Hello ladies, from the first stop on our trip around the world – Santiago!
Santiago is a diverse city with different districts, separated by a river and hemmed by mountain ranges. It’s one of the most famous in the Andes range, spanning the longest length in the world through seven countries. Plus, it’s the second highest range to the Himalayas! More about the Andes later…
The three main districts on one side of the river are downtown (the commercial financial centre of the city), Providencia (the happening shopping hub) and Las Condes (a more up-market area with restaurants, cafes, shopping). On the other side is Bella Vista - a hip, trendy area full of bars, restaurants and clubs, brightly painted murals and standout architecture.
The shopping in Santiago is good, however, similar pricing to Australia, with big malls to small boutiques. The biggest is Costanera Centre Mall in Providencia, with six floors spanning several blocks, high fashion to local stores and massive supermarket Jumbo. Another nice mall, which is outdoors and has an up-market ‘outdoor food court’, is Parque Arauco in Las Condes - high fashion but in a lovely setting with ice skating and theatres.
I know you’re all wondering about the food, so here goes… The food is delicious! Empanades, sapodilla (a pumpkin deep-fried pastry) and pisca sour (dinrk) are all popular Chilean delicacies I’m enjoying here. Lucky I love Spanish food, as there’s a great Spanish influence here, reflected in the food and language.
Transport is easy; the options are subway, bus, push bike or walking off all that delicious food! With the city built in a grid, it’s easy to find your way. Santiago is unique in the way it’s 1.5 hours from the Pacific Ocean, and 1.5 hours to the Andes to the East, so if your passion is surfing and snow skiing, it would be possible to do both on a weekend. Perfect. There’s been some haze setting into the city; it hasn’t rained in weeks and apparently the mountains stop the wind from moving the haze. I’ve noticed that not many people wear sunnies over here – it must be an Australian thing!
The Chileans love their local football; we watched the Copa America (South America Cup) with Chile getting up over Peru. A match with Argentina will be a challenge for host Chile in the final!
We visited one of the lodes wineries in Chile - Saint Carolina, established in 1765. It still uses vines in some areas originating from this time… Amazing! The winery was beautiful and the cellar amazing with arches and brick columns, the mortar made of lime and egg whites. It even withstood the earthquake in 2010.
Sans Cristobel is the highest hill in the city, surrounded by National Park. It overlooks the city and has a 22-metre Virgin Mary on top, watching over the people below. Furnicular is a great transport option to the top of the mountain from the city.
Santiago is a wonderful city to lose yourself, though it’s the people that make the experience one not to be forgotten.
We’re collecting moments, not things.
Ciao, Jen x
P.S. Chile defeated Argentina in a shoot-out at the end. First time since 1968!