After a long flight it went via Auckland, we stopped over there for an hour or so, stretched the legs then back on board for the last 10.5 hours.
LAN are a good airline fine, good in-house entertainment, good service and attentive staff.
George our Chimu guide was waiting for us on arrival with his Chimu sign and gave us a great rundown on Santiago on the way to the hotel. His English and knowledge is exceptional having been a tour guide for the past 30 years you can kind of understand why!?
We were transferred to the Hotel Galerias, which is nice and central, clean and spacious. The décor is nice , there is limited English spoken by staff but they are all friendly and helpful. It’s quite arty with artifacts around the common areas giving it a great South American flavour and the buffet breakfast was outstanding.
That night we went to Bocanariz in Lastarria. Lastarria is a trendy part of Santiago and well worth spending some time there indulging in the food and wine culture. Boaraniz is a wine bar where you are given wine to match your food and there is plenty of both. And both the wines and the food are excellent as is the service. It is an excellent introduction into the gourmet culture of this part of the world, highly recommended for anyone.
The next day we did a walking tour around Santiago and I’ve decided that I quite like the city, its probably best described as quaint when comparing to Buenos Aires as it really is no match but it does maintaining the European feel. It also feels safer than BA, though one should never let ones guard down no matter where they are in the world it seems no one is bothered by us and we’re not bothering anyone, a must do is to explore the food and wine culture, a stop over is definitely recommended. We finished the tour with a seafood lunch at the central market. After lunch we drove out to Valparaiso via Veramonte winery, lovely drive, good wine and time enough to explore the quaint streets of Valparaiso in the afternoon before dinner overlooking the bay at La Turri, an excellent restaurant with fantastic food, wine and views. The waiters spoke English. In fact a lot of people spoke English in Valpariaso ( in the touristy shops) so it wouldn’t bee too hard for non Spanish speakers to get about.
The hotel we stayed at Casa Higueras was awesome, and old converted mansion with 20 rooms all the rooms are slightly different and most have views, it was right in the heart of the UNESCO world heritage Cerro Alegre. Some of the rooms had balconies some without. Beautiful bathrooms. Lots of stairs but they have an elevator so its fine for people with mobility issues and the location is spot on. Im not sure Valparaiso in general should be recommended to people with mobility issues now that I think of it as the streets are very steep and you really need to get out on them to enjoy the location but you could always catch a taxi and just enjoy the views.
Breakfast at Higueras was continental, Galerias was better. We headed out to La Turri restaurant which has a spectacular view of the bay and excellent food.
Must do: have a ride in the little funiculars very cute and historic. Plus wander the streets looking at the art work and cute shops then complete your day with a sundowner on the terrace, or a swim in the pool followed by a Jacuzzi then dine in an awesome restaurant.
Written by Meg Hall
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