! So after dumping our stuff, to the nearest bar we head. It was quite quiet as early for chile, only about 830pm, was quite strange too cos we ordered a heineken and actually enjoyed it, shows how little flavour the local stuff has! IŽd spotted a couple of restaurants i fancied on the way in, one a thai and the other a meat place, both looked expensive but chile is so ames decided on the meat one! Ordered a platter of meats to share and a couple of glasses of red, platter was out of this world, two steaks, two chops, two breasts and 4 lamb chops, served with mixed sauteed veg all cooked to profection. We hadnt even noticed the time when discovered people were still coming in to eat at 11pm. Thats how late chile gets going!!! Then it was time for bed!
The following day we decided weŽd explore the city. Didnt get up very early, so after a late breakfast went to check out a park we`d seen on the way in in santa lucia. We were amazed at how good and simple the Santiago metro was, without doubt the cleanest we`d ever experienced. The park was built on a hill on site of old convent and bastilion, both past there uses now. The entrance was into this romanesque style courtyard with great sweeping staircases leading up to a huge fountain based around neptune. All very grand! At the top of another flight of sweeping stairs we reached the bastilion, great brick battlements from which u had awesome views out across the city. the perfect moment for an ice cream! Or so i thought! And seeing as we reckoned for the first time in ages ice cream was actually safe to eat amy agreed! Once our tummys were satisfied we climbed the slopes to the convent and the top of the hill where the panaramic views out across the city were amazing. Then slowly descended down winding paths to find somewhere for lunch, there were so many european style cafes with chairs out on the street it was gonna be hard to find somewhere for lunch
. In fact we walked past all of them so went to the nearest one. Turned out to be a funky french cafe with loads of old things around, kinda like a new york deli but french style. The food was amazing, we had sarnies, me salmon and cheese, ames steak. Both were enormous and lovely and juicy coming with tiny french fries. We chilled until evening and then headed back to the same bar for more heineken. Today we were going to the thai place, we both love it and it isnt often avaliable out here. It was a little quiet but loads of reservations so we knew it was gonna be good. It was out of this world..... red thai curry, a perfect balance of ginger, lemon grass and spice. And the sweet and sour pork was just lushious! The wine and food were so good we were easily tempted to stay and share a choccy mousse for desert.
The next day we were up early as we were treating ourselves, yes more than normal! We were going to go to a winery, a bit of indulgence but one of those things you gotta do. It was a long way outta town on the metro and then we had to get a cab to the winery. we were just in time as a english tour was leaving in 15 mins, so after a quick explore of the wine shop we were off. First a bit about the concha y toro winery and its history and then on to the original home of the founder, an amazing colonial style house with picturesque english garden. Then on to the vineyard where all the vinews were thinned out and looking very tidy in there rows
. each row with a rose bush at the end to warn of mildue. We learnt that each plant was trimmed as it was for they better wines and that the company used helicopters to ward off frost. Then the fun started, the tasting, a rare grape variety only avaliable in chile. carmeniere i think it was, very tasty like a merlot. Funny as i (ames) dont even like Merlot, but i love this. We had to do it all properly too....look, smell...taste! It is a torturous way of doing it cause you have to wait to drink it, but its worth it! We took our wine with us and went to see the cellars.....the haunted cellars....where we met the devil! The cellars were all so clean and immaculate...very different from our visit to the Jack Daniels place!! We were told the story of the cellars and how in order to stop people nicking his wine...he invented the story of the devil haunting his cellar...and it worked! Hence the association with the devil and the company Concha y Toro. It was all really cool and really well set up! The came the highlight of our tour. We got to taste the most amazing wine.....wine we never dreamed we would taste! It was one of their best wines......apparantly the fourth best wine in the world - named Don Melchor! Only sells at 35 to 50 pounds a bottle! Damn was it good. So smooth....and rich.....you really can taste the difference with good wines.....mmmm.....We savoured our small glass of amzing wine, and then our tour was done! Well almost we all went to the wine bar....where most people left.....but oh no not us
! Neil decided that as we hadnt tried any white wine and i like white wine so much, we should sample some.....so naturally we tried the most expensive glass we could find!!! Amelia......mmmmm......so so nice. I could get used to this fine wine lark. My fav wine was always Jacobs Creek chardonnay.....but now i have a new fav! At only $25 a bottle im sure ill be able to enjoy it loads!! But damn was it good....oh its nice to be spolied!
