Nichol and Matt go to Chile!

To finish a tour.

And we’re back.

Our apologies for keeping anyone hanging, but yesterday we had our first Santiago brunch since leaving Victoria at Cafe Melba, in the well-to-do district of Las Condes. Breakfast isn’t big here, so a proper Western breakfast was much appreciated. This excellent brunch (for the record: a Benny on French bread? It rocks.) was followed by a pleasant stroll through yet another park and some time watching an aviary with about 30 of the seemingly happiest budgies, parrots, lovebirds and cockatiels that we’ve ever seen. We then returned home on the Metro to ‘suffer’ a long-awaited brunch coma. While our apology is heartfelt, we don’t feel too bad. 😉

Before moving on to today’s adventure in Chilean bureaucracy, we feel it necessary to briefly finish the end of last week’s tour.

We left off during the tour’s break at a quaint little cafe at the foot of Cerro Santa Lucia (which we incorrectly called ‘San Lucia’ in the previous post). After some water and an underwhelming croissant, the tour moved on towards (what?! Another park?) Parque Forestal. Winding through some very Europeanesque side-streets, we were taken to a funky ice cream shop called ‘Emporio La Rosa’. As indicated by the line flowing out the wide-open double doors, and the smiling faces crowding the patio, this place is among the better known of Santiago’s ice-cream shops, of which there are many! Unfortunately the line prevented the tour from including some sampling, but apparently the trademark of this ice cream emporium is some of the most exotic flavours that one can imagine. While stopping short of suggesting some of the more bizarre flavours such as cheesburger or fish, the guide was fairly adamant that ordering something as banal as ‘vanilla’ is a wasted visit.

Crossing one more street brought us to Emporio La Rosa’s adopted overflow patio, Parque Forestal. Strangely enough, our first stop was in front of a large bust of Honest Abe Lincoln himself, placed so because the building nearby used to be the American embassy. Corralled by two main avenues, the park is long and narrow, culminating with ‘La Fuente Alamana’, a large bronze statue of a ship representing early German immigration to the country and gifted by Germany in honour of Chile’s centennial. Chile recently celebrated their 200th anniversary and speculation regarding what Germany would give this time was reportedly rampant throughout the city; sadly, they didn’t get anything.

Meandering across the ‘mighty’ (and muddy) Rio Mapocho, we next entered the last neighbourhood of the day, Bellavista. This district is known to be a very student-centric area, evidenced by the many eating and drinking (if we had a peso for every Heineken sign hanging…) establishments that line the sidewalks. This will definitely be a location for us to return to as the choice of international cuisine seems endless. One place in particular sounds fantastic, as we are assured that it serves some of the most authentic Patagonian cuisine in the city. Also, we’ve been promised a free Pisco Sour if we drop the tour guide’s name. Winding our way up a quiet, cobblestone street we finished the tour outside the former house of famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. His house has been converted into a small museum, which features many of the nautically themed objects that he obsessively collected. It is said that he loved the sea, but was afraid of sailing, and so as any neurotic artist would do, lived vicariously through his collectibles. We’ll return to the museum at some point during our stay and will be sure to add some further details afterwards. At the end of the tour, the time came to pay for the tour in the form of whatever tip we feel was warranted, we gave a well deserved 15,000 CLP (~$30 CAD). If anyone reading is interested in doing this tour, more info can be found at; we highly recommend it!

Switching gears a little, we spent today in a blisteringly hot and confusing haze of Chilean bureaucracy (registering our visas with the police and attempting to obtain RUTs). Unfortunately, and despite our best efforts we were unable to obtain our RUTs (necessary to register for school, get a bank account, etc.), but we’ll be making another attempt first thing tomorrow morning. We can’t express how grateful we are to Matt’s supervisor for burning his entire day helping us with this venture; without his help it would have been near impossible. After all is said and done we’ll wrap the whole experience up in another post, and may even start a whole new page with helpful tips for those looking to come to Chile for an extended stay. You’ll need it.

On a lighter note, we finally snapped a picture of one of our neighbourhood pooches, which we are coming to love. You’ll find Blacky being fed a treat by a local Santaguina in the Pictures section. Chuck and Willie haven’t presented their photogenic sides yet, although we did pass by a napping Chuck on the way to the Metro this morning.

Until next time!


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