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Posts Tagged ‘Chile’

Chillin In Chile

Kelly and I only had a week in Chile, so unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore much of the country and stuck mainly to Santiago and Valparaiso. We’d definitely like to make it back someday to visit the Atacama desert and see the Lakes District and Pucon.

After waiting two hours in immigrations and customs and then getting screwed on the price of the cab, we arrived at our hostel in the Bellavista barrio of Santiago, which is known for it’s numerous bars, cafes, and clubs. Kelly and I had heard mixed reviews about Santiago, mostly that it was ‘just another city’ and that there wasn’t much going on.   Aside from the thick layer of smog that hung over the place obscuring the Andes, we thought it was rather nice…clean, easy to get around, and plenty of parks and green space.

During our time in Santiago, we hung out in the park of Santa Lucia, climbing up to the top tower to take in the views of the city.   After snapping some photos, we made our way to a nearby craft market and encountered an Asian lady selling egg rolls out of a cardboard box.  Kelly and I stuffed our faces for less than $2 on some of the best egg rolls we ever had…cheap delicious street food cannot be beat.

Entrance to Santa Lucia

View from Santa Lucia

One morning I climbed to the top of Cerro San Cristobal to see the statue of the Virgin Mary, which also has a church and an outdoor theater amongst some nice gardens (you can take a cable car to the top, but I needed the exercise).   The views of the city were outstanding, but again, the mountains were hidden by the smog.   Another day, Kelly and I wondered around the center of town and the Plaza de Armas before having a typical Chilean lunch of roasted chicken and french fries, topped with a fried egg and grilled onions.  So simple, yet so yummy.

View from Cerro San Cristobal. Can you see the smog?

Virgin Mary statue

Cool statue in the Plaza de Armas

This brings me to the subject of Chilean food.   There is definitely more variety than in Argentina (a lot more seafood) and we found that Chileans use a bit more spice in their dishes.  They also put mashed avocado on everything, including on one of my favorite foods here — the Chilean hotdog (which are sold EVERYWHERE).  For less than $4, you can get a ‘completo’ or an ‘italiano’, which is a hotdog smothered with avocado, tomatoes and mayo on a crusty roll with fries and a drink.  Nice.

Italiano

Fried eggs make everything better

Our evenings we spent at the hostel drinking with new friends and hitting the neighborhood bars (well, Kelly did anyway).

Interesting story behind this one

Since the coastal city of Valparaiso and the resort town of Vina del Mar were only a couple ours west of Santiago, we decided to hop a bus over for a few days with a few Aussie friends.   National elections were taking place over the weekend, so most all businesses were closed and we figured lying on the beach would be a great way to pass the time.

The city of Valparaiso is situated on the coast amongst dozens of ‘cerros’ (hills).   There are elevator lifts located all over town to help people up amongst the winding streets and a lot of the buildings are covered in graffiti, which is actually quite beautiful.   We wandered down to the port, visited some craft markets, ate at Cinzano (a restaurant specializing in Chilean seafood) and spent a couple of days lazing on the beach in Vina del Mar.

Dinner at Cinzano

Renaca Beach

Valparaiso

Since most of the bars were closed during our time here, we hung out at our weird hostel and watched movies with the Aussie boys and some Brits.   We spent a couple of more hot days in Santiago before catching a 14 hour flight to New Zealand for the holidays.

Random thoughts on Chile:

 -Chile is much more expensive than Argentina.

 -The wine is delicious and you can get a good bottle for around $5 – $6.  We were going to try and hit up a couple of wineries while we were here, but it just didn’t happen.  We drove by a few vineyards though on our way to Valparaiso and they looked lovely.

 -Every family member makes it a point to see their loved ones off at the airport, which is nice for them, but makes the place crowded and annoying for me.

 -George Castanza’s and Mandy Patinkin’s twin brothers ran for office here. Not really, but…maybe?

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