after one week without any update on our blog, there are a lot of things to tell you. After having a typical Chilean asado with my first choripan (made out of chorizo and bread, mixed with pevre, that´s the reason for the name – chorizo = sausage, pan = bread -> choripan), we took it easy the first two days of the week. We tried to adapt to the rhythm of time here and we visited the city centre of Santiago for the first time on Monday.
We began with antiquated and ramshackle buses that didn’t obey any speed limits – that’s what I expected in South America, that’s what I knew from Peru. But surprise! The train to the Estación Central was a brand new one – clean, quiet and fast – completely different to the metro in Santiago.
We walked through the government district La Moneda, passing a lot of fully armed police officers in front of every governmental building and many banks. Apart from that, we had a fantastical view down from the Cerro Santa Lucía all over Santiago to the Andes Mountains, which surround Santiago. The view was very rare because usually it is impaired by yellow, turbidly, low clouds.
The Cerro Santa Lucía was like an oasis in the middle of the fast, loud, and chaotic city. There were students and people who had their lunch break lying under the Palms on the green areas. Though instead of staying there, we decided to go to the restaurant quarter Lastarria right beside the hill, which will a topic for a new blog post with all the cafés, restaurants, and bars we found in Chile.
Furthermore, we were in the biggest and classiest mall of Santiago (Costanera Center) and at the weekly meeting of Fiana’s Rotary Club to meet all the people who Fiana met during her exchange year in Chile.
A big surprise for me was the Chilean Spanish. Although I speak a bit of Spanish and had Spanish classes for a few years, I expected to understand nothing due to the different pronunciation, the words which are used and the speed of the language. But then we went to a cinema to watch a Spanish secret agent movie without any subtitles and it wasn’t even hard to understand or to concentrate on the movie. Even at the Rotary meeting, I could talk about our journey and our plans, just as I could understand nearly everything of the other conversations even if I make some grammatical errors.
That’s the reason why it wasn’t a problem to go out for a weekend trip to the ocean with Fiana’s host family. Viña del Mar is like the classier Suburb of Valparaíso, the place where I’m sitting right now in the hostel to write this blog post. In Viña, we were at the beach (during two windy and really cold days) and in some restaurants and bars, but there’ll be later more about all the foodstuff.
Greetings from the most colourful city of Chile,