Well, the reason is simple, I simply couldn’t get there as there were no flights available to Santiago from Rapanui around the dates I had booked my hotel. So I ended up having to go back to Papeete!
I was not bitter at all as it enabled me to enjoy the beauty of New Caledonia although it made my round-trip sort of zigzaggy to say the least…
So the first opportunity I had to finally visit Santiago materialised in February 2019 and this time, contrary to my other specific trips, I was not solo anymore.
When you’re a seasoned solo traveller, visiting any place as a couple is a totally different experience. It goes without saying that it’s a relief to have someone on your side and not have to always be careful as when you’re a single woman.
It also makes meeting people sort of more difficult. People obviously don’t intrude on couples. I don’t experience commiseration towards me which from prompts them to usually start a conversation.￼
Although it’s an insult to Chile to visit it the way we did in 10 days, I had this urge to visit this country and I’m extremely glad we did it because now I know exactly where I want to go back.
The day I’ve booked my ticket, I met my brother in Paris and told him what I had just done and he was amazed because that’s exactly the same day that his son, my nephew Robin, had signed a contract to work for a year in Chile!
So we cancelled our hotel in Santiago in exchange for the residential never registered tha so we cancelled our hotel in Santiago in exchange for the residential Nueva Providencia and enjoyed 25-year-old company which proved extremely fun and cheerful!
My reasons for visiting Chile were multiple. Yet the very first one was to get to know Valparaiso which had been a dream since my early childhood. It proved to be even better then my wildest dream and I absolutely fell in love with this wine and maritime surrounding.
My second reason was my love for deserts and my longing to discover the Atacama one famous for not having had a drop of rain in centuries…Turns out that two weeks before we arrive to Chile was the second flood in Atacama’s recent history and we were even afraid we might have to cancel our trip as many tourists were prevented from attending that part of the trip due to the instable situation. Yet we were very lucky and managed to see some of the most extraordinary sides although some of them were closed.
Some of the landscape, probably because of the volcanic nature of Chile, reminded me of my Icelandic experience. But it was an exquisite sight and obviously much warmer climate!
Next leg of the trip was closer to Iceland in terms of weather as we only had a pre-taste of Punta Arenas and Magallanes Area which we promised to visit more thoroughly next time as it is quite unfair to spend on the two days in this incredible end of the world!
As for Santiago? Well it is just pretty much like any Latin American capital such as Quito, Lima or Bogota… that is not to say these cities are identical, of course not! What I mean is that you have the same feeling of colonial architecture, Jesuit churches, a certain attitude in life, enjoyment and pleasant way of life as well as a mix of poverty and wealth without much of a middle-class… of course the Palacio de la Moneda and the cruel fate of Salvatore Allende are pretty much in our minds no matter how much we wish Chile to turn the page.
As for the people, I have to admit that of all the Latin American countries I have visited, Chileans proved the coldest and least service oriented. Going to a restaurant is an ordeal as service is extremely slow, and usually you don’t get what you ordered. Guides were appallingly hopeless too.
My worst experience was important to arenas wearing a young Guide kept calling us “chiquillos” and had only one term in his vocabulary: “famosísimo“. We even had an engine on fire and a 2 hours excursion becoming 5 hours due to total disorganisation
This might have something to do with the fact that for a number of years tourists didn’t flock to that part of the world …or that we were unlucky! What I know for sure is that this was not what I experienced on Easter Island but let’s remember it is 4000 miles away.