Santiago de Chile, didn’t want to go ended up loving it!
One thing in advance, Santiago is not a city for sightseeing, at least not for me, at the very least not in a conventional way. The sights are regular places like bars, cafés and parks that you have to make a sight yourself. Hence don’t expect to be running around like Japanese taking thousands of pictures, as for this there are better places in Latin America. The easiest thing how to have a good time in Santiago is to let yourself go and simply go with the flow of the city. Then I can guarantee you are going to have a great time.
And one more thing I like Santiago a lot which is apparently a pretty rare thing as most Chilenos tried to talk me out of going there and at first I thought they were right, since our stay didn’t start as we hoped.
Due to a strike of the customs officials at the border, we couldn’t cross it in Futaleufu. Because we didn’t want to wait for the border to reopen, we decided to head to Santiago and cross the border from there. So when we arrived in Santiago first thing that happened, after 30 hours of bus and boat rides, was that a couple tricked us and stole my friends`bag (including passport, money cameras etc.). Here an advice be extremely careful in Santiago and never put your bags on the floor, even if the area seems to be very safe. So this wasn’t really the best 1st impression Santiago was able to make. But I guess my first impression isn’t always the best either.
2nd impression Santiago is freaking huge.
3rd Impression half of the city`s population consists of students and everyone seems to be an activist. That I figured out after running through a cloud of pepper spray and a cab driver telling us to avoid downtown because of a demonstration going on. Pepper spray was definitely a first and not very pleasant, but I love people that fight for the better and this is how Santiago got the first huge + point, for the people. The Santiaguinos (people from Santiago) I met were friendly, smart an did not bother about superficialities but about education. Somehow I felt like I belong to this mix of Libertarians, Rebels and Nerds (meant in a positive way). This feeling of belonging was the strongest I had ever felt in a city.
The quote that reflects the inhabitants of Santiago the best would be the following, I guess:
Hasta la victoria siempre (Che Guevara)
What to do in Santiago?
I can’t really tell, as we were already travelling for a few months, were we just went hiking and sightseeing, hence in Santiago I let myself suck into a dark hole of teenage lifestyleness, which meant drinking, chilling and basically doing nothing. I enjoyed this part of the trip as much as the time we spent in nature but maybe even a little too much. After a while it developed a love hate relationship between me and the city. I loved to spent the nights at the hostel bar and then go to Bellavista in a club till the morning hours. I head a great time but I also knew deep inside of me that the city was not good for me. It was like that one girlfriend that you maybe once had, where your friends try to tell you that it might be better to leave her, as she is not good for you. And you know it inside yourself as well, but she gives you something that you are afraid to never find again, and that’s most of the time incredibly good sex. But then one day you manage to break loose, as you noticed what you really want, is a nice girl, a girl you can talk and laugh with. Nobody apart from Hugh Hefner can live of sex and f*** like a rabbit his entire life. So when I left Santiago I was glad to leave. I just packed up the good memories and looked forward to the next city, which may become my one true love, Buenos Aires.
Go and visit:
-Bellavista a nice neighborhood with plenty of bars and clubs
-Barrio Brazil there you will find hostels and it is a very decent neighbourhood with plenty of bars
-Got to a park on the weekend there will be always artists performing
-Go up to “cerro San Cristobal” for a great view over Santiago and take the cable car in case you have no height anxiety
-Go to the “mercado central” for some fresh fish
-For fruits and vegetables and cheap food go to the market la vega which is close to mercado central. Perfect for lunch as food is good and cheap
– If you want to party with other foreigners go to Miércoles Po’ in the Providencia neighbourhood! Every Wednesday there is a huge exchange student party