Adventures and Misadventures in Chile

Chile horcon concon

Week 43

Day 291

Huaraz Peru

9.5333° S, 77.5333° W

As with Argentina, there were some things I learned during my time in Chile.

To give you a little background on our trip:

We started in Santiago where we met up with my Mom and Dad!

Mom and Dad Doughty :)

Mom and Dad Doughty 🙂

Stocking up on the necessities in life: TP, Wine, Beer, Chocolate, and Coffee

Stocking up on the necessities in life: TP, Wine, Beer, Chocolate, and Coffee

We spent a couple days exploring the city, eating amazing dinners, and drinking good wine before we headed for the wine region Casablanca and the coast.

Highlights of Santiago:

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Cathedrals and Churches

Santiago is home to some amazing Catholic Churches.

The architecture is spectacular!

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Masses also run on the hour.

We walked into 10am mass only to find mass ending.

Bummed that the website had the times wrong, we sat down to pray only to find out we hadn’t missed mass, we just caught the end of the 9am as well.

The Santiago Central Market

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Mostly known for fish, Mercado Central de Santiago is a fun place to walk around.

Of course there is plenty of seafood to buy, but there are also plenty of restaurants hustling to get you to sit at their tables.

If you are after more than just fish, the veggie market is located just north across the “river” (the river was dried up when we were there in May) and meats are found in different stalls on the outskirts of the market.

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If food shopping isn’t your style, there is also a crafts market just south of Cerro Santa Lucía.

Cerro Santa Lucía

IMG_3532Cerro Santa Lucía is a park in the middle of the city that offers a beautiful 360° view of the city from the top.  

The view point is the remnants of a volcano.

Throughout history, the hill has been used as a lookout, a fort, and cemetery before becoming the park it now is with multiple vantage points and fountains.

Located just east of the hill is a very hip part of town with some of the best restaurants in the city.

Chilean Discovery #1 Museums are closed on Monday

Maybe a more experienced Museum goer would have expected this, but unfortunately we saved all of our museum going until our last day in town, Monday, only to find out every museum in the city was closed.

If you’re taking a long weekend in Santiago, make sure you hit up the museums on Saturday or Sunday.

Cerro San Cristóbal

IMG_3578From Cerro San Cristóbal you can get the best view of the city.  

Cerro San Cristóbal is definitely a touristy part of the city, but worth hitting up.

You could take a cab to the top of the hill, but we really enjoyed riding the Funicular.

You can choose to take the funicular halfway up and stop at the zoo, or ride it all the way to the top where you’ll arrive at the Statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of the hill with a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

The best days to go to Cerro San Cristóbal are either Sundays or the day after it rains so there is less smog.  (There is LOT of smog in Santiago.)

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The Funicular building looks like a castle!

Buying Tickets

Buying Tickets…Dad’s Spanglish/sign language

We're going up!

We’re going up!

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IMG_3579At the base of Cerro San Cristóbal is the hip neighborhood of Bellavista.  Just across from Universidad of San Sebastian there are some good bars and restaurants to be found.

The final attraction at the base of Cerro San Cristóbal is one of Pablo Neruda’s homes.   The poet/Chilean icon has three homes in Chile that all have very in depth tours.   

The Santiago home was originally for Neruda’s mistress, Matilde , who later became his 3rd wife.  

Chilean Discovery #2 Toilet Behaviors are Odd in Chile

No toilet?--No worries!

No toilet?–No worries!

While the above picture wasn’t necessarily a common site, it did happen.

What makes Chile’s toilet behaviors odd (at least to this American girl although I’m quickly getting used to it as I travel North through South America) is that most places including hotels and apartments ask you to throw away your toilet paper–not flush it.

Although there are the occasional signs (like in the Santiago International Airport) where they ask you to flush TP not toss it…Regardless make sure you read the sign each time you go to the bathroom.

Moving on from Santiago

Following our 4 days in Santiago we headed to coast to chill and unwind.

There are plenty of excursions we could have done but given the time of year we were there (the beginning of winter) we decided to chill at the beach.–Now I realize that sounds backwards, but it doesn’t really get that cold in Chile…at least not while we were there.  Surfers were surfing in our coastal towns and I sported a tank top and shorts most days.  That being said, beach towns are dead in May!

