Blue blue Monday
So we arrived in Santiago on a flight from Auckland, New Zealand. It was the only way. And it hurt. You may remember in an earlier blog I talked about the World Traveller Life: Monday morning, well get this!
We left on Monday evening, flew for 11 hours and arrived – on Monday afternoon. Whaaaat! We did Monday twice. It messed with my head. What happened to Monday I was occupying? Did I enter a black hole? Where did my day go, and why did I start it again? Jeez. I’m glad they pay people to look into this stuff.
Anyway, as a result, we arrived in Santiago tired. Very, very tired. For about three days. Luckily I had thought ahead and booked an apartment for an extended stay for ten nights in Santiago.
We stayed in the Park Plaza Apart Hotel, which was nice. No frills but safe, secure and did the job of jet lag/sort yourself out / recuperation just great. I would recommend it if you don’t want to stay in a hotel.
Santiago……there’s beautiful old churches
Santiago is the capital of Chile and its largest city. It lies in a valley between the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean coast. Flying in, despite it being a Monday, was just an awesome sight that I hadn’t been expecting.
Our apartment was next to the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city’s old colonial centre. Here there are two neoclassical landmarks: the 1808 Palacio de la Real Audiencia, with the National History Museum, and the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral. There is also a large shiny new building perfectly showing how this city perfectly blends the old and new.
There are also men with curious small stuffed horses adorned with hats and scarfs. Now the idea is you will plonk your unsuspecting child on a said horse and pay the man to take their photo as a Santiago souvenir. I didn’t see anyone brave the horse, but they were there every day, so someone must do it!
Twelve O’Clock Cannon Shots
Oh and one more thing you should be aware of. Every day at midday they fire a big gun. Big. Noisy. Very loud. The first day we jumped to the window thinking a bomb had gone off. But as no-one else appeared bothered decided that perhaps it was not. And then it happened every day. And it made us jump. Every day.
I since read it is what they call the “Twelve O’Clock Cannon Shots” of Santa Lucia Hill. We were staying near to the hill, hence the earth-shattering boom. It was started initially as a means of timekeeping. I can certainly vouch for the fact, after being there for ten days, everyone knows when it is 12 o’clock.
There’s also wine: red red wine
Less of an olde worldly affair but no less significant to your Santiago travelling plans, there’s a great wee supermarket just around the corner from the apartments, before you reach the Plaza de Armas. Here you can buy bread etc. bla bla, all the things you need.
But – you can also purchase three bottles of some of the worlds finest red wine for 6.99. That’s about £2.50 a bottle / $ 3? Well, we do like our red wine. So, we sampled a lot. And it’s very lovely. I can tell you that much. What Santiago does for red wine Western Australia does for beer. Come back to read about that one later!
Our corkscrew, however, did not survive the Santiago experience.
Santiago does brownies
Meanwhile, for the first two nights we didn’t travel far from the apartments thinking we were already in the centre as it was close to the main square. What we didn’t account for was that being in – the centre – meant it went the other way too. And that way we discovered was where all the main restaurants and bars were. With menus in English no less. But still with the feeling of being local with the locals, which I like. Somehow, however, I still managed to order chicken – and chicken is definitely not what I got! I don’t know what it was. Food I have to say is nice enough but relatively basic.
But it’s really not my thing to travel abroad to be surrounded by fish and chips and English pubs. I like local. Incidentally, talking local – on our way back from this side of town we passed through a local night market selling the biggest cannabis brownies one has ever seen. Not that I’ve seen any, really, much. Definitely never digested one, cough. Still illegal in the UK, still illegal – admit nothing.
Take a tour
We did have a walk around one day, and Iain got this pic of the Presidential Palace. But we didn’t get out and about as much as we might have done.
However, I did see there are many tours to take, and certainly if your main aim is to come here, you should take them. You know I always recommend Tourradar as I do love their set up, so here’s a link to them for some ideas that I could I have given you myself if I hadn’t been sleeping – and drinking red wine.
Nevertheless, Santiago for us, on our round the world tour, feeling a tad world-weary, was the perfect place to stop and plan our next move.
Which we decided would be to…….the driest desert on Earth. The Atacama Desert.