Santiago, Chile

Day 1: In the Nick of Time

Oh man, I totally almost didn’t make it. The night before, I was scheduled to be picked up at 4am to head over to the airport for an early morning flight from Buenos Aires. I generally use my cell phone as my alarm clock and while my phone was charging last night, it decided to turn itself off! So yeah at 4am I get a call from the hotel saying my ride is here to pick me up and I freak the eff out! I told the hotel staff that the driver can leave without me and I can get a cab, but the driver said he can wait. I hopped out of bed and started to pack. Usually, it takes me 30 minutes to an hour to pack (no joke) to get everything to fit. I have never felt so stressed since I was working! I managed to get everything packed within 30 minutes and I felt SO BAD for the driver. I kept saying sorry in Spanish as his English was limited. He ended up getting me to the airport early and I gave him a good tip for waiting 30 minutes for me. Man, that wine last night!

My flight over to Santiago, Chile was pretty relaxing and then an announcement comes up to buckle up as we soon will fly over the Andes (which can cause turbulence). Once we flew over, I looked out the window and the view was AMAZING! I really was awe struck seeing these snow capped mountains that separated Chile and Argentina. Lucky me to snap some great shots without the wings of the airplane in my photos. We then descend over to Santiago and my hotel was scheduled to pick me up.

After I collected my luggage, I didn’t see anyone holding a sign with my name on it. I was getting a bit concerned then this guy who says he worked at the airport asked if I needed help. He asked for the number of the hotel and called with his cell phone. He then said that they forgot to send someone over and to just take a cab as he can help me get one. I got suspicious REAL fast and said no thank you and went about my way. I was so stressed at this point and all these guys at airport kept asking if I needed help or needed a taxi. I ignored them all and proceeded to the official taxi counter to ask about rates and then one of the guys followed me over. I suddenly snapped and said “Please give me some space!!!” then he left. It’s like JESUS no one is going to rip me off today or take me on a shady cab ride! I ended up booking a shared shuttle, Transvip which was affordable and reliable. I would later use them for all my future transfers.

I just remember feeling so stressed in the car and then the driver started to play Pharrell’s Happy (in English!) I thought ok you had a rough morning and almost missed your flight, but you’re ok now and safe. The driver ended up dropping me off first but dropped me off on the parallel street! LOL I was so confused and then I asked someone for help and he pointed out where to go. And also Chilean Spanish is like a whole other language to me! I was able to get away with speaking and understanding in the other countries, but that all goes out the window here! They speak REALLY fast and roll their S’s, which was really confusing to me. I then started to lug my bags to the parallel street probably with a pissed off look on my face! haha

I stayed at apartments that you rent out so the front desk did not speak English at all. I was then directed to the office of Christian who spoke perfect English. He was kind of helpful, but I missed getting that special service that you get staying at a hotel, B&B or even at a hosteria. Well, the rest of my day I had to find a plug converter since I didn’t have the right kind for Chile. I was on the main street of Providencia, but not close to where all the action is at. Overall, I had a really bad off day and hoping it gets better.

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View of the Andes from the plane.. so insane!

 

Day 2: Hop on, Hop off

Today I decided to do the hop on, hop off city tour. It’s basically this huge red double decker bus that drives you around different points of the city. You get a pair of headphones to listen to narratives in your selected language. Once they stop in each location, you have the option to hop off to explore then hop back on at anytime (bus comes every 30 minutes). Tour starts at 9:30am and ends at 6:30pm (last pickup is around 5pm I believe.) I really liked this because it gave you the option to explore on your own and conveniently hop back on the bus to see another location.

Santiago is a really safe city and I never felt uncomfortable here. I first wanted to go to the Plaza De Armas which was the main square of Santiago and the historic headquarters of Santiago. I got to see the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, Central Post Office Building, and Palacio de la Real Audiencia de Santiago and some historic government buildings. The square is like many of the downtowns I’ve seen so far in South America, very European influenced. I then walked over to the Central Mercado which reminded me a lot of Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.

