Santiago de Chile
Trip Start Feb 18, 2011
43Trip End Feb 17, 2012
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Where I stayed
Don Santiago Hostel
No more collectivos (the old vans and minibuses used as "public" buses in Bolivia and Peru), Santiago just opened a new bus-system which is in combination with the existing subway and innovative prepaid rfid-system very efficient.
We found a funcy little hostel for our one week's stay, which had it's own mascot guinea pig "Lucy" .(here guinea pig is not on the menu, opposed to peru, where they are handled as a delicacy)
Did you know that Bolivia once had direct sea-access?
...now you do. But what is the connection to Chile you may ask
We were told several times by bolivian and peruvian people, that Chile is not a nice place to visit and the people would have an unfriendly mentality.
We found out that the negative thinking about chile is probably based on the fact, that in the 1880's Chile invaded Bolivia and occupied the coastal-region, because of it's ressource-rich soils, cutting off the rest of Bolivia from the Pacific ocean. Peru allied with Bolivia in the war but they ended up accepting the loss of this valuable part (for the time being).
We talked to a chilenian woman who said: "Come on, they still have enough fish in lake titicaca"... which probably misses the point a little, as Bolivia was not just deprived of the pacific fish, but also the minerals, resources and the for international trading important sea-access, that can't be replaced by lake titicaca.
Altough all that is far past now, the feeling of the people remains. Trying to imagine how Bolivia's economy might have looked like otherwhise makes it also understandable for us.
But we had actually only good encounters with the locals, who treated us as nice as we were used to from the last 2 months.
Very informative (especially if you speak spanish) is the free and newly opened "Memory and human rights"-museum ("Museo de la Memoria los derechos humanos").
There they present you wellprepared material about the Pinochet-dictatorship and everything connected to that time
Most of the exhibitions are in Spanish so that we were only able to fully understand the film exhibitons with English subtitles. Still very recommendable to polish up your chilenian history-knowledge ;)
On a sunny day we got ourselves sketched by Luigi (a local painter) and went up to the "San Cristobal Hill" by cable car to enjoy the great view of the city with the snowy mountains behind. (see pictures)
There would have been so many more things to see and we wished we had more time for South Amerika, but we are also looking forward to finally understanding the language again in Oceania =)
With that we say goodbye to this colourful, exotic and culture-rich continent.
Next stop: Auckland/New Zealand