If you’re looking for a beach crowd, May is not the time to find it in Chile but it was perfect for 4 travelers looking to drink good wine without crowds and watch some amazing sunsets! 🙂

Concón

Our first beach stop was Concón.  

15 min north of Vina Del Mar and about 25 min north of Valparaíso, Concón was an excellent spot to take day trips into the city (Valparaíso) and into Wine Country Casablanca.

If you want a more in depth look at wine tasting in Casablanca check out our previous blog as I go in depth on each winery we hit up.

Visiting Vina Del Mar and Valparaíso were fun trips, but it was nice to be in the quieter neighborhood (that is also known to have the best restaurants!) of Concón.

The best part of our stay in Concón was the view of the little surf town. 

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 Valparaíso

You could easily spend days in Valparaíso!  

I loved the colorful streets and homes and much preferred this city to Santiago.

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IMG_3865We took a day trip here and the highlights of our trip were Pablo Neruda’s Valparaíso home, La Sebastiana,  and Irish Bar we were told to hit up as it was owned by a friend of a friend.  

La Sebastiana

La Sebastiana

La Sebastiana was my favorite of the two Pablo Neruda houses we visited for it’s view of Valparaíso and it’s more laid back feel.  

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View of the city past Pablo’s Glass Jar collection. He felt water tasted better out of green glass.

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The ceiling of the entry way into the home…one of the few pictures I got before being informed you can’t take pictures :/

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Collection of batteries outside of the house…not sure why but I liked it! 🙂

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Everything we did was thanks to Father Doughty, our trip’s tour guide:

Dad had the sites down!

Dad had the sites down!

Most of the suggestions from the book were pretty accurate, but one that fell slightly short was the suggestion to hit up Poesia de Saber after a tour of Pablo Neruda’s La Sebastiana home.

Lonely planet promised a great cafe with excellent pisco sours so Mom and I were all in!

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View of Poesia de Sabe from La Sabastiana

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.  Perhaps this was another cause of being in Chile during the off season, but the cafe only offered Cerveza and the selection wasn’t that great.

It did however provide us some laughs with some ancient artifacts, a weird mannequin woman pictured further up ↑, and a wall with weird red paint splatters that we all decided looked suspiciously like blood spatter–I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation…we didn’t ask.

An old computer found in

An old computer found at Poesia de Sabe

One suggestion that was spot on was to hit up El Irlandes!

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We didn’t get to meet our friend of a friend, the owner Nigel, but we did enjoy some awesome craft brew.  El Irlandes, not only has the best beer selection in Chile, but one of the best I’ve ever seen!

Chilean Discovery #3 There are some great Beers in Chile

We’ve found some awesome beers throughout our travels, but normally that involves hitting up a specialty store or taproom.

In Chile, you can find excellent porters, stouts, and browns in normal grocery stores; my favorites being the Abbatia Porter, Mestra Scotch Ale, and Kunstmann Gran Torobayo.

Vina Del Mar

We didn’t do much in Vina Del Mar.

We checked out the fish market which was surprisingly disappointing.  We never did find where to buy the fresh fish the travel books talk so highly of.

The other thing we did was check out one of the Moai Statues that had been moved from Easter Island.

IMG_3905 IMG_3903Horcón

By far the highlight of the trip for us all was the last week we spent in Horcón!

We had an amazing Condo overlooking the water in the Cau Cau Resort.

Horcón is a cute little fishing town with a hippie vibe.

In the morning you can see horses pulling the fishing boats onto shore and huge pelicans watch over the village all day long.

20 min north of Horcón is another popular beach town called Zapallar with some good restaurants and during peak season a bustling boardwalk…or so we’ve been told as like everywhere else we went on the coast, the town was mostly deserted in May.

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Horses pulling a boat ashore

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Do you spy the sleeping man?

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Chilean Discovery #4 You can do your laundry in the middle of Santiago

Woman doing her laundry in the middle of Santiago.

Woman doing her laundry in the middle of Santiago

May may not be the month tour books would recommend visiting Chile, but being here during the off season allowed us all the peace and quiet we needed to relax.

We all read quite a bit and there was plenty of time to muck around!

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The Best part of Chile was definitely having 2 weeks to chill with my mom and dad!

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tom and iThank you both for making the trip!

Stayed tuned for adventures in Peru!

35 days until we return to the states! 🙂

 

 

 

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