After spending about an hour or so at Plaza De Armas, I decided to walk back to the bus stop to be picked up again. While I was there, a transvestite walked by which was really rare to see in South America (maybe they come out more at night) and the guy next to me asked if I thought it was a man or woman. I responded back in English and then he said “Oh you speak English? I haven’t spoke English in 3 months!” We board the bus and I find out he’s a pretty well known Canadian Artist and is Argentinian. He splits his time living in Bariloche, Argentina and in Canada’s Yukon. I was telling him about my last 3 months and how amazing it has been. Then he starts getting into Debbie Downer mode and said that his last 3 months were horrible. His mother died in his arms and he and his wife were divorcing. I felt bad for him, but then he kept moping on and it started bringing me down! I then wanted to get off the next stop and ditch him so I didn’t have to hear his sob story anymore. It’s like I’m sorry you went through a hard time, but please don’t rub you negativity or sadness on me because I am not a therapist and I want my trip to be filled with positivity and happiness!

I ditched the downer and got off where the fancy mall is to have some lunch.  I was in search for the Chilean National Team Soccer jacket for my dad. I tried to look around Plaza De Armas, but they only had the jersey available. At the fancy mall, all the stores were mostly name brands from around the world. I then walk into the Puma store (they sponsor Chile’s team) and one of the guys approached me and I asked him about the jacket in Spanish. Then he asked if I spoke English and started speaking to me in English! I was so shocked to meet a Chilean that speaks perfect English! haha He said he was the interpreter at the store because he knows how to speak Portuguese as well since he also lived in Brazil (but he was born in Argentina). He also told me that he was in college now and studying nutrition and then he asked how old I am! hahah He was shocked I was in my 30s and turned the game down a bit! LOL He was super cute, but you would have to call Chris Hansen to arrest me for thinking that! First, a debbie downer that was too old and and now a college cutie that was too young. Where do you find someone in the middle?? haha

Well I was able to get the jacket and I made my way to get some food to eat. I stumbled on to a burger place and it was ok. I then later hopped back on the bus and got stuck in horrible horrible traffic! There were some other Americans on my bus and they were stressing out because they were running late on catching their flight. YIKES. I didn’t get back to my stop till almost 8pm. I just grabbed a tea and headed back to call it a night.

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First one on the double decker bus!
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Sanhattan which is the more modern part of Santiago
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Plaza De Armas
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Inside the cathedral
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LOVE the European details
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Statue of Valdivia

 

Day 3: Vino y Nuevos Amigos

This was probably my favorite day in the city. Santiago has a huge Wine Country as they have very similar climate to California. I booked a day tour at Uncorked to the Casablanca Valley to visit 3 wineries and have a gourmet lunch. This tour was NOT cheap, but at the end I really felt it was worth it. The van came to pick me up and Stephan was our guide and wine connoisseur for the day. In our group was a couple from Washington DC, Adam and Stephanie and a guy from San Francisco, Mark. We all got a long so well and I really clicked with Stephanie as she’s traveled around the world for work and also leisure.

The first winery was RE Bodegas which was more of a boutique vineyard. We got the tour of the premises and were educated on the wine making process. Stephan had warned us earlier that the Casablanca Valley was not known for their bold full bodied reds, but mostly known for their crisp whites since the climate was too cool for reds to produce. I am a self proclaimed cab girl and for that, he said I would have to go to the warmer valleys like La Colchagua. As we settled in for our tasting, I was indifferent with the reds and absolutely fell for this 2012 Chardonnoir! We all ended up buying a bottle of it!

The second winery was at Kingston Vineyards which was much larger than our previous boutique visit. This winery had rollings hills of vineyards and an amazing view. After our walk, we had our wine tasting inside and I wasn’t too crazy about any of the wines we had. Again, the reds weren’t very impressive in this region but the whites were very nice.

Our final vineyard stop was at Casa del Vino and I’m not gonna lie but I was tipsy at this point. I don’t know how much wine I was drinking but I started feeling all giddy and happy! haha We were seated inside first for out gourmet four course lunch which was AMAZING and justified the prices of this tour. Usually, the lunch we get at a tour is not good, mediocre at best. We had this cheesy like bake with seafood, ceviche, a dish with a qual egg on top and finally an ice cream dessert. I just remember I killed the plates and even ate Stephan’s dessert LOL

On the way home, Stephanie and I chatted some more and we really connected. We exchanged information and she and Adam pretty much convinced me to go to Easter Island! I was planning to go down to the Lake Districts, but the volcano just erupted last week and the flights were getting cancelled down there. So I feel it was kind of a meant to be moment and once I got home that night, I started booking my trip to Easter Island! Go big or go home and I wasn’t ready to go home just yet!

