museums. A particular highlight was the cemetery, showing the attention to detail that the residents of Santiago go to.
A short trip up the funicular railway to Cerro San Cristobal rewarded us with spectacular views of Santiago, as well as the magnificent 40m high 'virgin'. Our dutch friend from the hostel ensured our route down the hill (more like a mountain for those from Norfolk) would take in the swimming pool. After following our noses for half an hour we realised that we would soon be reaching Rio, with no sight of the now sacred pool. So we returned to the funicular for the 'easier' journey down. Had our 'noses' been right then we would have known the pool was a good taxi journey away. Well navigated Timo!
I left Santiago with a burning sensation in my nostrils from the world's cleanest tramp. Think about a person with enough clothing to reach the south pole, in 30-degree heat. The result, with a slight hand from the Andean wind, allowed said person to aerate an entire square with eau de cesspit
with a twist of fermenting whiskers..........Oh yeah and the dog attack in cerro Santa Lucia left me with food for thought!
There are more photos below