Sunday, January 24, 2010

South America Trip - Santiago, Chile

After a wonderful and relaxing week in the Florida Keys, Erin and I said a very sad goodbye to Evelyn in the Miami airport and then flew to Santiago, Chile. Carissa has been living in Santiago for 6 months and the two of us decided to make a trip to South America and visit her. We also wanted to experience a true "backpacking" trip, where we stayed in hostels and planned our itinerary as we went as opposed to the hotels and guided tours we are accustomed too.

After an overnight flight we rested for a couple hours in our first hostel and then set out for sightseeing. Our time in Santiago was a breeze because we had Carissa as our resident, Spanish-speaking guide. We didn't have to do any planning ourselves and knew we were going to see the best sights in the city.

Our first stop was Cerro Santa Lucia, an old fort on a hill with a terrific view of the city.

At the end of the hike we had a picnic with a group of Carissa's friends which was really fun. The group was a very broad mix of Chileans and international residents. Everyone spoke English but we were the only ones that didn't speak Spanish. Thankfully, they kept most of the conversation in English for us.
Next we hiked to Cerro San Cristobal, a Mary statue on top of a really tall hill a little further outside of town. The hike was much harder, but the view was excellent.

Santiago is a huge and very modern city. Besides the whole Spanish language thing and 90 degree weather in January, it felt like a Chicago or New York. We did a lot of walking around seeing Carissa's normal spots and a few other landmarks like this old train station.
Some of the city parks had exercise equipment built into the playground equipment. Here is the playground version Tony Little's "Gazelle Freestyle." I'm guessing they didn't pay him any royalties on the knockoff.
A group of us went to La Piojera bar one night. It was a very traditional bar, supposedly over 100 years old. Their specialty was a drink called The Terremoto -> The Earthquake.
We were visiting right before the Presidential Election. The two candidates are Pinera and Frei. Posters and billboards were plastered EVERYWHERE.
Downtown we visited the main government building, complete with a British style guard.


Blogger la.leche said...

Enjoyed reading this post :) I wish to step on Chile soil in the future, too.

12:57 PM  

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