My first couple of days here have been spent wandering the streets of Santiago. Taking in the vibes of the city. Learning about the area I am staying in. It is a beautiful city, with some European feel to it.
Santiago has a funky edge to it. Barrio Bellavista is definitely a part of it. A barrio at the base of Cerro San Cristobal, it is teeming with bars, restaurants, cool shops, and graffiti-filled buildings. Some people are put off by graffiti but I think it gives the neighbourhood part of its vibrancy and coolness. Lots of young people walking about, lots of families headed to Cerro San Cristobal and the zoo.
I decided to walk up San Cristobal, as it was a beautiful day and I was told it was about an hour and a half walk. The walk did not disappoint! The views – incredible. The peacefulness of the walk. Seeing the bicyclists and hearing them grunt as they made their way up the steep slopes. It was an incredible way to go. I ended my walk at the cable car and took the cable car the rest of the way. I was proud to have made it up 2/3 of the way!! At the top – the incredible beauty.
Another part of Santiago I have walked to is the Plaza de Armas area. It is filled with people, and while there were restaurants and bars around, I found it more crowded than I wanted. Perhaps I will go back later this week, and see if it is always like that. I did go into a church I passed along the way, and as it was Sunday morning, a church service was going on. I decided to sit down, say a prayer of thanks for the incredible journey I am on, and watch the service. It was a very passionate sermon, and while I could not understand what the priest was saying, I could feel the intensity in his voice. A great way to start my time in South America.
After seeing the church service, I walked up another hill (lots of hills here!), Cerro Saint Lucia. I am presuming because it was Sunday was the reason for so many people around. Families having picnics, despite the cloudy cool day. Teenagers having some fun.
I love the feel I am getting already from South America. The language, the food (yes I have had an empanada already – first of many I am sure!!!), the vibes. Very different from China ~ I am loving Santiago!!!