The next day we decided to do a day visit to the nearby coastal towns of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. The morning didn't start off well, when a cash machine didn't give me my cash and still charged me for it. It should've been an omen! We got to Vina del Mar ok. It's a pretty coastal resort, with nice cafes and beaches and a cool castle! We chilled out there for a while, and I would've been content to stay there all day, but we thought we should check out Valparaiso while we were there
. So we caught a local bus 10 mins down the road, and rocked up at Valparaiso. Then things started to go wrong. Try as we might, we couldn't find an ATM. So we walked around for ages and ages, getting tired and hungry. Then my friend wanted to check out a town nearby, to see if it might be a nice place to stay in for a couple of nights. So we jumped on a other bus, and off we went. But after an hour of driving, we started to panic. Almost everyone had gotten off the bus, and we weren't in any town that looked like the one we were supposed to be in! Luckily, I noticed a young teenage boy watching us. I asked him if he spoke English, and he said yes. So I asked him where we were. Turns out we were in a town 20 mins past the one we were supposed to have gotten off at! He was a really nice boy, and got off with us, then waited till the right bus came along, and pointed us in the right direction. Thank god he spoke English!
By this time we were knackered, starving, and worried we wouldn't get back to Santiago before midnight! So we had to sit on buses for another 3 hours before finally getting back to Santiago, where we all collapsed, exhausted. Not a very successful day trip!
The next day I went out with my friend to a local bar to watch the Champions League Chelsea vs Bayern football match
. My friend was supporting Bayern, so I did too, although I have no real interest in football whatsoever. That was a really fun experience. We were in a bar full of locals, and some crazy Chelsea fans (you could tell some were English!) While we were watching the match, a stray dog I had noticed wandering around the bars came in. She was a tough looking bull type dog, with scars everywhere. But she wandered over to me, and I gave her a gentle stroke. Then she turned out to be a real sweetheart. I sat stroking her, and then she lay down in front on my feet and wouldn't move. She sort of guarded me for the entire match! It was so sweet. Unfortunately for us, Bayern lost, and we quickly left the bar once the Chelsea fans started celebrating. But we had gotten talking to some locals, who invited us for dinner with them. So we went to a restaurant across the street. My friend and I immediately picked up the menus to start choosing what we wanted, when they told us they had already ordered for everyone. So we waited, and eventually the brought out two huge platters of meat. Steak, chorizo, chicken, and black pudding piled high. Unfortunately it was a little too soon for me to see that much meat after my experience from the BBQ we had, but of course, I still ate it to be polite. It was delicious, it was just I've been put of chorizo now! That was a lovely way to spend the evening.
I spent the next day getting ready for my flight
. I shouldn't have bothered! On the Monday, I went to the airport for my flight at 5pm. When I got there, my flight wasn't on the departures list. That was weird. So I started to worry, and went to the information desk. The woman didn't really speak English, but told me to go to the airline's office. So I then had to wonder around the airport with all my bags, trying to find their office. Eventually I got there, and luckily there was a woman sitting inside. She also spoke very little English, but at first told me my flight was cancelled. At this point my mind was racing, thinking what the hell am I going to do, I need to be in Peru soon. I was thinking I was going to have to rind Mum and Dad and get their help. Anyway, the woman put me on the phone, and some guy answered who spoke English. So I told him that I couldn't see my flight, and he informed me that it had left at 6am that morning. I explained bluntly to him that I hadn't been told the flight time had changed. No one had emailed or called me to let me know that. I was then put on hold for what seemed like forever, before he came back, and said he could put me on a flight in the morning. It actually was better, as there was less time to wait between the flights, so less travelling time. So thankfully it worked out, and I caught my flight the next morning with no problems, but it was added stress that I could've done without!
Anyway, I was quite sad to leave Chile. I just felt I hadn't seen much of it, or not as much as I wanted. I really want to go back and do Patagonia. I could have gone this time round, but it wouldn't have been worth it, as it's winter now, and most things are closed, including the parks. My guide Havi told me the best time to go is late November, when the weather's good, but the crowds haven't moved in yet! So, until another time Chile!
After my bus, I annoyingly had 4 days to kill before my flight. Santiago doesn't really have a huge amount to do though. So the day after I arrived back from my bus, tour, I did the free walking tour with a couple of friends. We met our guide in the Plaza de Armas, and then spent 4 hours walking round the city. He told us thousands of interesting facts about the city. Way too many to recall, but things about the history, the stray dogs, the diverted river, the parks, etc etc etc. It was really fascinating, and I really enjoyed it.