June 3, 2013 by 2sorefeet
Having a window seat on a flight from Sydney to Santiago is not exactly essential. It took 14 hours to cross the Pacific Ocean, not much of a spectacle unless you like looking at water. Completely jetlagged and yearning for a bed, our first mistake in South America was to book ourselves into a room with no windows, which made the adjustment to Chilean time take even longer.
A few days of slow-paced sight-seeing around Santiago eased us into South American culture. In the short space of a week our comfort zone of feeling 100% safe, tasty Asian food and sandy beaches had been turned totally upside down – we were now struggling in Spanish (me way more than Marie), paranoid for all our belongings and to top it all off- it was freezing!
Santiago is pretty unspectacular – but what it lacks in terms of attractions, it makes up for with some atmospheric “barrios” (neighbourhoods). With the exception of one outing to the top of a nearby mountain by cable car to view the city (picture below), our time in Santiago was mostly spent strolling around Barrio Bellavista and Barrio Brasil.
Energy levels restored to a somewhat respectable level, we headed to Valparaiso or “Valpo” as the cool kids say. A colourful, graffiti-ridden sea-side town 2 hours from Santiago with a distinct smell of dog piss thanks to the large population of stray dogs.
The city is effortlessly cool – despite having a bit of a run-down feel to it. Lots of cool little bars and restaurants gave us the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with some Chilean wine & specialities. (We definitely preferred the wineJ) As pictures can say more than words ever can, have a look at some of the graffiti below that makes this town definitely one of the most artistic places we visited on this trip.
Due mainly to the high cost of living and enormous distances between destinations, it was never our intention to spend much time in Chile. So with this in mind, it was time to head westwards through the Andes to Argentina for country number 9.
To be continued. . .
John & Marie