Do we or dont we? That was the question at the back of our mind on whether we should go to Santiago. We´d met some really nice guys when down in Punta Arenas who lived in Santiago (one from the US and one from Switzerland) who couldn´t speak more highly of it. Matched against that was the conflicting messages from the ever pesimistic Lonely Planet that this was a city where you get mugged for walking out your door and if the thieves dont get you then the smog will.
YES was the answer, we bit the bullet and headed on over to Santiago, and so gload we did. Ironically of all the capital cities we have visited so far we by far felt safest in Santiago than in any of the others.
We headed over to La Chisma hostel which happened to be the nicest hostel by far that we have ever stayed in also. This city was turning out to be one of superlatives. The hostel was enormous based in 3 cojoined houses. We were led through the maze to our double room which turned out to be more like a hotel room than a hostel one.
That night we headed out into the Bella Vista barrio to a local set of bars called The Patio. We decided that we would treat ourselves to some cocktails and some nice grub and that evening take in a blues show at the jazz club contained within The Patio. Needless to say the evening ended a little merrier than had planned but was great night.
We woke the next day with slightly sore heads but wanting to make the most of the time we had in Santiago. We decided to scale the Cerro Concepcion, a mountain and the back of Santiago with a large statue of Mary on it, looking out over the city. When I say scale I really mean we walked to the funiculaire and got in it all the way to the top. This was a fun little journey and an old rickety train. When we got to the top the views were breathtaking and tear inducing - this turned out to be the smog. None the less it was truly beautiful and quite peaceful being away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
That night we decided to go to a shared BBQ and drinks between the hostel we were in and it´s partner hostel. A good night was had by all, we met two guys from Uruguay and Argentina who we travelled to Viña Del Mar with the next day.