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Plenty of love for Santiago

sunny
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Before coming travelling, I had always felt like I preferred big cities to smaller places, but since I've been away I've grown to love the smaller, more chilled out towns and amazing natural beauties. I spent a lot of time in Chile in just those kinds of places.

Throw into the mix the conflicting opinions of Santiago that I had heard from people along the way, and it's not surprising that I was a little unsure how I would feel about a big capital city like Santiago.

I loved Santiago. It's a big modern city, with green spaces, it's colourful, there's culture and plenty of opportunities to have a great time, whatever having a great time means to you.

That evening I made some friends in the hostel and we went out for a few drinks on Pio Nono, a street full of cafes (by day) and bars (by night).

On my first morning, I headed straight for Cerro San Cristóbel. It's a big hill, with not a lot of shade, that you can walk up, take the fenicular, or apparently cycle up very quickly. I walked which was very hot indeed. At the top is a statue of la virgen and space for quiet reflection for those who wish.

That afternoon I did the free Tours4Tips walking tour. It was the first time on this trip that my guide was not native to the country we were in, ours was French Canadian, so in fact speaking her third language. She was an excellent guide, and I only mention her nationality because I think it perhaps gave her a more objective perspective on some elements of Santiago's recent dark history, namely the Pinochet years.

That evening I went to a pool party. I was invited by the people I met in Pucón who live there and it seemed like as good idea as any! It was really fun and a great way to meet people living in the city. Viewing the sunset over the mountains from the roof top pool was pretty spectacular and a surreal moment.

The next day I dedicated to cultural Santiago. My first stop was the Museum of memory and human rights. I first heard about this museum in my final year of university whilst enrolled on a module called the Human Rights Abuses in 20th Century Latin America.

I'll leave a more detailed account of this museum for another post and only say that it's an excellent and truly important museum. It's a must if you are ever passing through Santiago.

That afternoon I also made it to Pablo Neruda's house, which has been turned into a museum about his life and loves.

Finally, I popped into the National Gallery, for all of 20 minutes that I had left before closing time. It was a shame not to dedicate more time, but you know, there should always be something to come back for.

It seems as though many people skip Santiago, pass through the airport without spending any time there, but I would strongly recommend spending at least a few days there. I did, and now I want to go back!

Posted by Rebecca Heller 19:11 Archived in Chile Tagged parties walking culture city friends memory dictatorship Comments (0)

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