Having spent a good amount of time in Chile already, we were keen to get north and into Bolivia as soon as possible so we didn’t intend to spend more than a night or two in Santiago. However, having arrived just before Easter, the bus timetables decided otherwise. There were no buses north until after Easter Sunday. So, like it or not, we were forced to spend a very quiet and relaxed 3 nights there. Especially quiet since most of Santiago seemed to have left the city for the weekend. We were really lucky to find a very nice backpackers there (Footsteps), whose friendly staff and residents really made us feel like we were with family over the Easter weekend.

Over the 4 days there we walked the streets of Santiago many times. It seems like a nice place to live, a lot less hectic than Buenos Aires, but still a fair bit happening. Some highlights were Cerro San Cristobal, a big hill in the middle of the otherwise flat city, and Santa Lucia, a smaller hill in the otherwise flat city, both with parks and interesting architecture. The one museum that was open was also really nice, all of the others were closed either because of the holiday or earthquake damage. I really feel for the staff of the National Library who had millions of books to stack back onto the shelves. On the monday when everything was open Sophie found her paradise in Banderas St. Several blocks worth of nothing but second hand cloths shops. Once again though, the severely limited space in our backpacks was a huge thorn in her side.

One thing that was a bit disappointing was the food. While I’m sure there are nice restaurants somewhere, the only ones we found were either very expenisive touristy restaurants, or really cheap and nasty pizza, hamburger and hotdog places. One of those takes the prize for the worst attempt at spagetti we have ever experienced. I don’t think the tomato paste even touched a pot before it was out of the can and splattered on our over-cooked spagetti.

We enjoyed our stay but 4 days was plenty and we were glad to finally get on the bus and moving again. Next stop, the desert north of Chile, San Pedro de Atacama.