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Posing at the vineyards in RE Bodegas
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Inside the cellar at RE Bodegas
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RE Bodegas
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The wine barrels at RE Bodegas
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New friends Stephanie, Adam and Mark!
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Vino at Kingston Vineyards
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Great views at Kingston Vineyards
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Loving the autumn colors
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Love the colors at Kingston Vineyards
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Got to taste some of the grapes, super yummy!
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Ceviche at Casa del Vino
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Seafood bake at Casa del Vino
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Don’t remember this dish, but it was good!
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Yummy and beautifully presented dessert
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Such a beautiful day

 

Day 4: The San Francisco of Chile

Today I planned to do a Day Trip to Valparaíso which many consider to be the San Francisco of Chile due to their colorful houses on the hills, urban culture and amazing street art. I decided to book with Turistik Chile because their prices were affordable and I had a good time on the hop/hop off. They pick up around 8am, then bring you to their main headquarters next to the the fancy mall. From there, you are directed to your bus (there are different ones going to different locations). My bus was FULL and I ended up sitting next to a nice girl from Mexico. She was sweet and offered me a cookie and said that she is going to University in Chile for a few months for an exchange program. How exciting for her and awesome to go to school in a different country! I just love that! Her two friends (a couple also from Mexico) just spent some time living in Brazil and will be heading back to Mexico to find full time jobs! They were great to chat with– young and so adventurous! We were all joking at the Chilean Spanish and how hard it is to understand! haha

Our first stop was at Viña del Mar which is a beachside city known now for its wineries. We made our typical tourist stops to the Reloj de flores and to see the beach. The beach grey and windy, I’m sure it would be nicer in better weather. We also stopped in this area for lunch and while the casino buffet lunch was recommended, we had the option to venture out on our own. I wanted seafood and the guide told me of a seafood restaurant 2 blocks down. I walked over and ordered their special which reminded me of the river fish I had at Iguazu. I didn’t really care for it and wish I ordered the sea bass! I also ordered their flan for dessert and it was good, but was smothered with this way too sweet orange goo. I wiped off most of it and had the flan as is which was more creamier than the ones I had in Argentina.

After lunch, we made our way to Valparaíso! The way our guide said “Valparaíso” was so exaggerated and dramatic that the guy from Mexico would mock him and we all giggled. We first made our stop to La Sebastiana Museum, one of the houses owned by the Nobel Prize Winning Chilean Poet, Pablo Meruda. The house was colorful and modern and gave stunning views of Valparaíso. Our guide later gave us an amazing walking tour of the city which I very much enjoyed. The street art was amazing and showcased how creative this city is and how open they are to art. Even in tucked in little alleys or discreet areas, you’ll find beautiful and creative art. We also took that old tram that takes you down from the hill. I really like Valparaíso and can imagine spending a little more time here. I also met this girl and her husband from Valenzuela that just moved to Chile so they still feel like tourists! They told me to never visit their country because the new President is worse than Chavez and they were so happy to get out. They miss their family, but grateful they were able to find good jobs in Chile.

Overall, a great day trip and I highly recommend going to Valparaíso!

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Reloj de flores
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Beach at Viña del Mar
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Cloudy Beach Selfie
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The special fish I had that didn’t taste to special
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If you remove the orange goo, the flan was good!
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More views of Viña del Mar
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Overcast at Viña del Mar
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Pablo Meruda House
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Love this shot of my 2 buddies from Mexico
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Valparaíso Street Art
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Pano of Vaps
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Valparaíso Street Art

 

Day 5: Is there an apocalypse?! No its just Sunday

Ok Sundays are the worse for travelers because everything is closed and the city is DEAD. Like no one is walking around the streets and I seriously thought an apocalypse occurred the night before and everyone fled the city! I wanted to do laundry that day, but everything was closed. Thank goodness some restaurants were open as I was able to eat a hearty brunch. For today, I decided to be brave and take the metro to the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago and do some hikes and exploration. The metro was so easy and I totally felt safe using it as I dodged using the metro in Buenos Aires. As I take my metro exit and walk to the park, I notice Chileans are really active and fit. They LOVE riding bikes, jogging and hiking. I felt like there were not a lot of big people here in Santiago and most everyone were in good shape.

