Santiago de Chile – the first South American capital that I really love
My solo backpacking travelling is devoted to getting to know different countries´ cultures, the way of thinking of local people, their traditions and habits. In order to do so, I tried to spend as much time as possible with local people with minimum of two and more weeks per country. However, I didn´t have much time left for Chile (as I already knew the date of my departure from Rio), I still decided to spend at least 5 short but very active days in Santiago de Chile with the aim to visit my friend Ignacio who used to work in Slovakia for two years and to whom I promise I would come to visit if I get the chance to get to South America.
Crossing the border between Argentina and Chile was probably one of the most difficult one and the most time consuming. The rules for border crossing are stricter, you are not allowed to transfer any fruits, vegetables, seeds, and much more. The control (by police officers, police dogs, x-ray machines) took hours but finally we successfully crossed the border where you can admire the Andes covered by snow and enjoy the bus ride full of road curves at high altitude. I arrived to capital Santiago de Chile around 7pm, was picked up by my friend Ignacio at metro station and spent my first evening and night in Chile by watching football match between Chile and Uruguay with Ignacio, his twin brother and their friends in a bar full of crazy football fans and drinking their national drink “pisco” which is also considered to be national drink of Peru (there was always a struggle between Chile and Peru regarding their national drink and people of both countries were trying to persuade me that “pisco” is THEIR national drink! :D).
The following two days I was enjoying and admiring this beautiful city, meeting new friendly Chilean people, trying new delicious food, drinks, fruits… I took “free walking tour” where the history of this city was explained to me and to the rest of my group (friendly people only from Latin America), I climbed the city mountain San Cristobal from where I was able to enjoy beautiful views over the whole city and the Andes covered by snow, I was meeting only nice and friendly people who were more than eager to explain me at least something little from their culture like how to dance their traditional dance called “cueca”, I tried their typical non-alcoholic drink called “mote con huesillos” (consisting of its “mote” (looks like corn), peach fruit and peach juice), typical dishes like “machas a la parmesana” (seashell with parmesan), “pastel del choclo” (corn pie), empanada “pino”, … Although Santiago de Chile is pretty modern and doesn´t seem to be that typical “latino” city, after first two days spent there, I could announce that Santiago de Chile is the first South American capital which I truly liked! City surrounded by snow covered Andes, full of incredibly friendly and nice people willing to show you as much as possible from their culture J
After three days in Santiago I decided to spend one day on Chilean coast, therefore, I head to Valparaiso where I arranged meeting with Gonzalo, a Chilean boy who I met on my way to MachuPicchu in Peru and with who I stayed in touch till now. Gonzalo was my “VIP” tour guide and showed me his university city from each corner. Valparaiso is beautiful colourful coast town with one of the most important ports of the world. After half day spent in Valparaiso we went to close by coast town Viña del Mar which deserves nickname “mini Miami” because of its active tourism atmosphere, nice and modern architecture, palm trees, sunny weather and beaches! Finally I got a day on Pacific coast full of sun and good energy.
My last day in Chile I spent with Ignacio and his twin brother Rodrigo enjoying local food markets where I tried new fruit called “chirimoya” and where we bought fresh seashells in order to prepare my farewell dinner which consisted of “machas a la parmesana” with a bottle of good Chilean wine. Boys together with his friends took me for a farewell party to the neighbourhood “bellavista” which is famous for its active nightlife and parties. I was lucky to arrange another meeting with Shevon, a boy from Australia who I met in Quito – capital of Ecuador and who was spending his last days in South America in Santiago de Chile – what a coincidence, right?! So my Chilean friends, Shevon and me went to a local bar with local traditional music (live band) and were drinking typical drink called “terremoto” (translated as earthquake) consisting of white wine, fernet and pineapple ice cream – sounds crazy?! Yeaaah, but truly delicious 🙂
So 5 days in Chile?! Definitely not enough but I am really happy I was able to spend some time with Ignacio and meet him again after more than two years, spend at least these 5 days in his house, meet his family and friends and get to know some traditional Chilean customs, food and drinks…
Ignacio, MUCHAS GRACIAS por todo, fue mi placer estar en tu casa con tu hermano y pasar el tiempo maravilloso. Espero verte pronto, pero ya en ESLOVAQUIA! 🙂