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Gap Year Abroad

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"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear religion and avoid the people,  you might better stay at home."  James Michener

This weekend my friend Anna and I decided to take a trip to Santiago, the capital of Chile! Buses from Viña to Santiago run about every fifteen minutes, so on Friday Anna and I met at the bus station, bought an 8 dollar ticket to Santiago, and within 15 minutes were on our way! We arrived in Santiago around 5:00 pm and took the metro to where we would be staying. My aunt has friends who are living in Santiago and they were nice enough to let Anna and me stay for the weekend! We got to the apartment and settled in before heading out for dinner in the Santa Lucia area.  Living in Valparaíso, which is a port city, I thought we would be eating a lot more fish. But so far we really haven’t eaten much fish here so we were both thrilled when Cheryl and Ron, my aunt's friends, took us to this quaint restaurant that had some really tasty fish dishes! After dinner we walked around a little and happened upon a fun art exhibit that was in the street! We also made our way to the Plaza de Armas, which is the main plaza in Santiago, before heading back to the apartment for a warm cup of blueberry tea before heading to bed!

The art exhibit right in the middle of the street! Photo cred to Anna  

The next day we decided to check out the fresh fruit and veggie markets as well as the always smelly fresh fish market! The markets are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before! Really, my senses were on overdrive. Endless amounts of colorful, fresh produce, herbs, meat, fish, grains, you name it, they've got it in the market. We dodged through the crowded aisles as each person is on their own grocery shop mission. Our mission, aside from experiencing the markets and getting some fruit (both familiar and unfamiliar), was to get a nice piece of fresh fish for dinner. Of course with the vast amount of choices, this mission was more than easy to complete. 

Some pictures from the markets 



Aceitunas (Olives)

Fruta Seca (Dried Fruit) 




After the markets we decided to explore some of the classic places in Santiago. We walked to Plaza de Armas, which was hopping! We walked around and enjoyed a puppet show as well as some live music! 


"Mira un tiburón!" ("Look a shark!") 

We then made our way over to the Bellavista area. We had lunch in the Patio Bellavista, which is a cute area with a lot of shops and restaurants! 


After lunch we headed to Cerro San Cristóbal, where we decided to take the funicular (an outside elevator) up the hill where we saw a beautiful view of Santiago! 

View from the funicular 

View from the top!  CIMG1211

After that we wandered and made our way back home. Once home we enjoyed a wonderful dinner that included the fish we bought from the market as well as a fruit I had never had before called a guanabana. The guanabana tasted tropical, like a mild pineapple mixed with coconut, and had a pear-like texture.1377343_10202190569029173_2128333763_n

The next day Anna and I woke up to a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon. It was the perfect taste of home! We then walked up Cerro Santa Lucía. We wandered around the top exploring different areas and taking pictures. We even ran into another Placa de Darwin! 


After that Cheryl and Ron had the fabulous idea of heading to the little town of Pomaire, known for their clay dishes! So we hopped in the car and drove about an hour until we arrived at Pomaire. When we got there we were all hungry so our first stop was lunch! We sat down at a traditional restaurant and had a typical Chilean meal, pastel de choclo and all!

Pastel de Choclo! 

Enormous meat platter! 

After lunch we sauntered from store to store admiring the unique handmade crafts. In one ceramics store, we even saw a man working on a pottery wheel creating a pot!


After that we bought a Mote con Huesillo and headed back to Santiago. Mote con Huesillo is a traditional Chilean drink made with mote, which is a type of wheat or barley and huesillos, which are dried peaches! The drink was actually quite good, not too sweet and very refreshing!


Photo cred to "" 

Once we got back to Santiago, Cheryl and Ron dropped us off at the bus station. Anna and I bought tickets back to Viña, and within a half an hour we were on the bus, waving goodbye to Santiago.

One thing I learned from the weekend is that Santiago is huge! I for sure didn’t get to see all of the city but I am glad I still got a taste of what the capital is like!

Up next, San Pedro de Atacama! Next weekend is the big CIEE gap group trip to San Pedro de Atacama. I am very excited to leave the central region of Chile and explore the north for a bit!

Ciao for now! 



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