The park was really lovely and I made the trek up to San Cristóbal Hill to see the Virgin Mary statue. I wonder if this concept is similar to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil as they are both on hills, but the one is Brazil looks MUCH bigger and maybe more of a trek. Sundays are usually church days too so it was fitting to see the statue and to fit in more with the culture out here. On the trek down, I saw more beautiful gardens and smaller parks. Again, there were so many cyclers going up and down the trails and I can imagine myself living in Chile but the only problem is the language! I don’t even try to speak in Spanish anymore because they never understand me and I never understand them!

After my exploration, I wanted to get some food and stumbled into Patio Bellavista to check out the shops and restaurants in the area. I wasn’t feeling seafood and opted for a burger again! haha I got a truffle burger which was better than the burger I had previously. A stray dog was also sitting next to me and I gave it a papa frita and it refused! LOL This dog was like the people here– healthy and wanted to lay off the carbs! HAHAHA I then gave it my leftover hamburger meat and the dog finally accepted it! Clearly, he or she was trying to watch their figure! I also stumbled into a tour agency that helped me book a tour to the Andes tomorrow. There was no snow yet, so I was worried I was going to see a bunch of dirt! Well, we’ll find out tomorrow.

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Virgin Mary Statue at San Cristobal Hill
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Virgin Mary Statue at San Cristobal Hill
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Cathedral at San Cristobal Hill
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Views up at San Cristobal Hill
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This little girl at the park!
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Metropolitan Park
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Funicular up to the top
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This dog refusing my french fry!
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At the metro.. no one around on Sundays
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Truffle Burger!

 

Day 6: Drive By

So I got ready to be picked up at 8am for my tour with a company called TurisTour. I waited at the lobby at 7:45am and by 8:30am no one had showed up and I got worried and called TurisTour. The woman on the phone said that her driver “drove by” and didn’t see me and proceeded to drive off. I told her I was in the lobby at 7:45am and waited 45 minutes! She then said that the traffic was bad and they couldn’t get out of the car to pick me up. I asked her if I was supposed to wait outside (which I NEVER had to do with other tours) and she said no and the driver is already far away and can’t pick me up. She offered a free tour tomorrow but I told her I already have something planned and needed to go today. I asked about next week and she said the free tour is only for tomorrow. I was livid and NEVER had such a bad experience in 4 months of traveling! I wrote a bad review on Tripadvisor and noticed other tourists writing bad reviews as well! I recommend you do not book with this company because I was PISSED!

InfoTour (who helped me book this) wrote me later and apologized. They said they talked to TurisTour and they will give me a free tour next week when I get back from Easter Island. I was so pissed that I refused the free trip because I didn’t want my final days in Chile to be ruined by some horrid company. Since I had the day open, I called up my go to Turistik Chile and they had an afternoon trip available to Concha y Toro which is one of Chile’s biggest and most famous wineries. They had someone pick me up (and not do a drive by) and we were again stationed at the fancy mall to hop on our designated bus.

There were only a few people on this tour and our guide, Jacqueline brought us over to the famous vineyard. There were A LOT of people (many older) for the English tour and one of the guys kept asking goofy questions. The vineyard is HUGE and really beautifully maintained. Our vineyard guide was amazing and really funny too. We then went down to the “Diablo” cave and this is where it got cheesy. The whole place turned dark and some creepy voice appears telling us a narrative of how the mystical diablo protects their grapes from thieves. I thought for a minute I was at the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland due to the cheesy theatrics. After that joke, I needed wine ASAP! They let us taste some whites and reds. I wasn’t crazy about any of them and the guide told me I can buy this brand in the states (not much of a cost difference).

Once we left, they did give us a complimentary wine glass which I ended up leaving at my apartment in Chile. =( Oh well, there was no room in my pack anyway and plus I didn’t want the mystical diablo to think I stole from their vineyard!

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Concha y Toro Vineyards
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Concha y Toro Vineyards
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Concha y Toro Vineyards
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Concha y Toro Vineyards
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Close up of the grapes
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First taste of a crisp white
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The cheesy Diable cave
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Time to taste the red!

 

Day 7: That’s it?!

