A Travellerspoint blog

RTW 2019: Santiago, Chile

6/23/19 - 6/24/19


6/23/19 at 2052
Santiago, Chile

Ready to go and rocking my Eagle Creek luggage I got my first RTW trip 5 years back

I made it to Chile . . . the “Round the World” trip has begun and I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. Mainly because I’m sick, possibly also because I had a hard time sleeping on the red-eye from Dallas to Santiago. My left ear still hasn’t popped, I have a mild case of tinnitus, and I’m realizing more and more that I really need to see an ENT about my ruptured ear drums all those years ago. But I’m here . . . I left yesterday afternoon, dropped off at Ontario Airport by my baby. A Subway sandwich and some Sea Salt & Vinegar chips in my bag, I felt ready to go but barely made it through security as they moved my stuff through three times. The TSA agent eventually accepted my USB brick charger/flashlight combo wasn’t a weapon and he eventually decided my make-up was an acceptable liquid. Through to Dallas and immediately loaded on to my plane for Santiago. I watched “A Star is Born” (finally!) and “The Favorite” . . . note to self: must talk to Frank about this movie. After landing, a little miming helped me to follow the customs process, locate an ATM, and then I easily found the Centropuerto bus based on the on-line guidance I had read beforehand. I picked up a BIP card in the metro and a few stops later, I made my way to my AirBNB. I met two eager young girls and a cute kitty named Lulu. I don’t normally mind children in my AirBNB but after the oldest wandered in to my room, started touching my stuff, inquired what my shower poof was for, and then hid in my closet until I told her Dad so he could escort her out . . . well, now I’m questioning if I should pay more attention to the “lock on the door” preference so many travelers seem to have. ;)




A nap for a few hours helped me to shake off the overnight flight and I headed out. I went to the Plaza de Armas where some soil art was being made. I’m not sure I understand what its commemorating or the purpose, especially considering it will rain tomorrow but I was intrigued. I wandered around the free history museum in the Plaza, lamenting that there were no signs in English and that I forgot to download a language pack for Google translate. I still enjoyed looking around but I knew I was missing the impact of the history.

Museo Historico Nacional is in the Plaza de Armas and free to enter

Definitely winning as one of the most interesting shoes I have ever seen

A window in the San Francisco Iglesia

Based on the suggestion of my host, I visited San Francisco Church, which evidentially is over 400 years old. It was very special to go in during mass. Several people were like me, walking through the two lines of homeless men flanking the entrance, shaking change in cups, telling us we were “Bonita!” and asking for money in between laughs. Parts of the floor were sunk in, the walls were smooth and rounded. I dared to touch one wall, knowing no one would care but feeling aware of the American way of treating treasured relics of the past . . . “Do not touch!”. I appreciate these barriers are there for so many countries. I remembered Goreme in Turkey and how special it was to wander the homes alone, crawling through doorways, jumping from house to house, touching the walls. I left my brother a voicemail from there, wanting to reach out and share the moment with someone.

Santa Lucia

I next wandered around Santa Lucia Hill, appreciating the Neptune fountain. The weather was beautiful and I was starting to feel the exhaustion. I did not make it to the top where the beautiful brick fort was. It was a long winding road and I started to feel the exhaustion and my cough was getting a little worse. I found a small bench where I sat for a minute under trees covered with ivy, appreciating the cobblestones in front of me. I watched people walk by, several with small dogs happily trotting next to them. I am realizing that most people with dogs here have small dogs. Most dogs wandering the streets tend to be large dogs. Except the large German Shepards I’ve seen military have. I wonder if people get large dogs and realize the commitment to their energy expenditure and they become street dogs? Or possibly it goes a long way back and the dogs just breed on the street? I don’t know . . . but small dogs. I am definitely seeing a lot of cute little small pups.

I cam across an artist market. A saxophone made from bambooo, large soft earrings that were hand sewn with tiny thread, jewelry made from thin metal meant too look like leaves . . . there was so much I appreciated but none that I saw where I knew “I must have it!” I’m excited too keep looking.

