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Arriving in Santiago and Barrio Paris-Londres

Written on: Sunday January 20th, 2008

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Santiago, Chile 

Author: Julie 


After not spending enough time in Valparaiso, we took a five hour bus to the capital city of Santiago. We would have liked to have spent a few more days to experience the great bohemian vibe of the city but alas the schedule had us moving constantly south to be able to make it to Patagonia while the weather was still good. 

Our bus pulled into the Terminal San Borja in the mid-afternoon after having travelled along the Chilean coastal range with long deserted beaches, coves, and little villages doting the way. Luckily for us, the bus station was beside a metro station and we quickly travelled to our hotel in Barrio Paris-Londres off of the Universidad de Chile metro stop. A few days earlier we had browsed a few hostel booking websites to see if there was lots of availability remaining in Santiago and saw that there were only a few web advertised places that still have private rooms available. So, we had booked a hotel in the Barrio Paris-Londres based on the photos which made it looked like an older place with antiques and a quaint feel. The photos were fairly accurate except for the place was a bit older than expected but overall we were happy with it. We were given a great two single-bed room on the 4th flour, which had a feel of privacy since we were obviously in what used to be the staff floor in the old days. The surrounding enclave lived up to its name with a 4 block radius of old colonial buildings in a French style that was very reminiscent of my previous visit to Paris. The streets were paved with cobblestones and cars were partially parked between trees and storm drains. Our hotel had a small cobbled courtyard with a couple of iron benches. 

Once we had settled, we headed out for a bite to eat somewhere. We quickly discovered that although the hotel was in a fantastic location, near all the tourist sites of the city, that it wasn?t in the area of decent restaurants. We had a choice of Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald?s. We went to the closest one and had a Big Mac for our supper. We then walked around and discovered that across the main thoroughfare of Av O?Higgins was the business district with a few pedestrian streets, more fast food restaurant, clothing stores, internet cafes, jewellers, corner stores, etc. It looked liked the downtown of any unknown city. 

The bus ride had tired us out and we crashed early with the intention of visiting as much as we could of the city the next day.