After saying our farewells to everyone in Auckland and totally decluttering my backpack (I gave the cleaner half my clothes) so that it weighed a lot less, we headed to the airport. Annoyingly we had to pay $25 each departure tax and we boarded Lan Airlines for our 11.5 hr flight to Santiago. To be honest it wasn't the best flight, the staff couldn't be bothered, Jem's video didn't work and my seat wouldn't stay back and the food was pretty bad but the bonus was that we met a lovely chilean man (who nabbed the only 3 empty seats and said, with a cheeky smile, that he was in 1st class!) I got a cool wash kit that someone didn't want in 1st class with make up in and everything and we got great measures in the drinks. I also watched two great films, one was The Darjeeling Limited and the other was Dan in the Real Life.
At Santiago airport we got the bus centropuerto (1300 pesos each which is 1.30) to Pararitos metro station and then got the metro to Santa Ana changing at Los Heroes. The journey was quite easy and it was made a lot easier by my lighter rucksack. From Santa Ana we walked to the bohemian buzz of Barrio Brasil. Our hostel, located in a 19th century colonial mansion is called Casa La Roja, Agustinas 2113 (8 bed dorm is 6500 pesos). Thankfully there are lockers in the room so our things are safe. The building itself is really cool, high ceilings, nice atmosphere, good kitchen and chill out areas. There's also a swimming pool in the garden which would be lovely in the summer but it's just a tad too cold now. Oh another bonus is a free half an hr internet, if you can get on it!
We were so tired after our flight that we just crashed in our room for a couple of hours and then went for a wander around Plaza Brasil, had a very cheap beer (just over a pound) at a local cafe and walked into the city centre. Everyone smokes everywhere. The only place you´re not allowed to smoke is the metro. I think it´s going to be many years before the ban is introduced here!
On the walk into town we passed two beautiful old buildings, one was the ex-Congreso Nacional and Tribunals de Justicia. At the very busy and vibrant Plaza de Armas we had a moment in Santiago´s Cathedral which is stunning inside, had a look at the Museo Historico Nacional & listened to an amazing girl singing opera on the street. To celebrate our arrival in Santiago we went for a meal at Las Vacas Gordas (the fat cows) and enjoyed a lovely meal, Jem had a big fat steak, and 2 bottles of wine for 15 pounds - bargain!
First impressions of Santiago are a very smoggy city with a good vibe, lots of charm and classy, well dressed people, who stare at us alot!
I´ll be in touch xxxxx