Location: Santiago, Chile
Despite preferring to sleep till noon, I dragged myself out of bed for breakfast so I could go for the free walking tour for Santiago.
Breakfast at Andes Hostel was slightly better than the one in Buenos Aires. We actually had scrambled eggs. I love protein.
However, there is something foul about Santiago’s water. Drinking coffee is still ok but tea and boiled water tastes polluted.
The Santiago free walking tour starts near Plaza des Armas which is just one subway stop away. I wrapped myself up in the thickest clothes I have and walked to the gathering point.
The air was misty with the morning chill. An advertising board which shows the time and the temperature alternatively told me that it was 7 degrees Celsuis. However, thanks to the bits of sunlight, it didn’t feel as cold.
The tour started on time and involved a lot of walking. The tour guide whose name might have been Maritius brought us to different spots, to point out their historical significance.
For me, the most exciting part of the tour was seeing the snow-capped mountains not far from Santiago. It was the very first time that I’ve seen snow in real life.
It’s just as beautiful as photographs. However, I have no inclination to actually touch snow so admiring from afar will do.
On our tour, we stopped by a cafe where everyone ordered something to eat. I decided to order a Pisco Sour even though it was only about 11am. After about half a glass, I was rather tipsy.
When the tour ended in Bellavista, the guide suggested 5,000 peso as tip. I think that’s really reasonable since the tour took a very long time.
I joined two Australian girls and an English boy for lunch. We ended up in the touristy Patio Bellavista square since a recommened restaurant wasn’t open for pre-lunch coffee. I had a custard which wasn’t that fantastic.
Second hand clothes shopping
After the coffee, I brought the English boy to the second hands clothes street since he said he needed something warm. This was the first time that I’ve went shopping with a guy and it still feels really weird.
The first shop that we went to, Meicy’s, had clothes piled up on tables. The place smelled a bit of puke which made shopping not very pleasant. I found a long cardigan at the 3 for 1,000 peso bin but the shop owner refused to sell one piece of clothing for any cheaper.
We headed to another shop which had hangers. Here, I found a padded jacket with a price tag of 9,990 peso (~S$25). I tried to bargain it to 5,000 peso and was quoted 6,000 peso (~S$15). Not bad for someone not good at bargaining.
I also managed to buy a woolen hat for 1,500 peso. My sister who had been studying in Beijing where the winters are bitter had suggested that I get a hat.
Dinner and drinks
After the successful shopping trip, I headed back to the hostel. The four of us had decided to meet for dinner at the recommended restaurant at a very Chilean dinner time of 9:30pm.
I didn’t manage to take a siesta as I did a bit of blog work. I did get the chance to shower and change. I was ready with my new warm jacket at 9:00pm to walk to the restaurant.
Usually when I travel alone, I never go out after the sunsets. Luckily, the English boy “S” stayed near my hostel and we speed walked to the restaurant. With my jacket, I felt invincible.
Dinner at El Camareno was good. The restaurant walls were covered with words left by previous customers. I spent quite a long time deciphering the Spanish.
I had ceviche again and we shared a bottle of red wine. After dinner, the girls wanted to go drinking at a particular bar. Since I was at the place, I became the unofficial tour guide, leading everyone to the bar.
Before we got to the bar, we stopped by another bar. Here, I ordered a Piscola (A three-quarter glass of Pisco mixed with a 220ml can of Coke). I rather like the concoction when there’s a lot more Coke.
Being tipsy, I listened more than I talked. Everyone else seems to be downing alcohol like it was plain water. By half a glass, I was rather drunk and imagined how nice it would be to sleep in my warm domitory.
At about 2:30am, the girls decided to head to the main area. By that time, I became sober again and was leading the way. However, I brought everyone to the wrong place.
A taxi driver nearby told us that the bar was closed. (I suspect it wasn’t and he just wanted extra cash.) The girls decided to head to another bar. I tagged along as well since I did not want to walk back alone.
Thankfully, S thought the cover charge was too expensive and wanted to walk back. I was secretly overjoyed because I did not know how much longer I could stand on my feet.
The walk back from the opposite bank to the hostel was pretty fast. When I got into my dorm room, only 1 other girl wasn’t back. I slipped into my blanket and sheets and fell into a deep sleep.