Over the Andes to Santiago

Trip Start Jul 30, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Chile  ,
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Took the 8:30 bus from Mendoza. It wa an amazing ride through the Andes. We drove through the ravines along the river. There was low scrub like in the desert and the mountains had tons of color from the different rocks and minerals. The tallest peaks were covered in snow even though it is still summer here! At the highest point we reached passport control and the huge sign, Welcome to Chile. The way down the Chilean side was steep with many many switchbacks.
Arriving in Santiago, we were surprised that it was so big with a cosmopolitan feel. Since we did not do any research for the city before we lft Argentina, our first stop was at an internet shop. We found a hostel and a few things to see and do and we were on our way. A quick ride on the Metro to the Baquedano stop and a short walk (OK, with the backpacks it was a REALLY LONG walk of of 8 blocks or so). We arrived at La Chimba hostel. Pretty nice place. Very clean. We dropped our bags and looked at a few maps and went for a stroll. A few blocks to the funicular that runs up past the Zoo on Cerro San Cristobel hill to a huge statue. We strolled down Pio Nono and looked around the city. Dinnr was cheap, we stopped were a small crowd had gathered around a street vendor. Everyone from students to businessmen were there for a quick bite. Lyn had a Sapaipilla (crispy fird dough were you pick your own topping from 3 types of salsa. She also had an Italiano which is a hotdog with guacamole, tomatos and mayonaise. I tried the completo which is a hotdog with a bunch of stuff and I had a Sapaipilla of my own. After walking off dinner we headed back to the hostel. There were a few guys watching a movie and a table of 4 girls that had 5 empty bottles of wine sitting on their table and a few others trading travel stories. Exhausted, we hit the hay.
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rbartorillo on

Chilean wines
Yes, the Chilean wines are very popular. There are many wineries including huge Concha y Toro 'Botega' (winery) just outside of Santiago and you can get great wines at a fraction of in the US. The big surprise was actually just over the Andes, a 5 hour ride, in Mendoza (Argentina). It was a great mix... nice city with a european feel, snow capped mountains, many many wineries and everything is 30% cheaper than in Chile. The specialty is Malbec. 80% of all Argentinian wines.... come from Mendoza.

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