From Valparaiso, we took the bus to Santiago and, to be honest, we weren't looking forward to it that much since lots of people said there wasn't much to do. However, we got to our hostel, which was amazing (and had a pool!) then we went on a walking tour of the city, which proved these people wrong!
The tour took us around the areas of the city which are not often visited by tourists and we discovered that Santiago is a beautiful city with lots of culture. During the tour, we ate at the fish market, went to the local market and went to the local cemetery (which has some of the most beautiful mausoleums). One interesting part was that in the cemetery, there are certain graves that the locals believe are angels. They believe that the people who died can grant favours if they go there and pray to them. On these graves, there are many plaques expressing gratitude for granting the favour and the more plaques a grave has; the more powerful the angel.
We also went on a walking tour of the 'touristy' side of the city. Here, we saw Santa Lucia hill, which marks the spot where the indigenous Mapuchi tribe managed to fight off the Spaniards for more than 100 years, it is now a beautiful park. We also learned about the Santiago culture of 'coffee on legs', which, in the 1800s was a way for the Europeans to get Chileans to like coffee. They are basically coffee shops where the waitresses wear little more than bikinis, in some cases not even that! Apparently, when Bill Clinton visited, he went to one of these twice. Quel surprise!
That night, we went on a pub crawl, where you could say, we met some interesting characters. It was mostly filled with Chilean men hoping to get lucky with a European girl. Nevertheless, it was a fun night and we got familiar with the Chilean taste in music. As a result of this pub crawl, the next day was an absolute write off.
We also visited the human rights museum, where we learned about the overthrowing of the communist government by the Pinochet dictatorship. Pinochet ruled from 1973 until 1990, and during this time, there were thousands of human rights violations. It was shocking to see and learn about it, especially as it happened so recerntly.
One if Sarah's best days on this whole trip was in Santiago. It was at a FREE market. That's right, FREE! People just go along with their unwanted things, lay them out on the grass and you can take them. You have to be quick though- it's survival of the fittest. If this was a sport, Sarah would be an Olympic medalist! She got Ben a pair of Levi jeans and for herself: 2 tops, a skirt and some jewellery. And it was all FREE!
So overall, Santiago has got a lot to offer and is definitely worth a visit.