The end of the road for my South American Travels
25.01.2009 - 27.01.2009 24 °C
( Should've done this over a week ago and posted it then - been having too much fun since I got to NZ !!! SORRY !!)
Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th December 2008
Unfortunately my time in Santiago was very limited ; it only really amounted to one full day as we arrived late on Christmas night and I flew out at 8am on 27th.
Having said that I did manage to cram in a fair whack into the 36 hours I was there.
We stayed at the Hotel Foresta on Victoria Subercaseaux , nice and central and perfect for seeing the sights. Right next to Cerero Santa Lucia, which I didnt mange to get up unfortunately, Its a nice quirky kind of hotel and Joe and I ended up with a little two roomed suite ; a nice way to end our room sharing. Bless, he hasnt moaned once about my snoring !!!
Marcello kind of messed up a little and didnt have a restaurant booked for Christmas Night and nearly everything was closed so we had to trawl the streets until we eventually found one (a fairly non descript bar/restaurant serving Mexican food). Kirsty was in her element as they had a live salsa band on after the karaoke - so it wasn't long before she was up there doing her stuff. I kind of watched what I was doing drink wise and decided to excuse myself from the trip to the winery the following day so I could explore more of the city on my own.
I set out sharp on Boxing day ( having been assured everything was open as normal) and apart form the unbearable heat I had a great day managing to do almost everything I wanted to do . Did the Museum of Visual Art first ( amazing photography exhibition - first class !!) as it was just along from the hotel, then nipped down to the Plaza de Armas to see the Cathedral and the Museo Historical Nacional ( which I didnt go into to save time)
I used the Turistik bus ( a red hop on - hop off bus not unlike London's) to get my bearings before venturing to Cerro San Cristobel, where I braved the very scarey Cable Car ride to the top ( my cable car door wouldnt close properly !!!). Saw the statue of the Virgin at the top - which sort of made up for not seeing Christ The Redeemer in Rio. Quite eerie really as they were playing choral music and the whole place felt quite spiritual given it was just after Christmas. Rather than brave the cable car down again I used the fenecular railway, getting off in the Parque Metroplitano. I sort of got a bit lost looking for the next Turistik bus stop, but it was fine really as I walked through a couple of the adjacent neighbourhoods leading to Bellavista. Really enjoyed the walk and manged to stumble across the restaurant that Jan from Australia recommended I went to ( Como Agua Para Chocolate - named after the film 'Like Water for Chocolate'). I only had a quick drink there cause Id already eaten but it was lovely !! Good choice Jan. Also found a lovely CD shop that I couldve browsed in for ages ( my CD buying has been very poor this holiday by the way - need to rectify that !!).
I finished my day by getting the bus back to an amazing shopping mall/centre called Parque Arauco on Avenida Kennedy where I made up for lost time in terms of proper westernised shoping ( some amazing shops here - definitely best Ive been to in South America !!). I really feel like I needed more time here in Santiago- sort of feel like Ive been cheated a little as its been so rushed.
I got back to the hotel at almost 8.40pm thinking I was late for our last meal. Not sure everyone was happy Id opted out of the Winery tour this morning ( well,l I mean, Im thinking I'll see enough in New Zealand eh ??) so I wanted to make sure I wasnt late for dinner. Turns out I was fine and after a false start ( where we ended up in a horrific Chilean themed restaurant with dancers in national outfits etc), we made our excuses and ended up heading to Como Agua Para Chocolate because Marcello had been before and overheard me telling the others about it. So I got to eat there in the end after all.
Actually the food was a little disappointing, maybe cause I was expecting too much - or maybe cause they did the same thing with starters and mains coming at the same time again ( wierd way to serve food !!).
Not really one for goodbyes and it was certainly looming over dinner - Ive really liked all the people Ive met whilst travelling but definitely feel like this lot have got on better as a group, and as a result we seem closer. Marcello was crying as he said his goodbyes over dinner ( cynical bit in me reckons he's going to miss some of us more than others LOL !!!!!!!).
Never got back to the hotel until after 1am so ended up staying up for the next 3 hours packing rather than go to bed.
Really cant believe that Im leaving South America - although it seems like Ive been here for ages in one sense, in another it seems as if Ive only just started to scratch the surface.
Need to have a think about what the highlights were and post that as a seperate entry - for now Im just thankful that Im not going straight home and that Ive still got 3 weeks in New Zealand with Valerie to look forward to . She should be safely on her way to Auckland by now.
Cant remember if I mentioned that Ive now resigned from work or not ?? Bit of a difficult decision thats been floating around for past few weeks ( actually, probably been around since the start of my trip really). Anyway, it all became definite just before Christmas Eve - long story but involved me getting the time off for going to New Zealand, and I sort of backed myself into a corner over it. Think its a good decision ; for now anyway Im just going to enjoy the last bit of my travels . If NZ is even half as good as South America has been I'll be more than happy - and who knows, given that Im now homeless and jobless I might just continue with the old travelling bit and bore you all silly with even more travel blogs !!!! LOL.
Have a great New Year when it comes - plan to buy a phone in Auckland so that I can at least text people to let them know Im still alive.