Today I was going hiking and really excited about it since I had some awesome trekking trips in Argentina! My guide, Alejandro from EcoChile was early to pick me up and he was a cutie! I later found out that he traveled through Southeast Asia (with his girlfriend) for a year! He just got back this past November and I thought that was totally awesome and give a round of applause. I just LOVE that! He said that Nepal was his favorite and I have to add that on my list for the future (prayers to the people there dealing with the recent earthquake).

On our trip today were 3 couples: A couple from Australia, one from Texas and a couple from England. The Australian couple are married and took a few weeks off to travel in Peru and Chile. The Texas couple were a riot! They are young, married and relocated to Brazil for a year because of the husband’s work. Krissy (the Texas girl) was telling us these hilarious stories of living in Brazil and how they got robbed 3 times, but got all their stuff back! She said this kid was asking for money and she told him she had water and he hit her arm and took her phone. She grabbed her phone back and snapped at him! I was like damn girl you are brave because its advised to let thieves take your stuff. Her whole thing is “well I can just shoot them with me gun” HAHAHA She is SOOO from Texas! Her husband, Pat too had a story where some guy tried to rob him and he told him his stuff is his and the robber just took off! Again, they are brave!

Krissy also told us about the World Cup and how everyone was upset about their lose at first, then just forgot about it and focused on the partying! LOL Brazil is currently dealing with the oil scandal and they riot by grabbing their pots and pans to make noises! I was like REALLY? You see how we are rioting now in Baltimore, geez! I always had this thought in my mind that Brazil was dangerous, but its soooo not from what I am hearing from other travelers and people that live there. I mean, you take caution in every country that you go to and even the states can be be dangerous. Krissy was saying that the Colombians and Peruvians she met tell her that the Brazilians needs to grow some balls! She also told us a funny story about the maid stealing her phone and when she confronted her, she asked her in Portuguese: “Who took it then? A Ghost?!” I was laughing so hard because the maid was shocked she even knew what the word meant! I can never forget that now: “quien? fantasma?!” lol

So we finally make a stop to pick up our lunches to place in our packs then head out to the mountains in Maipo Valley to see the El Morado Glacier. Alejandro told us that the first part is difficult as it is mostly uphill and he was not joking. I don’t mind the uphill portion, I just didn’t like the heat! It was HOT and reminded me a lot of the hot dry SoCal climate that I hate! We were directly in the sun and lathering sunscreen like crazy. There were a bunch of school kids doing the hike too and I felt bad for the out of shape kids that were red in the face and looking like they were gonna pass out! At the same time, its good that they are being active and I’m sure are learning a lot about the geography and climate on their trek.

After like an hour and a half, we finally reach the glacier and I was asking Alejandro where it was because I couldn’t find it. Then he pointed at the puddle in front of us and I started to laugh! El Sol melted the glacier away! I mean, it was much larger than a puddle but still hilarious. We all had our lunch there and then hiked back which was much easier as it was downhill and the sun wasn’t right in our face. And even though the dry climate reminded me of Southern California, their mountains were colored similar to the ones in Jujuy, Argentina (but not as bright or as many colors.) They also had these BEAUTIFUL yellow trees that just scream Autumn.

Our trip wasn’t over yet as we then descended to chill in the Baños Colina hot springs, nestled at the bottom of the San José volcano. As we arrived, no one else was there and we got these pools of natural hot springs all to ourselves! The pools cascaded down to other pools and the higher pools were the hottest and the lowest pools were the coolest. It was an awesome moment to sit in these natural hot springs right smack in the Andes Mountains!! After relaxing in the hot springs, we got to shower off and then enjoy some snacks as Alejandro setup a picnic of olives, crackers, cheese, salami, chips and VINO! I really enjoyed this trip and highly recommend it!

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Just enjoying my day!
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Don’t mind me, just chillin! LOVE the dogs of South America!
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Maipo Valley
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LOVE the color of the trees
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Views on our hike
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Our guide and my crush, Alejandro
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Beautiful mountains and trees
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Hiking in the sun
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Panorama view
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Almost there!
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On our way
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Amazing mountain views
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More beauty
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Another Panorama view
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I know, but I loved this view
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More beautiful views
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Look at the mountain colors! Gorgeous
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Hot day, but beautiful mountains
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El Sol melted the glacier away!
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LOVE the colors
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Texans and Australians
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Hot springs and Andes! Perfect combo to end the day

 

Note: The next day, I headed out to Easter Island for 4 days/3 nights. See post here.

