We’re hanging a right from Tonga, heading across the south Pacific and landing in Chile today. I’ve always wanted to visit Chile and its capital, Santiago. Some say Chile is comparable to my home country of Canada—it has a similar standard of living and climate. It’s also nestled between the mountains and the sea, much like Vancouver (although it’s a couple hours’ drive in either direction for Santiago whereas they’re within minutes in Vancouver). I think that after the grand European adventure this year I may start planning a South American expedition.
As with many cities, the neighbourhoods of Santiago each have their own flavour. The Centro district has the museums, fabulous architecture and pedestrian malls. Other areas, notably Barrios Brazil, Lastarria and Bellavista are known for their nightlife with sidewalk cafés, restaurants, and beer halls. Whereas Providencia and Las Condes are home to upscale restaurants and world-class hotels.
If you’re a fan of Pablo Neruda, you may want to stop by La Chascona where he used to hang out with his mistress. These days it’s a museum, complete with ship’s cabin inspired dining room and lighthouse-themed living room. Unfortunately, many of the objects d’art and paintings were lost when the house was ransacked. It’s advised is to book ahead at least a day if you want to visit.
For me, I’d plan to spend time in one of the city’s many parks, especially Cerro San Cristobal. There are several “gardens” and sweeping views of the city and Andes mountains in the background. Funiculars can give you a lift from Plaza Caupolicán up the hill and to the various attractions within the park. Of course, one of my main reasons for visiting Chile would be to sample more of the wine. Santiago is ideally placed to enjoy the nearby vineyards.
There are hundreds of other things to do in Santiago—markets, museums, art galleries and cafés. Not to mention the country’s national library with high ceilings, stained-glass windows, antique furniture and, of course, books. Santiago is sure to keep me busy for several days.
Until next time then, adios!