South America Baby!
Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
130Trip End May 31, 2012
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Happy House Hostel had moved 3 blocks up the road after a 2009 earthquake so it took us a few minutes longer to find it, but the building was stunning. I've stayed in many hotels for a lot more money that weren’t even a patch on this place. Art Deco interior, beautiful pool and terrace and the staff were really great.
First stop was to crash for about 3 hours after the flight and then head out for some pizza and a few beers. We walked back past the main park in Barrio Brazil and saw a large group of young adults dancing and doing circus tricks, pretty cool. As everywhere the police were on standby just in case!
Next day after brekkie we headed for the bus terminal, a 2km walk past shops galore in one of the less pretty parts of the city. We bought tickets for Mendoza on the 30th, all in Spanish, very successful first attempt J £15 for recliner seats on an a/c coach with snacks for 6 hours, not bad at all! Then in the afternoon we took the metro to Plaza de Armas in the Centre for the free guided tour of Santiago. Our guide, Felipe, was brilliant, giving us lots of political history of Santiago and Chile as a whole. He got several claps from locals too after his speeches! It was a 4 hour tour with a stop for Pisco Sour halfway through. I don’t know - 35% alcohol in the middle of the afternoon. Good job there were thirty of us or I might have got lost J We finished in Bellavista were we and a lovely American couple, Robert and Deborah joined us for more Pisco Sour and a really lovely veggie sandwich. They were returning from an Antarctica trip – wow! We then walked home, about 45 mins but well worth it, lovely and cool and lots of people around. We stopped for another beer in Plaza de Armas on the way. Chilean people are so lovely to street dogs, they feed them and pet them. All are discernible breeds and many do have homes but just go out on the town for the evening. My kind of place!
Next day we crashed, exhausted by the huge walk but we did have drinks with another American couple, Jenny and Nick who were on holiday in Argentina and Chile
Next day, an early rise to get to the Terminal de Alameda to catch our bus. Really amazing landscape on the way up, then a one hour wait and bag scan at Customs in the Andes. The Chilean and Argentinean border booths are right next to each other, check out of one and then check into the other. The ride down out of the Andes was beautiful, faintly pink rock, with a quick view of the snow capped Acongagua. We arrived in Mendoza (wine capital of Argentina) at 3pm in boiling heat, high humidity and no breeze! Thank goodness our accommodation, Hostel Lao was only a 5 minute walk from the bus terminal!
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