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Peru & Chile in 11 Days – Part 15 – Walking Tour of Santiago

Posted on Sep 24, 2012 by in International, Travel | 2 comments

Our Itinerary:

Touring Santiago

It was almost anticlimactic to go from Easter Island to Santiago.

After an unforgettable 30 hours in one of the world’s most isolated places , we bid adieu to the remote and rural and headed to the efficient and cosmopolitan.   How efficient, you may ask?  Our hotel was literally across the street from the airport.  Five hundred steps from baggage claim to soft pillow top mattress and crisp clean sheets.  Mom was never happier to see an airport hotel.

Eight straight days of traipsing through six different South American cities, including locales as dramatically different as the mountains of Machu Picchu and the rugged cityscape of modern Lima, my mom’s energy was starting to wane.  Santiago, we told her, would be our last stop and a good opportunity to rest up before our trip back to the States.

Mom was skeptical.

After traveling our hectic, excursion-packed itinerary for the last 8 days, you couldn’t blame her.  In our defense, the only thing we had planned for our full day in Santiago was a morning tour in the city.  In keeping with the theme of easy and relaxed, the pick-up for the bus that would take us into downtown Santiago was even right across the street from the hotel.  Easy, peasy –  that was the plan.

Except, that sometimes there can be hiccups.

In our case, it was a late start from the hotel that precipitated taking a later bus than originally planned that ultimately resulted in a mad dash from the bus stop through the streets of downtown Santiago during morning rush hour in order to make our scheduled tour time.  Mom was right to be skeptical.

Despite arriving 10 minutes late and slightly winded, we were grateful to see that our tour group had not left without us.  Graciously acknowledging our late arrival, Marco, our friendly tour guide announced to the group that our 4-hour walking tour of Santiago was ready to commence.   Mom turned and gave me a look that very accurately conveyed that she could well be a flight risk at any given time during the four hours.

Meeting Point for our 4-Hour Walking Tour of Santiago

Thankfully Mom stayed for the entire tour.  At its conclusion, we struck out on our own with a lovely new friend, Tina, whom we met on our walking tour.  More proof that the world is smaller than we think, we learned that Tina is a fellow from that “small school on the West Coast, near the Bay Area.” (A fact that I discerned when Tina said she went to a college near the Bay Area.  My powers of perception are still strong.).  Together with Tina, we extended our walking tour with a visit to Cerro San Cristobel (via the funicular) to see the majestic Virgin Mary statue, pit stops for pasta and later ice cream at local favorites and a twilight stroll down lively pedestrian only streets to people watch.

Funicular up Cerro San Cristobal

The Virgin Mary atop Cerro San Cristobal

Santiago at Twilight

Time to Head Home

By nightfall, our weary feet were indicating that it was time to call it a day and catch the last bus back to the hotel.  Our intention to have our last day in South America be slow and relaxing fell by the wayside once we hopped on that morning bus, but a full day of walking and sightseeing ended up being a fitting way to conclude our whirlwind tour.  Consistent till the end, we set ourselves up nicely for a long, deep sleep on the plane ride back home.

On behalf of Mom and Jimmy (aka Mr. Travelbypoints), we hope you enjoyed following our travels as much as we enjoyed reminiscing about it.  It was an unforgettable time and an unforgettable trip and we will look back fondly on it for years to come (mainly to say to each other, “Did we really do ALL that??!!”).

Thanks for reading and happy travels!

 

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