Our tour done...we headed back to town.....where we went to Macdonalds for lunch!! How stupid is that.....expensive wine and Macdonalds! But hey we had to save money somehow...till the next bottle of wine anyway! Anyway i like Macdonalds once in a while!Spent some time updating the blog, in the really excellent internet cafes they have here, which have little booths, which neil calls Wank Booths!!! They are really private places....with loads of space...its odd!!! Anyway that done we headed back to the hostel...and then went to our fav place across the road for the usual pint of Heineken. Were all retards serving us and the place was dead as it was Saturday and for some reason, noone goes out till about 11pm here in Chile!! Then we headed to find a restaurant, most of them were shut and i knew where Neil wanted to go, so after wandering around the block we ended up in the french style place..for more excellent meat! This time we had our own dishes....i had amazing pork chops with Cointreau and he had amazing lamb
! Was sooo good, oh and more wine of course! We went to bed very satidfied again....its a hard life!
The next day was the day we were due to leave....only problem was we werent due to leave till evening. So we decided to go exploring. We decided to go and find a modern shopping mall, where there was supposed to be a LAN airlines office...as we needed to find out about flighs across Chile. We checked the directions and headed off on the underground. No problems...as the underground is so good....but then when we got off the undergeround we had a bit of a problem!! We couldnt remember the name of the shopping centre and had no idea which direction we were supposed to get a bus! Ooops. We used our brains tho and went across the road to the internet cafe, where we got the adress and jumped in a taxi!! ASee easy when you know how!!
The shopping centre was cool, very modern, with a lovely outdoor area full of cafes and stuff. We hadnt had breaky so first off we headed for Starbucks....yes Starbucks...cool eh?
After good coffee for once...we headed into the centre,....were loads of cool shops which was torture for me, as i couldnt buy anything. Couldnt find the few bits we wanted tho, like spare torch bulbs and bikinis! (no thats just wishful thinking on my part - man do i miss shopping....im a woman for god sakes!) Tried to find out about flights in LAN airlines office but the woman was a retard and didnt seem to understand what we wanted
. So we gave up and went in search of lunch instead. Most of it was expensive, so we ended up in the food court, where when we worked out how the hell to order it, had a huge plate of chinese for a very good price!! That done we decided it was time to head back to the hostal, got a taxi back, couldnt be bothered to work out the buses! Tried to find some internet when we got back but everything was shut...it being Sunday and all that. So gave up, walked back to hostal and decided to try and find somewhere for a drink. Ended up in cool little courtyard place with shops and cafes....were we ended up in a groovy little place, enjoying microbrew and wings and fries...mmmm....then it was unfortunately time for our bus. After playing a little yahtzee, where i managed to lose the dice down a crack in the floor boards....only i could manage that....we headed off for the bus to Pucon!
In front of us lay the longest bus journey of our travels yet...........24 hours of joyeous arse sitting!! Which wouldnt have been so bad if it hadnt been for the chilean bus drivers complete lack of understanding about air conditioning! You see in chile on a bus the air con works in two ways. It either chills the bus till you get those little icicles hanging off your nose or warms it till said icicles drip off burning a hole in your shirt and stinging you leaving behind a burning boil!! The night passed quite easily, once provided with a blanket the seats were quite comfy so we slept well. The following day had the normal annoyances of too much junk food, too much being cooped up, and not enough amazing scenery. I mean it was good just nothing special and by now weŽve pretty much seen it all. Finally we arrived in Santiago not having a clue where we were, all we knew was the bus staion was just fine, best weŽd seen this trip so hopefully a sign of good things to come! We got a taxi to the hostel and found the bed weŽd booked tho expensive was very nice, surrounded by very nice restaurants and bars, a real treat