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Published: November 6th 2014
Mountains at Sunset
The view from the rooftop of the W Hotel in Santiago
I have been in South America a few days now, so it’s about time I did the first blog for this trip. On Sunday I left Sydney, bound for Santiago. The flight went fine, but ultimately uneventful. I didn’t get much sleep, but I did get a little bit. It was strange to be landing at 11:30am on the same day that I had left Sydney at 9:30am!
I was met at the airport by a lady named Carol, who works for the travel company handling all of my Chile stuff. She was lovely and we had a fun talk on the way to my hotel. I had booked two nights at the W Santiago. It was expensive, but my travel agent had recommended it because of the rooftop bar with a view of the Andes. Carol told me on the way, however, that the bar is apparently closed ever since Lady Gaga stayed at the hotel. Apparently nobody knows what happened. I have my doubts because I read somewhere else that it was closed for renovations.
We arrived at the hotel and Carol made sure everything was okay before leaving. While everything
Tallest building in Santiago
This building became my landmark while walking around the city
was okay, my room wasn’t available yet because it was only midday. So I had a few hours to kill. I decided to have a walk around the area near the hotel. However, it quickly became apparent that while it was a very nice part of the city, there wasn’t much to see. The park across the road did have some antique stalls, but mostly it was just junk. I bought a couple of drinks from a convenience store, greatly upsetting the guy because I only had 10,000 peso notes. I spent the remaining time sitting in the park reading my book.
I returned to the hotel and they gave me my key and said they would bring my luggage up. About an hour later I had to ring reception to find out how long it would be, and thankfully it arrived shortly after. I then went to have a shower, which also required me to ring reception because I couldn’t change the temperature from boiling hot. They sent somebody up who loosened the fitting and I was finally able to feel somewhat human again after a fantastic shower.
Of course, by this stage
Red Light Performance
These three were earning money by doing gymnastics for cars stopped at the red light
I was exhausted but I didn’t want to go to bed until it was actually night. So I ordered some room service and around sunset I headed up to the roof to take some pictures. While the bar on the roof was indeed closed, the swimming pool was still open so I could get up there easily enough. I had originally thought of staying up there until it got dark in order to take some night shots but it was soon apparent that the pool was being closed for the night. So I headed back to my room and went to sleep.
I woke up ridiculously early on Monday morning thanks to a confused body clock. After giving up on more sleep, I spent some time chatting online with people back home that were just coming home from work. I had breakfast at the hotel before grabbing the camera and heading in to Centro, the central district of Santiago.
I decided to walk in because Google said it would take just over an hour and walking is a great way to see a city. The route in was along the river (or canal, not
River or Canal?
I couldn't decide which it was.
sure exactly what you would call it) which was mostly parks the whole way. The first thing of interest I saw was a novel take on earning money from motorists stuck at a red light. Two guys were throwing a girl up in the air on the road in front of the stopped cars. It was gymnastically done, so it was a performance, but one that could be viewed by all the cars that were stopped – not just the front ones. What a great idea!
The next thing I came across was the sculpture park (Parque de las Esculturas). My friend Claudia (who is from Santiago originally but now lives in Sydney) had recommended it to me and I was going to check it out when I came back in December. But as I was walking past, I decided to check it out. There were some pretty cool sculptures there, although some are starting to show their age. A few paint jobs would have made for some better photos, but it was still great to visit.
I continued heading into central Santiago. The parks became even nicer as I went on. One thing
I noticed was that there were a lot of amorous couples lying in the parks. What’s the Spanish for “get a room”? But seriously, it was a bit awkward at times walking past them. By the time I had to leave the parks to go to my planned destination it was the tail end of lunchtime. So I stopped into a café for a delicious ham and cheese baguette (and, importantly, a toilet stop!) before heading up to Santa Lucia Hill.
The hill is a park in the centre of Santiago and is a highpoint with great views. There were 2 forts built on there to defend Santiago, although I’m not exactly sure how much is original now. It is a fantastic little park to walk around though. Getting to the top is a bit of a challenge when you come from the north side where I did. The stairs are very steep and a bit hazardous in places. I found heading down the other side was much easier. But the views from the top were definitely worth the effort.
I then descended down the other side of the hill. On the way down,
I came across a photo shoot for what I presume was male underwear. I thought it was pretty funny, but I could see some ladies in the park found it quite enjoyable. One lady seemed to be taking sneaky snapshots for herself.
Once down, I decided I wasn’t too tired so I figured I should walk back to the hotel. There’s nothing like being absolutely exhausted for getting a good night’s sleep. I decided to walk back a slightly different way; down the main thoroughfare of Santiago (it changes names as it goes along). This route was much busier than the parks I had walked through to get to Centro. About halfway back to the hotel I was beginning to regret my decision, but I soldiered on.
I had an early dinner and a reasonably early night because I had a very early start on Tuesday morning. My flight to Lima left at 9:10 so I had to be at the airport a couple of hours before that. That all went smoothly and I was on my way to Lima. I shall leave that for my next blog though! Santiago is a lovely city
I can't remember which museum this was, but it's a grand building
and I am looking forward to spending a few more days there on my way home.
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