Blogs from Santiago, Santiago Region, Chile, South America

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South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago March 15th 2020

It's a beautiful Sunday morning here in Santiago, Chile. Most of our small group arrived on Friday morning, looking forward to a lovely trip through four countries in South America, and for me, another chance to escape some of the winter's colorless cold in Maine. Our group numbers only ten intrepid travellers; eight had already cancelled for fears of the coronavirus or of the unknown. As it turned out, they were the smart ones. I hardly expected this trip to go forward because of all the shutdowns, but after calling Vantage and the airline multiple times (including on the morning I left home), I was repeatedly told that there were no problems in South America. So I travelled most of the day Thursday, and after arriving on Friday morning we met our Vantage leader, Nadia, and ... read more

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago November 11th 2019

So how to explain the last few weeks…and you may not be aware, but starting October 18th, Chile saw the beginnings of a massive social movement against the current state of the social system. And I don’t want to be flippant with this situation, as what people here are fighting for, is important, and the situation is complex. Now, not that I was predicting this would happen, but in hindsight I can see how the issues Chile faces with inequality, as well as the current structure of the social system, could lead to problems such as this. The best way to put it is that in the last few weeks when it comes to us and our lives, is they have ceased to have a rythym – each day is now different, each day is unpredictable. ... read more
Plaza Italia rally October 25th
Smoke over Santiago - Friday, November 8th
View of the same fire from a helicopter

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 21st 2019

It’s our last day in Chile and we’re going to Cerro San Cristobal; a park on a hill on the edge of the city reached by a funicular railway. First, breakfast from the mini market over the road. The old man buys a cake tossed in a thick coating of icing sugar and coconut. He puts it into a bag, then picks the bag up by the wrong end. The cake falls, he executes a miraculous catch, saving the cake and covering the next lady in the queue in sugar and coconut. After we’ve finished juggling/eating breakfast, we walk to the funicular which operates from its own castle and takes you 500m up the hill for great views over the city. You can then climb past a series of decorated crosses to a 22m high statue ... read more
Cerro San Cristóbal Teleférico
Cerro San Cristóbal funicular
Cerro San Cristóbal funicular

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 20th 2019

Today we’re sightseeing in Santiago. We’ve passed though it underground 3 times but not surfaced yet. We start with a tour of the Palacio de la Moneda (the seat of the President) where we visit the ground floor; courtyards, the press room, state rooms and the chapel. Then on to the main plaza and the cathedral, finishing at the hillside park of Cerro Santa Lucia. Here you climb several hundred steps through various gardens to a turreted lookout, where we are confronted by the rather surreal scene of a family taking their cat on an outing, while a man plays the soundtrack to Grease on a harmonica. The afternoon consists mainly of chores; I do 12 days worth of laundry while the old man gets a haircut and buys a new belt (following a rather embarrassing ... read more
Palacio de la Moneda
Palacio de la Moneda
Palacio de la Moneda

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 19th 2019

We awake to the inevitable sounds of rain and cockerels. It’s been an uneventful night, apart from the old man waking to find a cat on his chest. Today we are returning to civilisation, which is an exciting prospect, although I have developed a cough and chest infection and am terrified someone will notice and deny me boarding. We check out of our hostel. The bill is quoted in dollars then converted to pesos at a very creative exchange rate. The old man stands his ground and eventually she backs down and agrees to use the official exchange rate. It’s another long day of travelling; a 5 hour flight backwards through time zones, then a bus and a tube, finally reaching our apartment in Santiago at 8 pm. It’s such a relief to be somewhere clean ... read more
Waiting in the rain at Easter Island airport
What’s under here?

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 13th 2019

The trip is all but done now. All that’s left is to head to the airport and fly back to Sydney. This entry will cover what I’ve been up to for the last few days, and a summary of trip (best and worst, biggest surprise and disappointment). As I mentioned in the last blog, we checked out late at Vina Vik. We had a couple of hours to drive to my next hotel in the Maipo Valley (just south of Santiago). The GPS that we had been given for the car is extremely difficult to find destinations. Once you have the destination in, it works fine but I keep struggling to find the destinations. This time, I couldn’t find the hotel but I eventually found the winery Santa Rita. The drive was uneventful, thankfully. Although we ... read more
Casa Real
Vineyards of El Principal
Andean Museum

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 11th 2019

La Calma de Rita is a strange place, balanced precariously between rustic charm and just plain dirty. Our Romany caravan in quaint and the bed was really comfortable but I could do without the mouldy shower curtain. After breakfast, a similarly strange mix of tasty freshly baked bread and nothing else I’d care to eat, we head for Pirque. Our plan to tour several wineries in our fantasy hire car has been pared down to just one, but it’s the biggie; Concha y Toro, the 5th biggest wine producer in the world. We book the basic tour which includes a glimpse of the founder Don Melchor’s villa and gardens. Then on to a small vineyard, each row containing a different type of grapes. We’re invited to wander round, trying the different varieties. I’m surprised how different ... read more
Concha y Toro
Concha y Toro
Concha y Toro villa

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago January 15th 2019

A busy 2018 is done and it’s time for the holiday I began booking before I left on the last one. When my father mentioned the only place overseas he is interested in visiting was Antarctica, I began investigating how to make it happen. As it turns out, to get there you pretty much have to go to South America. So back to Chile I go! This time, with dad. Leaving on Monday morning, the flight to Santiago went very smoothly and actually felt quicker than last time. I’m not sure if the Dreamliner is faster, or if it was just my imagination. It was definitely worth paying extra to get a seat with more legroom though, and I actually got a pretty decent sleep for a change. I did think the food portions were a ... read more
New and Old
Santiago
Santiago

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago December 1st 2018

My last day in Chile arrived too soon. My flight was not until almost 10 PM that evening, but with airport security being what it is these days, I wanted to make sure I observed the three hours in advance requirement. That meant being limited as to where to go in the time I had left. The perfect solution, a return visit to Pueblito los Dominicos, my favorite craft shopping area, not only for the goods that can be found, but also for how pretty and quaint it is. It's also a destination that is easy to reach from where I was staying. On a Saturday, the Metro is not as crowded as on week days. The Pueblito stop is the last stop on the Metro line that is just a few blocks from the apartment, ... read more
Pueblito los Dominicos
Pueblito los Dominicos
Pueblito los Dominicos

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago November 30th 2018

On Friday, my last full day in Chile, we had the good news that the strike was over, and the Teleferico would be open that day. Without much rush, we headed over to the Oasis Station for our ride to the top of Cerro San Cristobal and took the few minutes long path to the ticket area. Although the carts stop mid-way up the Cerro for those passengers who want to visit the Botanical Gardens, we decided to just ride to the top, and decide later on if we wanted to stop on the way down. It was a very good decision, as it turned out. The views from the gondola as it climbs the side of the hill are breathtaking. It was not a clear day, but I was still swiveling around in my seat, ... read more
Teleferico Santiago
Teleferico Santiago
Teleferico Santiago




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