I have to go back to Santiago, Chile. I know I just returned from there but I’m already planning my next trip. Here’s why.
Read about my first impressions, favorite moment, and favorite joke (Hint: it’s about Argentineans). I will do a separate post about Pablo Neruda’s houses.
Highlights and First Impressions:
– The majestic Andes tower over the city, their snowcaps punctuating the skyline.
– Santiago is home to the tallest building in Latin America—Gran Torre. It’s not particularly interesting on its own but is spectacular with the backdrop of the Andes.
– The people are very polite and helpful.
– The city is not choked with tourists.
– There are a lot of parks, including Cerro San Cristóbal (I took the funicular to the top) and Cerro Santa Lucia (I climbed the stairs—it beats the Stairmaster).
– Chilean wine is fantastic and really cheap—I loved Carménère (so happy they rediscovered the grape after it had died out in Europe over a century earlier).
– I took a bike tour of a few wineries outside the city. It’s a great way to get some exercise, learn about wine and get out of the city.
– The seafood is great and in abundance.
– Taking the metro is cheap and easy. It’s clean, modern and the trains come very quickly. I never really had to wait. If I missed the train, by the time I went down the stairs, the next one was already pulling in.
– Incredibly spirited and vibrant street art.
– There are lots of street dogs, roaming the city freely.
– The streets are very clean—remarkably, I didn’t encounter much dog poop. I’ve had more problems on New York City sidewalks where dogs have owners to pick up after them.
My favorite moment:
On my way to a winery outside of Santiago, our van was held at a traffic light in the center of town because of a race. The first group of competitors sprinted by, followed by the second and third. Soon it was an endless river of runners… and dogs. Street dogs joined, single or in groups, their tails wagging madly, and ran alongside for a while before peeling off farther down. “You mean we’re not chasing anything? Just running? No, thanks!”
My favorite joke:
Apparently, Argentineans are known as the French of Latin America and are the butt of a lot of Chilean and Brazilian jokes.
Do you know how Argentineans commit suicide?
Answer: They climb to the top of their ego and jump.
What I bought:
Two red woven pillows that match the set of Bulgarian and Turkish ones on my couch.I’m terrible at figuring out holiday presents—usually running to stores at the last moment and never finding anything good—so I decided to start on my Christmas shopping early, in a place where I could get some real treasures.