Travlyn for this trip is coming to an end in a beautiful part of Sth Am. Santiago is a large buzzing metropolis trying to marry its colonial architecture with its modern global face. It maintains large tracts of parklands and wide avenues which are well-used by those living in the boxy apartments or poorer tenements, and the many dog walkers (sadly they haven’t got the habit of pooper scooping down pat yet!) We arrived on a long weekend so have seen plenty of people taking advantage of the green spaces, the ice creameries and the warm Autumn weather and softer colours.
Although the city tour gave an historical overview of the birth and rise of the city, it is always the fascinating facts and figures which give it the edge on similar colonised cities. A fine dining experience of Chilean specialty dishes such as the corn pie and fish soup topped off the day!
The coastal port of Valparaiso beckoned from 120 kms to the northwest and we enjoyed the freedom from speed bumps as we zoomed along the open highway. Journeying through the citrus/avacado growing valley, we soon reached the wine areas and the pit stop meant a chance to taste test. Tip: Don’t forget to take tissues for the public toilets.
Onwards to V we entered the city outer limits to see about a kilometre of market stalls selling mostly fresh fruit and vegies and secondhand clothes. Our initial destination was La Sebastiana….the house museum of legendary Nobel Literature winning poet Pablo Neruda. His legacy lives on in the restored living space of what it would have been like in the 1970s when he last was there before his death. Some fascinating pieces which reflected his life and eclectic tastes. And of course it was situated with a magnificent view of the V port and harbour. I particularly love his Ode to an Artichoke and Ode to Laziness.
Then we meandered our way down on foot from the houses clinging to the hillsides to the Seven Ways, then through the Patrimony streets with varied styles of building materials and strong angles to catch the view to the water and the many, many many murals and quaint street signs (the ant example lead to a quaint boiled lolly shop)w, churches and shops. What a great spot!
We rode some of the way down in the fenicular…….scary angle but efficient way to do it – definitely was not interested in competing with the locals for walking up.
From the centre of the old to the seaboard of the new. We drove to the summer holiday mecca at the far end of the bay and what a contrast! The Pacific Ocean waves crashing on rocks, the endless holiday highrises and the Sunday strollers all a mirror image of the fringes of eastern Australian seaboard cities like the Gold Coast. Seafood lunch overlooking the water was timely. Paella always hits the spot with me!
So it was a quick photo op at the museum where a genuine but small Easter Island statue entices further Chilean exploration, then back to Santiago Sunday afternoon somnambulance.
A pleasant day at leisure awaits today before the grim but hopefully easy 12 plus hour flight to Auckland, then the 3 hours to Brisbane, then the train to where the car is waiting then another 1 plus hour’s drive home. Losing the day crossing the International Date line means a short week when we get home, but a chance to unpack and wash, stretch out, take deep breaths in the garden and get ready for the next trip…..only 12 weeks away….oh my goodness!
This trip of Travlyn would not have been as laid back and relaxed if it had not been for the amazing pre-trip organisation by Lorraine Clark. Lorry has the knack of finding interesting little tours, liaising the details with the tour companies and making sure it all happens with minimal fuss. Her efforts to prepare us for weather possibilities; to make sure we were on time for our guides; hunt out local speciality dishes and where to find them; and keeping spending under control by mixing the restaurants and supermarkets were all very much appreciated. Her LSM Tom kept the money conversions simple and supported my LSM when his breathing at heights was an issue. So you can sense that our organising contribution to this trip reflected how much confidence we had in our friends – or it may have been an Ode to Laziness 😉 How lovely to have such great travlyn companions……. and such lovely memories and images to share together over future meals of humati, corn pie or alpaca steaks back home! Thanks heaps Tom and Lorry for a wonderful trip!
And thanks to anyone who shared the journey with us through the blogs…..you get a break now until our Seattle to Alaska tour in early September…..Happy Travlyn!