 

Day 8: A Fight as Compelling as the Puddle Glaciar

I ended up getting back pretty late into Santiago and didn’t have any problems at the airport as I booked Transvip in advance to my new hotel, Plaza El Bosque San Sebastian. I really liked Las Condes (where my new hotel is at) WAY more than Providencia, but had to pay a higher price here. The staff at the hotel spoke PERFECT English and were so helpful and accommodating. When I checked in, they told me that they were broadcasting the Pacquiao Mayweather fight for free (but in Espanol)! I was so excited, but what I saw was the MOST BORING fight ever and I totally got annoyed that I stayed up till 2am to watch that mess! lol

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Needed this after watching that boring fight. Churro y chocolat!

 

Day 9: Hop on Hop Off Part Deux 

Since I just came back to Santiago and wanted to see more of the city, I decided to do the hop on/hop off bus again because it was SUNDAY (the most boring day of the week for travelers) and wanted to get off at more stops that I wasn’t able to see the first time around. This time, I stopped by the fancy mall to do some last minute shopping and get some lunch. I stumbled into this Peruvian restaurant to have some yummy ceviche and empanada (my favs in SA!) The empanada had that weird beef stew filling that I don’t like, but the ceviche was good (not as good as the Easter Island one!) I also had a refreshing fruit drink while there.

I admit I ended up buying a jacket at TopShop and when I returned to the states, I paid almost $20 less in Chile! Wahoo! But its a good thing I didn’t know this because I didn’t want to do anymore damage. I do admit, I didn’t do a lot of shopping in South America, mostly gifts for family as I didn’t want to add more to my already stuffed pack! I wanted to say Hi to my cutie at the Puma store, but thought about Chris Hansen and his crew dragging me out of the store in handcuffs so I just opted to walk by.

After doing a little bit of damage, I hopped back on the bus to check out Santa Lucía Hill which originally caught my eye, but didn’t have time to go the first time around. I first stumbled into this really modern, copper colored building and decided to investigate. The library is located there (but closed) as well as a theater for performances. On the other side there was an awesome book store and a super hip Puma shop. Inside, there were a couple of gallery exhibits and I was able to check out 2 of them. One was more about the native culture from the past and weapons that were used. The other, Museo de Arte Popular Americano had some contemporary art on the outside halls and more small intricate pieces inside. Even better, there were some cool murals outside and I really enjoyed stumbling onto this gem!

After getting distracted, I make my way to Santa Lucia Hill. I trekked up to see these zip zag stair cases to this BEAUTIFUL yellow ornate architectural piece with a fountain. It was really gorgeous and I took a ton of pictures. I went up higher to where the castle is and got this killer view of Santiago! I liked this view better than the one from the Metropolitan Park. Funny enough, I ran into the Swiss couple from Easter Island again! What are the chances since Santiago is so HUGE and it was more common running into people at Easter Island?! So funny!

After taking a few walks around to navigate the area some more, I went back down to make sure I catch the bus in time! The bus was right on time and dropped me back off in Las Condes. I really like Las Condes, its considered “Sanhattan” (Santiago and Manhattan) over here and really clean and modern. Lots of really great restaurants around and super safe to walk around. I just find it funny that they have all these American restaurants like McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Dennys, Ruby Tuesday, TGIFridays etc but they don’t speak English! I wanted to treat myself that night and got a cafe sundae! Yes I took a ton of lactaid!

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Ceviche!
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Empanada with that weird beef stew filling
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Murals outside of the Museum
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More murals
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One of the exhibits inside
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Great architecture at the copper building
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Art at the super hip Puma store
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Gorgeous Santa Lucia Hil
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Beautiful staircases
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Love yellow
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Zig Zag stairs
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View of Santiago from the top
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More views from up above
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Santiago city views
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Treat yo self!

