After more than two months of traveling in the relatively poor countries of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, it would not be a stretch to say that we were looking forward to arriving in Chile. Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia were amazing and I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything in the world… but we wanted consistent hot water, food that didn’t have the hidden potential to kill us, and cabs with seat belts. We were more than ready for Santiago.
And Santiago did not disappoint! A huge city with wide, smooth streets, thousands of cute cafes and restaurants, and an up-to-date health and safety policy, Santiago is one of the most modern and sophisticated cities in South America.
It’s also a city where you don’t have to DO much to feel like you’ve had a great day. We spent several days just wandering around different neighbourhoods, trying local foods for lunch, and sitting on park benches watching the lovely Chilean people. People here eat dinner very late (Santiago is very much like Spain in that respect) and we loved to go sit outside at a cafe and watch the streets come to life at night.
One of the best days we spent in Santiago wasn’t actually in Santiago at all, but in a suburb about 40 minutes outside of the city centre. We took a bus out to Talagente for their huge Oktoberfest… or Fiesta de la Cerveza! Apparently Chile had a huge number of German immigrants a few hundred years ago and the Germans brought with them their skills at beer brewing.
We spent a hot day wandering around the hundreds of stalls sampling locally brewed German-style Chilean beer and watching sunburnt and slightly drunk Chilenos jumping around to um-pa-pa accordion music. They even did the Chicken Dance. Some things defy international borders!