I made my way to Cerro San Cristobal through the Bellavista neighborhood. The tagging and street art intensified in that area. I had realized I hadn’t eaten yet and my stomach was starting to eat its own lining. Being Sunday, so much was closed. I refused to eat at the KFCs, Subways, Starbucks, and McDonals I was passing by. I wanted to eat at a little place that would maybe offer something a little more authentic, a little more local. I asked a few for suggestions but after deciding I didn’t want Italian pizza or a hipster burger joint, I found a little cafe that seemed to offer promise. They had a simplified menu written out in chalk, a tiny kitchen, and outdoor seating with tables made from imperfect cuts of a tree. While sitting, I noticed stick figure art on their awning showing various couples: two men, two women, a man and a women. A saying in Spanish that seemed to say respect all people, respect all animals, everyone is welcome, everyone is loved. I feel like if I had seen that, it would have sealed the deal for sure. Unfortunately, miscommunication abounded and after a salty soup, an overcooked piece of steak, and French fries were taken in, I was ready to move on. Quickly.

The line to get tickets and enter for the funicular.

I found the funicular, past the man with the llama, the women selling sweaters that say C-H-I-L-E, and the cart with fresh roasted nuts. I went to the Info stand and asked where to buy a ticket. In a heavy accent and with a smile: “In the castle.” Beautiful. A long line, promised to take about 20-40 minutes. Apparently it was built in the 1930’s. I got a good spot in the front for the way up, enjoying the view along the way. At the top, more vendors with keychains, candy, and instant coffee. I found a stand with fresh empanadas. I recognized all except for “Pino”. I decided to go for it and was given a fresh hot one. I sat and looked for the Andes Mountains through the smog, watched the sunset through the clouds, and made my way through this empenada with boiled eggs, beef, olives, and other small tidbits I didn’t recognize. The heartiness made up for my lack-luster meal in the Bellavista neighborhood. I did the small hike to the Statue of the Virgin Mary, visited the old church atop the hill, and relaxed on a bench for a bit before making my way back down.

My pino empenada

The stray dogs are so docile in Santiago, often sleeping on the streets. This one on San Cristobal we had to literally step over to get into the queue line for our downwards trip.

Upon return to my AirBNB, I was pretty shot but my eager host Leo offered to show me the city view from the top floor of a neighboring building once the girls were done with their homework. I couldn’t pass up such an offer. A short walk and an elevator ride later, we were overlooking the city and Leo pointed out the mountains, the rich areas, the poor areas, the middle class. He recounted history of Chile, shared the story of his wife who taught English in Chile and taught Spanish in Maine. He told me that Santiago has homes more expensive than in Beverly Hills and that when adjusting for income, Santiago is more expensive than in Japan or in New York. He gave examples of income. I asked if they would ever move but he said no. They like this area for their girls and for their education. They are happy with what Chile is able to offer for their girls and their family is here.

After returning to the apartment, Leo made me a medicinal tea to sooth my throat and we discussed Chilean authors, musicians, and poets. He sent me a PDF book s that I made enhance my Chilean education. And now . . . I am dead tired. Nose stuffed. Ear still plugged. Ready for sleep. Tomorrow will be a full day in Santiago if I can manage it. And then Tuesday morning will be a 4:30 AM cab ride to the airport for my Easter Island stop experience.

6/24/19 at 1802
Santiago, Chile

Sitting in Cafe San Isidro, sipping on a cappuccino Italiano and munching on a flakey, creamy dessert flanked with raspberry gel and chocolate drizzle. It’s raining and I’m a premium seat facing the street, watching people walk by with their umbrellas, seeing the street vendor cover his papers and magazines with an oversized plastic bag. Today I slept in, kept hydrated, and took a few doses of phenylephrine. An afternoon nap may have helped as well as I’m feeling much better. I still didn’t have the energy to do a lot of walking and hiking today so I kept most of my exploration on the Metro lines. Knowing I’m waking up early tomorrow for Easter Island has definitely kept me a little more conservative with my energy . . . not to mention the 40 degree weather or the 100% chance of rain.

A simple breakfast to start the day

Mercado Central de Santiago

Today was a good day. I started off with a walk up to the Mercado Central de Santiago, which opened in 1872. I stopped along the way for a coffee and a pastry that I thought may be guava. Munching on my simple breakfast, my throat was soothed and I passed through the Plaza de Armas again. I came to the Mercado Central de Santiago and found most vendors closed, possibly due to the weather or possibly due it being Monday, I’m not sure. I saw fresh fish, sea urchin, eels for sale. A handful of souvenir stands open, all with the same products available at similar stands. The building was beautiful and ornate though dark and empty within. As with all locations in Santiago, a security force was present but relaxed, leaning and chatting near their horses. I moved on to Las Dominicas via the metro, at the end of the Red Line. The Centropuerto Artesanal Los Dominicos was marked on some sites as being open on Mondays, other sites marked it as being closed. I figured why not gamble it?

