Essence of South American January 11, 2019

I am arriving in Santiago on January 9, 2019 and am looking to do some site seeing on January 10th. Is anyone else arriving early?


  • Hello Robert, we just returned from the Patagonia tour that began in Santiago. We arrived a day early, so o am pasting part of my diary for your interest.

    We were picked up from the airport during peak rush hour traffic but it was interesting driving slowly through the outskirts of the city, seeing the remains of very poor housing by the river and the many many high rise apartment buildings.
    Our hotel, the Singular, is very elegant and the staff very helpful. We arrived before 9am so our room was not ready. We dumped our bags and headed out for some site seeing, choosing one of the two hills in Santiago, the lower one with the remains of Hildago castle on the top to see the views of the city with the Andes mountains in the distance, covered in snow. This hill is a little park with nice plantings. The automatic watering hoses were on, so we had to dodge them as well as be really careful climbing the very uneven rocky stairways to the top. There was a stray dog who walked by us now and again. He was having a rare old time playing in the hose pipe water as well as trying to drink from them, so we took pictures of him as well but refrained from petting him.
    Back to the hotel for a pit stop and then straight out again to walk to La Chascona, one of the homes of the famous Nobel prize winning poet Pablo Neruda. It is built into a rock with terraced garden and rooms on different levels. It has an eclectic collection of travel memorabilia and art.
    By now we were really tired and hungry and it was getting hot so we went back to the hotel for lunch, I had duck and Mr B had wild hare. We had a glass of wine each even though in the US it was the equivalent of 11am. We are two hours ahead here. We then ditched the idea of more site seeing, our room was ready. We looked at the spa menu and called them to see if we could get massages. So at 3pm we headed for those, a steal at $45 each. Mr B is now fast asleep. Someone is playing one of those South American whistles outside our window, it sounds very pleasant but now !r B is snoring???? anyway it sounds good, the whistle I mean! The restaurant does not open until 7-30pm. Our tour begins tomorrow evening at 6pm. We have had our tour director Carla twice before and we look forward to seeing her again.

    We had a bit of a scare last night. We were eating dinner in the restaurant at the front of the hotel. It extends to the outside to the sidewalk. Suddenly we could smell smoke and then sirens like fire engines. Then suddenly a noise and a terrible strong almost like chlorine smell, it was tear or pepper gas. The restaurant was evacuated to a courtyard at the back. By this time our eyes were tearing and our throats were hurting. The staff quickly came round with slices of lime to suck on to help counteract the gas. We got a free glass of champagne each. When the coast was clear, we all went back into the restaurant and fresh appetizers were served to us. This morning there was a news article I read on the BBC. This is the link.
    So we went to bed much later than expected and our late dinner sat on my chest all night but we had to be up early to go on a Viator wine tasting tour. A famous vineyard south of the city. Our driver drove through very heavy traffic, it reminded me of Philadelphia traffic. Santiago has a seven and a half million people and four million cars. We had a great time on a beautiful morning. The tour guide recommended a great bar and tapas restaurant right behind the hotel, so we ate a late lunch there. We are resting before we go for a walk around and then get ready for our Welcome reception.
    We walked around the main square. It was really busy, apparently Fridays always are. It is surrounded by elegant buildings and gardens. The weather has been beautiful, so it is going to be a change when we get to windy Patagonia
  • We're on this tour too, and arrive at 10:30 am the day before the tour starts. Our plan is to do some relaxing and some short visits to things we might not see on the tour, but we haven't gotten that far in our planning yet!

    Will be good to meet you! British, sorry we missed meeting you by a couple of tours!

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