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Published: October 6th 2010
The city from Cerro San Cristobal
After all the activity in Mendoza we were in need of a rest and so planned to have some down time in Santiago and have really enjoyed it. Of all the big cities we've been to Santiago is the most progressive and in some ways has felt like home away from home.
We stayed in Bellavista the 'bohemian' barrio of the city. It is a nice area to spend an afternoon with lots of cafes, bars and restaurants, set in a little patio that feels a lot like Camden lock!
We have spent a week here in total and have had the chance to see a fair amount of the city and surrounding area. Walking around, the scars of many earthquakes and tremors are obvious on the buildings. Our guide told us that Chile experiences a small quake every 2 months and a bad one every 20 years, earthquakes are such a way of life over here there is even a drink named after one! More amusingly all this talk of quakes has caused steve to develop a fascination with seismic activity and according to him there were 3 quakes during our 7 days in Santiago!? Needless to say
no-one apart from him felt them! (We even had to check on the internet!)
Aside from hunting for earthquakes, we have been to a few museums, visited the home of Chile's celebrated poet Pablo Neruda, and visited the famous Concha y Toro winery. (If you've never heard of them go and look at wines next time you're in Tesco!). We also travelled to the Coastal towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Valparaiso was the first city in Chile, and now a UNESCO world heritage site. It is built on the side of a hill and has many lifts which transport people from their homes down to the port. Normally neither of us are very keen on lifts but not wanting to wimp out of this chilean experience we bought tickets and boarded. Lets just say the 1890´s engineering still just about works, but the ride is rather hair raising. You could see through the gaps in the floorboards and it was extremely rickety. As a result we have a photo of Steve looking very pale! Oh and Ellie laughing it up, (won´t be so funny when it´s spider time in the jungle!).
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