I must have packed and re-packed 3 times until I was able to prepare for all of my weird needs for the day — hot weather “walking around own” to easy check-in at the airport to “muy frio” when I land in Toronto. Once completed, I checked my luggage at the office to the apart-hotel and headed out to see a bit of Santiago “on my own.”
Since I wanted to see as much as possible, I opted for the Turist Bus tour — a 30 minute walk from my hotel to the Parque Arauco — an upscale mall. The attendants were very friendly and helpful — talking to me until the bus arrived. Unlike of other “hop on, hop off” bus tours, this one was only in 2 languages — Spanish and English. I was glad that someone else we navigating this bus — traffic and unexpected road closures made it interesting. The 9 stops were perfect, though — right where you would want to stop to see the highlights of this very large and busy city. Like many other cities, Santiago is made up of different neighborhoods — each with a different tale. An interesting on is the Providencia area which got the name from the sisters of Divine Providence who arrived in Santiago in 1853. These women were originally from Canada heading for Oregon. When they got there, there was a flood and they did not have anyway to get back to Canada. A Chilean ship’s captain volunteered to take them to Santiago and they setup a mission there.
I also loved the Santa Lucia area and Bellavista — which reminded me a little of the Boca area in Buenos Aires.
After touring around, I headed to a little park near my hotel to just take it easy in the heat — they way everyone seems to do. Then, it was on my way to the airport. Once we got the original check-in, the security area was a breeze — in that there was no long line and everything was smoothly handled. I found a little bar next to my gate and had my last Pisco Sour (YUM). a couple of my trivia friends saw me and shouted “Dancing Queen!” I guess I have a reputation! They were on their way home as well. The flight was nicely uneventful (although the food was worse than usual) and I arrived in TO at 6:25 AM. As I was in line at Canadian Immigration, I found myself behind the same couple I was in line with in Argentina! Everything comes around to the beginning …
Happy to be home — but what a fabulous adventure — definitely the trip of a lifetime!