I am intentionally skipping around when it comes to posting about Chile here on the blog. Instead of writing places up in the order that I visited them, I've just been putting together photo diaries based on whichever part of the trip has been on my mind recently. Since I've just finished planning trips to Montreal, New Orleans, and Philadelphia for the next couple of months and I've spent a lot of time exploring DC, I've been thinking a lot about cities lately. So, naturally, it felt like the right time to post about my first two days in Santiago.
1. Centro Artesanal Los Dominicos
It took us a redeye flight to get to Santiago, so we didn't do much on our first day in town. We ran a bunch of errands and picked up snacks to eat in the mountains before heading to the Centro Artesanal Los Dominicos, which is a small village of shops where you can get everything from handmade bags and mugs (great souvenirs!) to chickens (also great souvenirs!). It was so quiet and charming that it was a really great introduction to the city. I'm still kicking myself for trying to budget here, though. Honestly, this was probably the best place to pick up souvenirs that I saw during my trip, so treat yourself and everyone else you're shopping for here because it's much easier to save money elsewhere.
2. Downtown: Museums, Ice Cream, & Street Art, Oh My!
So this is the Emporio La Rosa where you can get dulce de leche ice cream and after you've had that, Ben & Jerry's just won't be enough.
3. Cerro Santa Lucia
I am assuming Google Translate is wrong when it says that cerro means hill in Spanish. In Virginia, this would be a mountain. Compared to the Andes I guess everything seems small, but whether you think this is a hill or a mountain come prepared to walk. In other words: no cute shoes! There are a lot of steps, and it's a bit of a climb to the top.
It's always strange and wonderful to leave Virginia right after the holidays and end up someplace warm. I always dread returning to real life after the highs of Christmas and New Year's, so early January is my favorite time of year to vacation. Even small things like seeing flowers blooming or bright blue skies are enough to brighten my mood when I can compare them to the snowstorms and slush I've escaped.
You know how people have a way of describing the things they love so happily and passionately that you really don't have any choice but to love them, too? That's basically what Chiara did for mote con huesillo. Peaches with wheat? In a cup? With a spoon? But you drink the juice? Whoever invented this was a lunatic. But, whether it was through sheer force of will or the fact that I like peaches and I like pretty much anything with wheat in it (please send me bread, thank you) I ended up loving it! It's served chilled and you can get it from street vendors all around the city, so definitely give it a chance.
4. Metropolitan Cathedral & the Plaza de la Constitucion
Um, I might have drunk too much water while walking around and I may or may not have been too distracted while walking around to take many photos of the rest of Santiago. I'm new to blogging!
5. Mercado Central
Santiago is such a clean, quiet, cosmopolitan city that I didn't expect a fish and flea market to be one of its top attractions. I kind of loved the contrast with the rest of the city, though, especially since the rest of the places we went to were located on wide, airy, perfectly maintained tree-lined boulevards. It's fairly large inside, and it isn't solely a fish market. There are plenty of restaurants and vendors there who sell kitschy souvenirs similar to those we saw at the Centro Artenesal Los Domenicos. The prices here were better, though, and would probably have been even lower if any of us knew how to haggle. And, don't worry - none of your souvenirs will smell like fish when you take them home!
6. La Piojera
This is the home of the terremoto (earthquake) drink, which was invented in the aftermath of a major earthquake, but really gained its name and fame from its reputation of being able to topple you over in just one glass. According to everyone I was with, La Piojera is one of those places you just have to visit when you go to Santiago, and a terremoto is a drink you have to try just once, BUT beware because whoever named this was not messing around. It's an unholy concoction of white wine, grenadine, pineapple ice cream, and a shot of God only knows what, and one was definitely enough for me. I was channelling my inner Carole King by the time we were halfway through. Also, there are no photos of the drinks (even though we ordered both flavors) since by the time I thought to pull my camera out we were a third of the way in and I ended up focusing the shot on someone's sleeve. Make of that what you will and just utilize Google to satisfy your imagination.
7. Sidewalk Markets
January was the beginning of summer in Chile and that meant we passed a couple of farmer's markets on our way back to the metro. I've eaten enough strawberries in my life that it's a miracle I haven't turned into one, so I was overjoyed to discover that you can buy two kilos of strawberries for 2000 pesos. That's three dollars! For over four pounds of fresh, in season strawberries! I was basically ready to emigrate as soon as I tasted one.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! I didn't realize how much I would like recapping different trips for this blog, but it honestly makes me feel like Nigel Thornberry presenting a lecture to Eliza and Darwin. Where do you want to go this year?