Day 2 in Santiago
Woke up with a headache but fortunately I was able to sleep till 7 AM Santiago time. As right now I have a 6 hours time difference this is not so bad. Headache might have been caused by not eating much yesterday. When I went down to the restaurants they were not yet open and room service didn’t answer the phone. It was too cold and I was too tired to go out though so I just ate some cookies.
Breakfast this morning was okay. Waiters/waitresses are dressed in gaucho style but coffee is awful (strange as South America is coffee-continent…). Buffet is not so much different from anywhere else: bred, eggs, wuerstel, some cheese, fruit, corn flakes, some warm stuff (have to try it out tomorrow) and cakes.
10 AM was supposed to be the time my tour should start (I have to say that the chileneans are VERY reliable – the tour operator I booked the hotel with called twice and I get messages to confirm my tours every evening – never happened in Mexico.. 😉 ). I expected a bus full of other tourists and was surprised when I found out that I was the only one. 🙂 Winter is slow season over here so I was lucky as I had a private tour. My guide told me that part of the area was closed to cars so we had to walk (better for pics anyway) and she warned me that we might have to leave the area in a hurry. What she did explain to me was that two special days are coming up. September 11 and September 18. September 18 is National Holiday which is why lots of shops and buildings are decorated with the chilenean flag and the chilenean colours and on Sepember 19 they have military parades. What I didn’t know (and hadn’t read anywhere) is that September 11 does have a very special meaning in Chile which has nothing to do with what happened in the US that day. In Chile on 11 September 1973 they had a military coup by General Pinochet and ever since this happened there are protests on that day in Santiago (thats the part I didnt know). They were expecting protests starting today and it was good she told me so I was on the watch and could avoid the areas in question in the afternoon (don’t think anything happened though). She told me to stay away from the Parliament building tomorrow and tuesday but I’ll be out of town tomorrow anyway and my flight on tuesday morning to Easter Island is very early. So… not a problem for me.
We walked around the area I had already seen yesterday and she told me that the sculture with the half face which I posted yesterday is in honour of the native population of Chile. Again we saw lots of stray dogs… and when I asked her about the ice cream shops she told me that Chileneans seem to prefer ice in winter… I asked her as well why there are so many pharmacies and drug stores and it looks like chileneans do need medications for a lot of smaller pains… Half of the shops are either ice cream or pharmacies/drug stores.
We walked through the Central Market where lots of fish is sold and after that the driver was waiting for us and we continued by bus. First we drove over to the Pablo Neruda house which is in ‚Barrio Bellavista‘ (Bellavista neighbourhood‘).
I absolutely LOVED that quarter as the houses are mostly painted in bright colours. Lots of restaurants there and as it is a photographers dream I decided to come back in the afternoon after the tour.
We drove around the city and on to a hill from where we did have a great view on the city. I didn’t pay attention to the clouds and was only looking down when the guide asked me whether I had seen the Andes… there were no clouds, that was SNOW… :-))) In winter you don’t see the Andes very often from Santiago as the pollution is much worse then so I was lucky again today… it was breathtaking!
From there we drove on through some more modern quarters. You can see where the more expensive areas are.
After the tour I just downloaded the pics and was out again as the sun was shining and I wanted to take advantage of it. I had found out that near my hotel there is a small hill which I did climb. The view from up there was stunning again as again I could see the snowy mountains *woohhooo*.
Then I crossed the bridge to walk to Barrio Bellavista again.
Took lots of pics of the colourful houses (lots of them are with paitings as well)
and then I went to one of the restaurants. The Lomo Pobo (steak with egg, onions and french fries) was not really good but – hey I am on vacation. With a glass of chilenean wine I was really happy.
After that I went back to the other side of the river. Along the river there is a small green area where lots of chileneans spend their sundays. So I went around watching some more and taking pics. When I came back to the area where my hotel is I took a pics of the San Francisco church in the sun. San Francisco is the oldest church in Santiago and the only one which survived all earthquakes so far….
My resume of today is: did I find Santiago somehow boring yesterday? Yes. Do I still find it boring? No, not at all. Guess I get more familiar with the area and I absolutely loved Barrio Bellavista.