A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about walking

Plenty of love for Santiago

View Getting to know Chile on Rebecca Heller's travel map.

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)

Bueno Buenos Aires

Kosher meat and the best ice cream I've ever had (not straight afterwards of course!)

View Exploring Patagonia & Into Argentina & A week in Bolivia on Rebecca Heller's travel map.

Buenos Aires is a big city and there are many things that I like to think I'll remember about my trip, but in case I don't, I'll try and cover here, the things that I will now associated with Buenos Aires.

They call Buenos Aires the Paris of Latin America because the aristocracy that built the city we see today modelled their buildings on classical architectural styles. For this reason I think it felt like the most familiar place I had visited so far, which turned out to be a nice way to mark 3 months of travelling.

Kosher meat
Once we had finally navigated the train and metro systems to get to our hostel, the main item on the agenda was to visit the Kosher restaurants to get some Kosher steak. I had not eaten meat in 3 months, and whilst I could have happily continued without it, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to indulge (which we did!).

The first night we went to Al Galope in the Recoleta district. At first, the style and atmosphere reminded me of Blooms (an old family favourite restaurant in Golders Green) but the service distinctly less hasty than Blooms, and the waiters we extremely helpful. In fact, we got so overexcited that our waiter actually suggested we stopped ordering food and if we still felt hungry, we could order more! It was sound advice as we were both royally stuffed and extremely grateful for the fairly lengthy stroll back to the hostel. It was so tasty that we went back there a few days later.

We also visited the Kosher McDonalds. Now I was in two minds about this one at first. I didn't go to the one in Israel, so why would I in Buenos Aires? But eventually the idea grew on me and we made the special metro trip to the shopping centre that houses the Kosher McDonalds.

Once we had established it was on the top floor we really had no trouble spotting it. Firstly it says KOSHER underneath the logo, but secondly, we recognised the clientele as Kosher meat eating folk. Not being familiar with McDonalds ordering we ordered double burgers, which I can safely say was too much. The cashier reminded us that the burger would come without cheese, and just wanted to check we were OK with that. It seems unlikely that you would stumble across the Kosher one by mistake so I can't imagine too many people get upset that there's no cheese in their burger...

Seeing the city
We decided to go on the free walking tour of Recoleta, including a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery, where Evita is buried. The tour was excellent - very informative, funny guide, lots to see. I generally find the free tours best as the guides really work hard for their money. We also did a lot of walking in general. Buenos Aires is much bigger than it looks, with 6 blocks on a map, taking considerably longer than it looks like it should.

Best ice cream ever
I have had plenty of ice cream in my time, so I don't say this lightly. In Buenos Aires we had the best ice cream I've ever had.

We tried several vendors, as is only right, and we were impressed. Due to high Italian immigration, there are plenty of top quality gelaterias but at Cadore we shared a combination of coffee, dulce de leche, and dark chocolate, which was the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had! Like I said, I don't say that lightly; that's some serious praise.

Posted by Rebecca Heller 11:37 Archived in Argentina Tagged walking city meat icecream Comments (0)

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