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Santiago de Chile

The beauty of Bellavista, Santiago de Chile.

The beauty of Bellavista, Santiago de Chile.

Our journey started in Santiago, where we stayed for quite some time, but actually did not have that much time to enjoy it properly as a tourist. We were caught up in a hunt for a car, all the bureaucracy, preparation, getting things done and so on... But we have managed to find some time now and then and to walk around and enjoy the beauty of Santiago.

 

Let's bore you with some history. It was founded by Pedro de Valdivia in 1541, because of its moderate climate and strategic location for defense. It remained a small town until the nitrate boom in the 1880s. In 1985 an earthquake shook down some of downtown's classic architecture. The earthquake in February 2010 caused compartively minimal damage.
Now it is a busy town with more taxis then in New York, more people than our whole country.

Busy streets in downtown Santiago.

Busy streets in downtown Santiago.

Busy, but that does not stop people from living. :)

Busy, but that does not stop people from living. :)

The traffic is heavy, too - with around 200k new cars each year, you can imagine it... 

The traffic is heavy, too - with around 200k new cars each year, you can imagine it... 

What first amazes you is the spectacular view at Andes, which we admired from our apartment and from the city.
 

The Andes keep peeking out in-between the buildings. 

The Andes keep peeking out in-between the buildings. 

The center of the city is easy to walk around, all interesting parts are close to each other. There area around Plaza de Armas and Barrio Bellas Artes is a pedestrian zone, full of small shops and old historic buildings. And some occasional cars.

Plaza de Armas, the main square, btw all main squares in Chile are named Plaza de Armas, is full of tall palm trees and flowers. It is a busy place where people (and dogs) like to hang out around :). In the middle there is a fountain with Simón Bolívar. On one side there is a Catedral Metropolitana, neoclassical building from 18th century.

Catedral Metropolitana

Catedral Metropolitana

Want to play some chess? Plaza de Armas is the right place for you then :)

Want to play some chess? Plaza de Armas is the right place for you then :)

You can enjoy the contrasts of the city.

You can enjoy the contrasts of the city.

And then enjoy some local street food - this is Italiano, hot dog with tomato, avocado and mayo - together they make the colours of Italian flag.

And then enjoy some local street food - this is Italiano, hot dog with tomato, avocado and mayo - together they make the colours of Italian flag.

If you are really hungry and brave, you can try Chorrillana - but order the smallest possible. This is chico - small :)

If you are really hungry and brave, you can try Chorrillana - but order the smallest possible. This is chico - small :)

We really enjoyed Barrio Lastarria full of restaurants and coffee shops, where we finally found some truly wonderful coffee :)

It was surprisingly hard to find good coffee in Santiago. If you are coffee-holic, look no further and just go here.

It was surprisingly hard to find good coffee in Santiago. If you are coffee-holic, look no further and just go here.

Barrio Lastaria.

Barrio Lastaria.

Street art peeking from the buildings around you.

Street art peeking from the buildings around you.

(In B. Lastarria) There is also Cerro Santa Lucia, hill with a tower with a great view on the city. During the history it was once a hermitage, convent or a military bastion. At the southwest corner is the Terraza Neptuno with fountains and curving staircases that lead to the summit.

Gardens and guardians in Cerro Santa Lucia. 

Gardens and guardians in Cerro Santa Lucia. 

View from the top. It was a surprisingly calm place, good for relax.

View from the top. It was a surprisingly calm place, good for relax.

If only you like heights. :) 

If only you like heights. :) 

Wedding_Travellers_Destination_Wedding_Photography-62.jpg

But we couldn't leave without visiting Bellavista first. This part of the city, known for its nightlife, colorful streets, cobbled squares and graffiti is a must-see. We were walking for hours and we always found something new and interesting.

Bellavista - barrio full of art.

Bellavista - barrio full of art.

Bellavista.

Bellavista.

Bellavista.

Bellavista.

Bellavista. For a photographer, it's a must.

Bellavista. For a photographer, it's a must.

Our favourite sign. :)

Our favourite sign. :)

Moving from Bellavista, we had a nice walk along the river Mapocho in Parque Forestal, where we arrived just in time to see (the beginning of) festival of Turkish culture. 

The park was full of people dressed in very vibrant colours :)

The park was full of people dressed in very vibrant colours :)

Some of them stretching their backs from sitting too long in front of a computer (yes, I know it's yoga).

Some of them stretching their backs from sitting too long in front of a computer (yes, I know it's yoga).

The contrasts. Btw, the Costanera (left) is the highest building on the continent.

The contrasts. Btw, the Costanera (left) is the highest building on the continent.

All around Santiago, you can find street artists earning their living on busy streets.

All around Santiago, you can find street artists earning their living on busy streets.

Streets of Santiago.

Streets of Santiago.

Evening in Santiago de Chile.

Evening in Santiago de Chile.

To sum it up - it is a very busy city, full of contrasts: immense shopping centers like Costanera vs small specialized shops, shoe-cleaners on the street vs ferrari driver in Chicureo, historic vs modern buildings, mad bus/taxi drivers vs polite and helpful people all around us, that made our stay unforgettable.

Thank you for having us, Santiago.