Arrived in Santiago

Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, December 8, 2011

just quickly letting you know that we are heading off to Valpariso for a week.

Chile is an interesting place, a lot busier and more advanced than Uruguay.

Sorry no photos yet but we are surrounded by the Andes Mountain range, urban sprawl, apartments and development.

Will write more later I have to go collect our drying laundry and finish tidying up.

... Montevideo airport is a nice clean and fair sized airport. It had cute and bright coloured statues of different animals. We also were hoping to claim Campbell's hoodie cardigan from American Airlines that he left on the plane on their flight in,  but in true American Airlines tradition  it was not open until 11.30am, 25 minutes after we were  due to take off.  So along with Andrew's misplaced hoodie and jacket we are missing a few more things, casualties of travel.

Our flight to Santiago was only a two and a half hour trip. As we approached Santiago we were met with amazing scenes of the Andes mountains. Of course I was two seats away from the window next to a friendly couple from Montevideo who kept getting in my airplane window shots. I couldn't believe we we flying over the  "Andes!!!!!"

We touched down safely and disembark heading towards passport control we get in line and the kids get excited to see another traveller with a good old "Coles" green bag, but were too shy to ask if she had just come from Australia. We finally get to the front of the line to find that we missed the arrows to send us around to the "entry fee" counter to pay our $60 ea entry fee. And to top it off 3 more flights had arrived and the back of the line was something  we did not want to return to. Luckily the passport control officer (at least we think she said to come straight back to her) told us to come back to her. When we were finally allowed to enter Chile and found a taxi we were hit with heat and other taxi drivers wanting us to use their service.

Our apartment was just 1 km from  Cerro Santa Lucia, a small hillside in the middle of Santiago that was first used as a fort/lookout when the Spanish first arrived in 1541 (
Our apartment owner Florus let us into our 22nd floor apartment. We had a view of the Andes mountain range, a mix of highrise apartments and run down tenaments, old churches, back street car parts  vendors and views of the city centre. We were directed to a little restaurant around the corner for a late lunch early dinner of Chilean beef, potatoes and salad by some very cute and polite ladies.

Tuesday was assigned to Hannah and I to plan. We were told about the fresh food markets and we wanted to explore the markets and get some cherries and strawberries yummy!!! We then headed up to the extraordinary Cerro Santa Lucia. The lower parts of the hill had been a cemetery in the 1800s then they used prison inmates to dig up the plots and move them elsewhere so they could turn the hill into a public space. There are a range of fountains, a casltle, an old church and interesting and attractive old buildings and stairways and tracks that lead up to the old city lookout. On our way home Andrew and I grabbed some meat and veges for dinner at the markets. After dinner Samuel and I paid a visit to the apartment gym only to find 1 exercise bike and the bench for doing sit ups, the only available and unbroken gym equipment to use, as all the other equipment was broken. But we had a gorgeous view of the sunset behind the mountains and city skyline, I didn't want to rush down to get the camera in case I missed it all  plus I was in the middle of my 30 mins on the bike.

Wednesday my shaggy son Campbell and shaggy husband started the day with much needed haircuts with a cute little old Chilean lady in her barber shop. Meanwhile we began exploring finding the old theatre, the Pre-Colombian museum and the  Plaza de Armas. The Plaza de Armas used to be the centre of the town that when they were under attack they would all come down to collect their arms and defend from the square, you learn something new everyday!

At our theatre tour in Montevideo we met an English tourist who told us about a free walking tour from the plaza so I found out the tour started off at 3pm. We met back up with Campbell and Andrew and headed back to the plaza after they had cleaned up from their haircut. Then the boys and I did a post office stop to post our Christmas cards to our non Internet and computer grandparents and postcards. We finally met up with Hannah and  Andrew after lunch in the National museum.  The museum displayed the history of Chile from the arrival of Columbus, Spanish colonial period, revolution, post revolution progress,  development  in the 20th century and political unrest social reforms. Our walking tour with Filipe at 3pm was fantastic. He was passionate, informative, animated and loud. He also told us of the resistance the Mapuche Indians put up against the Spanish arrival, the Spanish conquerors, their cruelty, Indian retaliation, settlement .... revolution, emergence of a nation, their heroes and their progress to date.

Growing up in a culture where English settlement, colonialism, convicts and influence abounds our new found knowledge of Spanish settlement and influence has been an education. It parrallels the English but with different shakers, movers, influences and leaders.

Our Spanish here has taken a new turn, they speak faster than the Uruguayans and we find ourselves having to concentrate a little bit more to catch words we recognise. I love it when we are so hopeless and the Chileans have no idea what we want, it is hilarious and you can only imagine that they must think we are "hopeless gringos"! Actually I don't know if I actually can be a "gringo" I am the wrong colour.

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