Santiago by Accident


Easter Island statue in Santiago

a little bit of Rapa Nui

joylani 130pxWe ended up going to Santiago sort of by accident.  Originally we had wanted to return to Argentina from Coyhaique, but to get to our destination, El Bolson, required taking two buses.  We had two options for this: take a bus to Sarmiento and transfer to another bus to El Bolson, or, we could take a bus headed to Puerto Montt (via Argentina as either there is no direct road heading north from Coyhaique or else the road in Argentina is much better, I’m not quite sure how it works) and then, because we would not be allowed to get off in Argentina for some unknown and stupid reason (probably involving someone potentially being able to make money off us) hop on another bus heading back in the direction we came for 4-6 hours, and then yet another bus for the final couple hours. 
this is what i am talking about

Joylani's proposed itinerary for Lake District

Well, we decided to take the second option because it was a little bit cheaper, and I think they both would end up taking about the same amount of time.  Plus we’d liked Chile so far, so if we had to go through Puerto Montt ( and the towns north) anyways, maybe one of the places would seem nice and since we were there anyways we could stay for a day or two before heading back to Argentina.  Well, our first bus crossed through El Bolson at about 5am.  Not much was happening that early, but we could see that it looked very much like a tourist-oriented place with street lined with souvenier shops and the like.  It was very beautiful, but we’d just spent the last couple weeks in very nice scenery.  We decided that it wasn’t worth it to us to come back 6+ hours to this destination as we wanted to move on and see something else.  So we continued on to Puerto Montt, and there, after weighing our options for where to cross back into Argentina, decided to head up to Santiago for a couple days, then head east and cross over into Argentina arriving in Mendoza, the heart of Argentine wine country, from where we would head north.  Santiago was not originally on our to-see list because it conflicted geographically with our plan to go to El Bolson, but also because we were tired of being in a city, specifically Buenos Aires, but we’d heard Santiago was worse.  Ironically, by the time we reached Santiago, we had been in rural and small town areas for so long that we were quite ready to be in a city somewhere.  And we found Santiago to actually be quite nice.  In contrast to Buenos Aires, the sidewalks are very wide, and there just seems to be overall more space in the downtown area.  In addition to the spacious sidewalks, there are just less people in Santiago than Buenos Aires, which also contributed to the un-crowded feeling.  Buildings seemed fresher, and overall Santiago had a cheery feel.  The park areas have nice grass and a lush assortment of trees, and plazas with plenty of benches.  I can’t really put my finger on why it was so nice, but it just was.  We walked around the city a lot, enjoyed a few parks and plazas, went to a museum, and, of course, saw the stock market.  There was a lot more that we could have seen and done, and tonight as we leave I feel satisfied that we had a good time and also knowing that there is a lot more Santiago has to offer which we could have done.


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