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Published: August 2nd 2008
Open air art museum
Our last few weeks in South America were spent in Chile followed by 6 days in Rio de Janeiro. Chile
We flew into Santiago and spent a few days checking out the sights beneath a layer of smog, as it is apparently the 3rd most polluted city anywhere in the world. However it was a great city and we enjoyed getting lost in the side streets, trying the food and seeing even more lovely Spanish Colonial buildings.
From Santiago we headed to Valparaiso on the Pacific Coast, Chile's cultural capital and famous for the colourful houses that line the top of numerous cliffs. Its a pretty crazy town with street art, windy alleys, beautiful houses and wonderful seafood. We spent our time exploring the cliff tops and little alleyways, trying to avoid stepping in the dog poo that can be found on every footpath! After spending a few days in Valparaiso we decided to head back to Santiago and explore the possibility of skiing.
The most disappointing thing about being in Chile was not being there in summer when numerous possibilities would have been open to us, we could have headed for the beaches, gone further south
to the Lake District or to Patagonia. Being in Chile during winter allowed us the possibility of skiing and visiting some of their famous vineyards. We were also feeling a bit travelled out - and spent much of our time in Santiago trying to stay warm, which involved spending quite a lot of time at the local cinema - we watched everything they had!
After having our hearts set on skiing we realised that it was too expensive so we went on a lovely vineyard tour and tasted plenty of great wine. We also bought a few bottles which we covered in bubble wrap and carried them with us the rest of the way! We visited Undurraga and Conche y Toro vineyards and had a lovely day with an Irish couple on the tour with us. We were lucky to have decent weather but it was still cold and we were in coats all day. Rio de Jainero
After having had some fairly depressing weather in Santiago (with the odd bit of sunshine trying to get through all the smog) we were hoping to get in some sunbathing on Ipanema Beach once we had arrived in Rio
Cerro Santa Lucia
de Janeiro but unfortunately the rain was following us. Our first few days were spent sloshing around Rio in our raincoats and an umbrella trying to enjoy ourselves in the magical city of Rio. We saw the beaches and the neighbourhood of Santa Lucia in the rain, but decided to leave some of the other sights until the weather cleared.
We also booked a hang gliding trip over the south of Rio landing on one of the beaches but it was cancelled due to terrible weather. The following day the weather cleared and it was a perfect day for hang gliding. Some Americans staying in our lovely posada decided to come with us and the five of us went and met our guides and headed to the top of Pico Bonito from where we would run off a cliff or as the guides like to say, 'run to the horizon' which sounds quite terrifying but was absolutely amazing. We were both up in the air for about 25 minutes each and we could see the beaches to the north and south, and the Christ Redeemer in the background. A wonderful way to spend our last full day in South
Cerro Santa Lucia
After the hang gliding we headed off and had a kilo lunch, an expansive buffet which you choose from and then you pay by the 100g. It is a pretty healthy, delicious and fun option. After our buffet lunch we went to the Christ Redeemer and enjoyed the sunset over Rio and Sugarloaf. We bumped into our hang-gliding buddies again and went out to dinner with them to celebrate our last night in South America. We had a lovely dinner and went on to have a rather huge night.
The next day we had to fly to Madrid. Hungover and sad, we said goodbye to Latin America, our home for the past 9 months, and headed for Europe to hopefully continue our adventures.
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