Santiago and Valparaiso

During our connection in Miami between Costa Rica and Chile (I know, it doesn’t make sense), our flight got delayed of a slight 4h30, upgrading our total connection time to about 8 hours (by night – can’t even go chill on Miami Beach).

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A $40 complementary McDonalds to replace the usual in-flight dinner. That’s about a marathon worth of calories. Ugh…

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Slight delay …

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… Made up by a seat in First Class

But we ended up making it to Chile! We had a connection in Santiago on our way to Brazil, so we decided to stay a few days there to check out the city.

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Flying over the Andes Cordillera

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Santiago 

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Santiago was full of surprise for us. First of all, it was freaking cold. We had planned our trip to “follow the summer”, but it’s the middle of winter there. We definitely didn’t have the clothes for it.

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Nevertheless, we found a very modern and western-like city – a big change from Central America. Apart from the way Chileans dress, it could have been any European city.

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Santiago was founded in 1541 and has been the capital of Chile since colonial times. It is the country’s largest city and is located in the Central Valley, at an altitude of 520m.

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The city has a fantastic location, surrounded by the mountains and the Andes cordillera, which are visible from pretty much anywhere.

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Here are a few pictures:

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Some places are not quite modernized yet

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Valparaiso

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My friend Arnaud arrived in Chile a couple weeks ago in for a student exchange of one year, and he is living in Valparaiso. He invited Thomas and I to join him and his girlfriend for a couple of day there.

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Valparaiso was nicked-named “Little San Francisco” and was declared a UNESCO Wold Heritage in 2003. It’s golden age was during the second half of the 19th century, as it used to be a major stopover for ships crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the Straits of Magellan. Today, the port of Valparaiso continues to be a major distribution center in Chile.

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After a breakfast on the dunes overlooking the sea and a Peruvian lunch, Arnaud and Sherazade gave us an evening tour of the city, and we finished off with a nice evening around a bottle of Chilean wine. We had a great time, and made it back to Santiago the next day for our Saturday flight to Brazil.

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And a few odd pictures:

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Convenient parking 

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Now that’s art!

Overall, Chile seems to be an awesome country to visit. We were very tempted to extend our stay there to do some of the awesome activities the country has to offer, such as parasailing or skiing in the Andes. That will be for another trip.

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