Tuesday 14 April 2015

Santiago (14/04/15 - 17/04/15)

The first big city and I managed not to get run over by a car! Or get too lost or get mugged … I think that is a good start. The flight was amazing. It was clear when we flew over the mountains with glaciers - still get excited by the sight. 

I was supposed to get picked up by a taxi from the airport. However, no pone was there holding up a sign with my name. So I ended up finding my own taxi. Was a little pricy, but I did get the price down a bit … The taxi driver was able to speak a little English and complained that I didn’t speak Spanish - my bet, oh well …
Turns out, I still love reflections  when taking pictures. So here is one: the reflection of the old in the new!
I stayed at Che Lagarto Hostel which is a chain and much less personal than the one in Punta. However, it was clean and a bed to sleep in. The roof terrace was very nice too for eating lunch and in the evenings they had a little bar. I met quite a few nice people!
Plaza de Armas - this used to be the place to be in the city. When it was attached, everyone run here, grabbed a weapon and defended it - hence the name!
So, I finally tried to buy a lock to secure my valuables - I guess hiding it underneath the  mattress might not do anymore. So I got one and rushed back to the hostel (I wanted to join the Free Walking Tour at 10am and the shops only opened at 9am). When I tried to close the lock it turned out tobe too small!! I ended up just making it look like it was closed!
This is the post office. Unfortunately, I cannot remember what it used to be.
I joined the tour in time and it was really good! The guy was so motivated. Free Walking Tours comes from Europe. Apparently, someone was really disappointed by an expensive walking tour they did in Berlin and decided to set up this company. At the end everyone can give a tip if they want to depending on how good the guide was and what the budget is. I learned a lot about the history and politics. Another thing I didn’t know about was “coffee with legs”. They are cafe’s where the waitresses were very short skirts (very short!) and serve coffee. Lots of business people go there for coffee during lunchtime … 
This is a statue that was donated by the German's to Santiago.
This little fellow followed us for half the tour. Apparently, he joins regularly. Stray dogs are very well looked after in Santiago. They all look well fed, in the parks are quite a few little dog huts and in the winter people give them jumpers! I also did not see that much dog poo around considering the amount of stray dogs ...
Another funny fact about Santiago: it was apparently founded by someone who was running away from the inquisition as they wanted to be together with their affair. :D
San Cristobal
One of the biggest hills around is called San Cristobal and it is a nice walk up there with parks on the way and the statue of the virgin on top. A little train thing takes you back down - not quite sure whether it would pass safety standards ;)
View from the top with more hills and than the Andes in the back. It looks amazing how the city was built around all those hills - a bit like a lake in the valley.
The statue of the virgin at the very top of San Cristobal. 

The little train back down.
The next day I went to the vineyard Undurraga. I was the only one needing a tour in English and was therefore given a private tour. It was really nice, especially as I finally like wine!
The garden of the vineyard.

Roses are planted in the garden of a vineyard to pick up on any bad insects coming in that could become a plague. For white grapes they plant white roses and for red grapes, red roses!
The grapes were probably the sweetest ones I have ever tasted!
The barrels for further refining the wine. 
The wines I tested in my own personal wine tasting! I was even allowed to keep the glass - I hope I will get it home in one piece. 

Several different places belong to the vineyard as different grapes grow better in different climates.
In the evening I went to see the ballet “Romeo and Juliet” which was performed by the Santiago ballet group. It was really nice! I have definitely missed things like this! I also realised that the TV show “The Apprentice” uses the music from the ballet. Took me a few seconds to figure out where I had heard the melody before …

I only had 2 whole days and now I am leaving for Buenos Aires. This time, I am not taking the taxi though - first the underground and than the bus. All went well! This means that I will take the bus in Buenos Aires as well as it is supposed to be much cheaper.
The national flower in tiles on the floor.

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