Entrance to the artist village

Squished in the metro I realized exactly how long the ride would be until the end of the line and so as grateful I brought my earbuds. I grabbed a seat when one opened and relaxed, listening to music until the metro came to its last stop. It turns out the artist enclave was indeed open, though hit and miss based on the individual artists. A sign near the entrance educated me that the land had been gifted to the local people over a hundred years ago but the artist village was constructed in the 80’s using traditional techniques. Everything I came across was handmade, unique, and beautiful. I came across a small shop with woven animals and jewelry, the door open ajar. A small woman sat hunched over with a small desk lamp on over her work space. I opened the creaky door a smidge, asked if I may come in. A huge smile flashed and she welcomed me in. Through her broken English and my Google Translate (which I did remember to download language packs for!) I learned that the woven material was horsehair, hand dyed different colors. She asked me where I was from, tried to share more about her hometown though I am not sure we were able to communicate everything back and forth. I purchased a vibrantly colored butterfly for my walls, told her the work was beautiful. I wandered, took photos, went in and out of other shops and enjoyed all the unique goods my eyes could feast upon. Feral cats wander around, including a Chilean fake-Steve.

Ready for lunch, I took the Metro towards Santiago’s central station so I could make my way to El Hoyo restaurant. Apparently the restaurant originally opened in 1912 and is now well known due to Anthony Bourdain’s televised visit. I walked through a bustling market with vendors shouting around me, selling all kinds out of bags and boxes. Baby wipes, scissors, ear buds, umbrellas . . . everything. Vendors also were selling churros, chocolate dipped strawberries, empenadas, hot dogs, fresh pressed pomegranate juice. My mind went back to Turkey again, the only other place I’ve seen fresh and pure pomegranate juice. I had seen pomegranate juice in Thailand but the vendors diluted the juice with water and so it didn’t carry the same bite.

The entrance to El Hoyo
My simple but delicious lengua sandwich

Once in El Hoyo, I settled in with my Google Translate app and took my time to decipher the menu. I went for a lengua sandwich with avocado mash and tomato, a fresh cheese plate, and asked for fresh juice though deferred to my waiter for whatever type he recommended. I believe he brought me strawberry juice. It was a delicious and hearty meal, filling me up. A gentlemen was in the restaurant singing, playing his guitar and competing with the televised soccer game for attention. Once done, I headed back to my AirBNB for a late afternoon nap. Upon waking up, I decided to head out for a coffee and some cafe time to work on this entry . . . after this, I’ll pack and get ready for Easter Island tomorrow. Moai . . . here I come!


I saw many rainbows around Santiago, which I appreciated. My host told me there had been a LGBT parade the day before I arrived.

My first meal in Santiago






The famous statue of the Virgin Mary atop San Cristobal
The statue underneath the statue.
Near the church there was a prayer wall filled with personal belongings and photographs of loved ones left by visitors to the Virgin Mary.
The view from the top of San Cristobal



The most vibrant sunset I have ever witnessed. I don’t believe this image captures the intensity of the color.

A fun way to recycle


A library within the metro!



Posted by WanderingWorld 21:42 Archived in Chile Tagged chile santiago easter_island airbnb santiago_chile rtw_2019

Table of contents


Love all the pictures. Looks like a beautiful place.

by Jennifer

Oh my Gosh so amazing thank you so much for sharing ???? how incredible ????

by Rachel

Looks amazing. Love all the photos, my favorite is the boot.

by Roma lawson

So glad you were able to do as much as you have so far. So sorry you are feeling so crappy!!
Such beautiful and interesting pictures.

by Mommy

Please find Chilean fake-Steve again and bring him back for me. I’ll promise to speak to him only en español

Loving the pics, that lengua sandwich looks amazing!!

by Frank

Beautiful entry my love! Your details are on point, it’s almost like I’m there with you:).

by Heather B

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your trip. It's so great! I feel like am almost there with you. Except I get to experience it in your eyes. Thank you. Thank you so much for bring your travel home to us here. ~Sherrie

by Sherrie

What a great way to share with us!! Be careful and I love the pictures!!

by Barbara

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