After a few knackering weeks down in Patagonia, our next stop was Chiles capital Santiago. After surprising us on the way south, Chiles budget airline 'Sky' let us down on the return journey with a 3 hour delay at Punta Arenas, an airport with barely a sandwich counter!
The unexpected delay meant we arrived a bit late to take the plunge on public transport into town so opted for the easy 'TransVIP' shuttle service in a small minibus that dropped us directly at our hostel, Provedencia.
After a few weeks of mostly dorms (and tents) we splashed out on a twin room (double was more expensive!) and after arriving at the hostel and having to walk through some weird hostel party we were both happy not to be in the dorms. We did venture down to the bar one night though, tempted by free Pisco sours, however it was a bit of a meat market so we went back to our rooms as soon as money was required for the drinks
Georginas friends had recently had their honeymoon in Santiago so she had tapped them up for some tips for things to do. However first things first, we don't just go wandering off without first taking in an obligatory free walking tour. We opted for a red t-shirt tour, meeting at the plaza de armas mid morning where we met our strangest tour guide to date. I can't remember the guys name to be honest but he was a very proud Chilean, massive football fan, not that keen on Pinochet and had a strange cheer/shout everytime he announced the next direction - it was quite infectious to be honest. After wandering the main sites, we took his recommendation of a nearby lunch spot (it had a small terrace - George instantly sold) in the trendy BellaVista neighbourhood.
One of George's recommendations was to take a trip up to San Cristobal hill, a huge park in the city (highest point?) which you could either walk up or take the old funicular for a few quid. Safe to say, we had both had enough of walking up hills so took the funicular both ways. Once at the top you are rewarded (after a hard slog standing in a dodgy cable pulled tram) with sweeping views all over the city. Unfortunately, Santiago sits right in a bowls surrounded by huge peaks so the citys pollution has nowhere to go so the views are a bit 'smoggy' to say the least.
Out last day we headed to the 'other' hill famous in the city, cerro Santa Lucia, a small well manicured hill lined with small plazas, gardens and statues. We were planning on going to a small pink ice cream parlour on the way that our guide said was the best in all of Santiago but after seeing it was over £2 a scoop we settled for some very tasty Hotdogs at 'Hogs' just round the corner instead. George also insisted we walk bloody miles to the big fish market down the river as it was supposed to be the best place in town for a fish stew, we walked there, it seemed pretty dodgy so we left. This is why i'm the tour guide. After our stint up the hill we thought we'd relax and treat ourselves to a local wine bar that our guide said had the best Chilean wines in town, however when we walked in the waiter told us it was closed (despite being full) so we tried a bar next door who said we had to eat if we wanted to drink. Still full from our hotdogs we trundled off home thinking we'd show them all by getting an ice cream sundae from Mcdonalds on the way, only to find the machine was broken. Deciding today was not our day we had an early night before our flight the next morning.