 

Day 10: No Endings, Just New Beginnings 

This was it guys, my final day in Santiago and my final day in South America. I was fighting with myself last week whether I extend my trip some more or just go home. I contemplated going to Colombia (which I still want to do), but it just seemed like an after thought. Also the same volcano in the Lake Districts of Chile erupted AGAIN and no one was flying down there. Even though I wanted this adventure to last forever, I felt at peace going home. I was scared that I was going to freak out and have a hard time like I did in Asia. You had to drag me out kicking and screaming from there and when I left, I cried for 2 days straight! I LOVE South America, but I felt deep down I was ready to go back. Also, I had enough money to last months longer there, but then I would get back to the states broke and hustling to find a job! I didn’t want that stress or pressure and really wanted to take my time looking for the right opportunity (even in another state or country!)

So for today, I wanted to do a half day trip up to the Andes since I love my mountains and wanted that to be my last memory here. I set a trip up with my go to Turistik Chile and they picked me up early to head out to the Andes. OK, this drive was ROUGH. For 4 months, I have NEVER thrown up or got so motion sick to the point that I yacked. The closest that happened was in the big boat and bus in Thailand. Well, ladies and gentleman here was another close call! The drive was so curvy and rocky that I was seriously going to throw up and felt SO MOTION sick. Even the guide made a comment after he looked at me “This drive can get you motion sick, let me know if we need to pull over.” LOL I totally didn’t want to be THAT person throwing up on a road in the middle of the Andes!

We make it up and I was about to pass out! I would have much rather hiked up here but that would take a full day and my flight was later tonight. Our guide told us he recommended the ski lift up to the mountains to do some short hikes and take pictures. Ok so the mountains were all brown and there was no snow. Snow is supposed to come in a few weeks and I’ll unfortunately miss it. I ended up taking the ski lift up which was pretty cool because you get some nice views of the Andes! I also met a girl from Singapore here for work and had to help interpret things for her in Spanish haha I kinda got caught up in the hiking and realized I might be running out of time and jetted back to the ski lift!

The guide told us the ski lift takes about 20 minutes, but its honestly a little over 30. Once I got off, I practically ran up the hill and felt my lungs ready to explode! OMG never again, I was SO out of breath but I was scared the bus would leave me. So yeah I get up there and was one of the first people by the bus! What the heck and the bus didn’t even leave until much later! UGH! I also let some poor soul borrow my scarf because these Americans were not prepared and wearing really light clothing! It was damn cold up in the mountains and I already knew that. We got back into the city pretty late, around 2 as I anticipated us back by 1.

After getting back to Las Condes, I went over to the W Hotel to have lunch at a highly rated Japanese fusion restaurant but it was closed! I ended up having lunch at a contemporary restaurant also in the hotel and it was pretty good. I realized this was my last meal here before I hop on a plane later tonight back to the states.  With time to burn and my luggage stored away at the hotel, I walked around some more but still felt weak and a bit sick from the Andes trip (the ride down was rough too). I then went over to the mall and it was overwhelming to me and pricey. After trying to unsuccessfully ask a Chilean “tienes helado sin leche?” he looked at me with a blank stare “QUE?” Apparently they say “sin” as “chin” and that makes NO SENSE to me! Oh Chilean Spanish! But I did get my non dairy ice cream at another place close to my hotel and sat out on the bench people watching and taking in my final moments here.

Rodrigo from Plaza El Bosque San Sebastian was so awesome and helped me out with my luggage and called the airlines to make sure my flight was on time! LOVE the service there and perfect English! Transvip was right on time as usual to pick me up and drop me off (along with others) at the airport early for my flight. I ended up buying a ton of snacks and treats to take back with me to the states. As I boarded the plane I thought “Wow this is it, but this is definitely not the end.”

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Hello Andes Mountains
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Pano of the Andes
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My last day here in South America
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Snow capped mountains
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Another pano view
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Andes
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No snow yet
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The snow lift down with no snow
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One more pano
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Final 3 course lunch! First up seafood soup
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Next up chicken!
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Finally dessert

 

epilogue…

4 months ago I took a chance. I quit my job and hopped on a plane across the world with no real plans– alone, scared, anxious and excited of what was to come. 4 months later I can truly say that was the BEST decision I have ever made. What I experienced is something I will never ever forget and hold deep in my heart forever. This world is SO big and has so much to offer. I’m so grateful I took that chance.

BEST 4 MONTHS OF MY LIFE.

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Thanks for reading and following me on my journey! xx