A Travellerspoint blog

January 2010

Santiago

City of love, mountains, dogs, smog and good food!

sunny 28 °C

Hello people!

It’s my turn to wield the keyboard and create a blog entry for the first time in my life! So here I go....!

Santiago: we arrived exhausted after an intense lead up to our trip ( HINT; don’t plan a massive engagement party 2 days before a world trip!), and the 17 hour journey over here. Ben had organised for us to stay in a really lovely Hotel right in a Paddington-styled cafe disctrict of Santiago called “Provedencia”. Hotel Orly felt so comfortable (and ,OK quite luxurious too!) as soon as we entered it, and we spent our first 3 nights enjoying the various tapas bars, cafes, and even a vegetarian restaurant in our local area. Jet lag claimed our first few mornings ( actually, it claimed most of the first day as we just slept and slept!), however the evenings and nights were so full of life that we were up to the early hours of the morning enjoying the street performers who played jazz and blues, or the troup of singers who would stop outside each cafe in the strip and harmonise beautiful latino melodies, or my personal favourite, the drummers with their wicked drum beats that made us want to boogie! We had heard many “blah” reports about Santiago from people before arriving there, but we loved exploring it, and found it to be a city of;

Love. I have already told most of you about the enormous amounts of french kissing that happens in every public space imaginable! OK, I might be exagerating but there really was alot more PDA than we are used to back home!! Ben and I found it hysterical to see people with their tongues in each others mouths while at a restaurant. My favourite demonstration of love and lust was the young couple who refused to part lips while simultaneously trying to run to catch the departing bus!!!

Mountains and smog. Santiago is circled by mountains, including the snow capped Andes. While the mountains are beautiful, it means that Santiago’s smog is trapped in the valley, waiting for the rains to clear the air. We climbed to the top of 2 of the city hills that gave us panoramic views of the smoggy city ( Santa Lucia and Parque Metropolitano, with the statue of the virgin Mary at the top)

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Cats and dogs. There are so many cats and dogs in the streets, parks and plazas of Santiago. Most of the dogs look really well cared for, and we have heard that they aren’t strays but rather their owners let them out to roam as they please. It is probably a mix of both- real strays and loved pets. I loved watching the dogs play chasings in the main plaza ( Plaza de Armas), and when they got too hot from that they would dive into the water fountain and cool down with the local kids who had also jumped in!

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Great food and wine. We discovered some fantastic cafes and restaurant districts. One of our favourites was Bella Vista, a spot full of funky ( and some a bit swanky!)places to eat, as well as boho cafes, theatre tents and art centres.

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Parks and plazas. Beautiful green parks, and lively plazas, where we sat and watched life go by.
All in all, we would happily spend more time in Santiago, if for no other reason than to enjoy the food and wine!

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Till next blog
Love Chelle

Posted by CBAdv2010 09:05 Archived in Chile Comments (5)

A journey of 1000 miles begins ... in LAN Chile cattle class

Packing, preparing and setting off around the world

sunny 30 °C

Hola from Chelle and Ben!

Welcome to our blog of our world trip adventures in 2010! This trip has been a dream for both of us and shall cover South America (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia), Central America (Mexico), North America and the Caribbean (USA - New York and Miami confirmed, Dominican Republic), Europe (France, Switzerland, Turkey, England - London, Spain) and Asia (China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Bangladesh). I also wanted to fit in some rural Columbia and a week in a Redfern on return but that got cruelly veto'd by the boss.

For anyone interested in joining us in any of these countries, or who knows anyone we should meet up with or might be silly enough to have us stay with them, drop us a line or add a comment to the blog - would love to hear from you.

Our basic movements at this stage look like:


    January: Chile
    February: Chile, Argentina
    March: Argentina, Brazil
    April: Brazil, Bolivia
    May: Bolivia, Peru
    June: Dominican Republic, Mexico
    July: Mexico, USA, Switzerland
    August: France, Spain, England, Turkey
    September: Turkey, China
    October: (Malaysia), Tibet, Nepal
    November: Nepal, Bangladesh
    December: India, Hong Kong

So with that preamble ...
Yes, the sojourn has begun! We are now nearly one week in from landing in Santiago Chile and have already moved onto the coastal towns of Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso - more on that soon.

But first it would be remiss not to capture some of the FUN of preparing for a 12 month trip in the first place.

Preparing for a world trip is much like preparing for your final uni exams. You MEAN to do the preparation a long time in advance, and arm yourself with your textbooks (in this case - lonely planet guides) but somehow you still find yourself at midnight the night before, blurry-eyed wondering how you got there with no time to what you need - even eliminating sleep.

So true to form, Michelle and I - yes Chelle, I'm dragging you into this one! - found ourselves the night before, still with bags to pack, and only one country researched properly - our first, Chile. Chelle being as always the more organised of the two of us was ready to go by midnight. As for yours truly - I finished by 3:30am with a 7am wakeup for the plane. Mind you, in my defense I nearly broke down on the F3 freeway that day and had my credit card defrauded - but those are stories for another time.

Looking at what you will live with, in one backpack, for 12 months is initially a pretty surreal and slight depressing feeling ("This is your life. For 12 months", but what about ... and what about ...), especially when the life of a suburban Sydneyite is what you have come to know of late; but what follows is also quite a sense of liberation, in that you realise how little you truly need to live on and be happy. One pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of fresh underwear and socks is all you need ...

OK - maybe a little more.

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Thankfully, google helped me discover that rolling clothes and using those green recycle shopping bags to "compartmentalise" is the way to go with packing a backpack - this is advanced stuff and I mention it here only because of the excitement I expect it to generate.

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And finally the time to board the plane came

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For months Chelle and I had dreamed of sitting on that first plane out of Sydney (*cue Barnesy* First plane out of Sydney ...), knowing there was nothing more had to do - or could do. Wednesday morning Jan 13 gave us that moment, but, like most hard earned accomplishments gave a sense one of relief and "gee I could do with some sleep" rather than elation. I wouldn't call LAN chile cattle class the most luxorious airline either - in fact avoid them like the plague if you can! - but 17 hours later, after a stop off to Auckland, a return to airline food that came surely from the bottom of a school lunch box, and hours of fading into and out of sleep-like consciousness to watch a movie before repeating it all again ... WE TOUCHED DOWN! TOUCH DOWN BABY! Santiago here we come! And man did we hit that city from the get go!

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I was going to write about Santiago wasn't I? But I also promised myself to keep blog entries short, lest even my brave family who read them fall asleep. So we shall cover Chile in our next blog, which, shall be provided by the very glamourous Miss Michelle England.

Till then, Chao Chao!
Chelle and Ben

p.s If anyone wants to get these blog updates by email and without having to visit the site (technology that allows you to be lazy - highly recommended), just click on the subscribe button to the right

Posted by CBAdv2010 20:45 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

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