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Published: December 13th 2006
My last day in Lima, Peru was spent shopping for souvenirs and then having lunch with a friend. After arriving back at the hotel it was a rush for the airport as there wasn’t much time left before the flight to Santaigo. After I told the taxi driver what time my plane flies out he started driving on the wrong side of the road and we even ran some red lights to get me to the airport on time! Fortunately I made it on time.
Santiago de Chile
I arrived in Santiago late at night and not having a guide book (about Chile) or a hotel booked, I planned on getting a taxi driver to take me to a hotel within my price range. The first guy I came across was very pushy and aggressive so instead I organised a ride to the city through a company which pools people together and takes them to the hotels. They organised a hotel for me as well, it was a little expensive at around $US60 for the night but it was 3 star luxury with even a kitchen and a stereo.
I was in no rush to getup the next
morning, the breakfast was horrible it was all pre-packaged food, worse than on an aeroplane. My first destination was the Plaza de Armas. The cathedral is surrounded by modern sky scrappers, its quite a contrast. The plaza was also filled by passing suits all rushing to work.
I next headed for Cerro san Lucia. This steep hill is located very near to the centre of town, Santiago was founded here in 1541. Upon arriving to the entrance a soldier took my details at an entry point (not sure why). The view from the top is spectacular, with high rises stretching into the distance in all directions, Santiago has a population of slightly over 5 million people. The Andes could also just be seen in the background looming over the city, although they where largely obscured by the smog.
I headed for Cerro San Cristobal, it was a long walk to it and then up the hill. Along the way I was stoped by a guy who claimed to be a poor university student collecting for his studies, I must say that after seeing the poverty in Peru I wasn’t particularly moved by his story, but I did make
a small donation and was given some poetry. He even claimed that his uncle lived in Melbourne and had given him a $2 coin for good luck, but later he wanted me to change his lucky coin into some Pesos. Upon my return from Cerro San Cristobal, two and a half hours later he was still at the same spot, to give him credit this was near a university. He asked me if I had been approached by a lot of other university students, which I thought was funny.
The view from Cerro San Cristobal was great although the Andes where still partly obscured by smog. This hill is 860m high, and has a 22m status of the Virgin Mary. After having a break and some ice cream I caught the cable car down.
Barrio Bellavista was a highlight. There is some very artistic graffiti on the buildings in this neighbourhood. I spent a bit of time exploring the streets before heading back to the centre of town. I had the worst burger for dinner that I’ve ever had, it was just meat on buns with no vegetables at all. In the evening I caught the long flight
back to Brisbane Australia via New Zealand.
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