Friday, 4 January 2008

Santiago de Chile & Vina del Mar

After spending Xmas in Mendoza sadly we only had 4 days left in South America. Before heading back to Santiago we decided to spend 2 days at a seaside holiday town of Vina del Mar in Chile where many Chileans go for their summer holidays.

The town turned out to be bigger than we expected and quite busy with tourists, mainly Chilean. 2 days passed very quickly with long walks along the beach, a little bit of running, dinners at a Mexican restaurant and generally relaxing and not doing much at all. Afterwards it was time to return to Santiago for our final leg of the journey.
Santiago has to be described as one of my favorite cities in South America. Many travelers seem to marvel at Buenos Aires, but I think I actually prefer the relaxing and informal atmosphere of Santiago. Chileans seem to be quite friendly and open people and their favorite food must be hot dogs and ice cream, judging by the number of outlets offering these and the lack of other types of restaurants.

Our time in Santiago was spent mainly shopping (even Alex didn’t need convincing to go after the post-Xmas bargains), running along the river front and enjoying hot dogs. On our last day we took the Teleferico to the top of the San Christobal volcano, which provided some spectacular views over the city.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end and our South America trip had to end in Santiago. We’ll be back at some point… We had a great time, particularly traveling through Patagonia and I really enjoyed Chile and Argentina. The highlight of the trip for me has to be the Villarica Volcano climb in Pucon, Chile, alongside horse riding in the Torres del Paine national park, also in Chile.
Onwards to New Zealand now.

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