We had to leave Pucón early since it’s an approx. 800km drive to Santiago. Jurie, my fellow traveler from Japan, had reserved a taxi since she didn’t want to walk in the dark from our hostel back to the campsite where the others are staying and from where our truck is leaving. Unfortunately, the taxi didn’t show up and so she joined me walking.
We started driving at 7am and again had our breakfast in the truck while moving. I spent the majority of the morning sleeping while Jurie watched a movie on my iPod. Later on I looked up in the Lonely Planet what there is actually to see and do in Santiago but couldn’t find much. There seems to be no major sights and the book recommends spending your time in museums, restaurants and the streets of the city. I also read the city has a serious smog problem since it’s situated in a valley. Especially during winter time when there is less wind the air pollution will not be blown away and simply stay in the city. Therefore, Santiago was named the #9 polluted city worldwide. All in all it doesn’t sound too inviting for a three day stay.
The main activity to do in Santiago is actually to leave the city and go to Valparaíso, a city situated at the Pacific Ocean approx. 170 km to the west of Santiago. Another activity is to visit the vineyards of the region. When we arrived at the hotel right in the city center, Julie and I had a look at the different tours available and booked one for tomorrow going to both Valparaíso and to a vineyard for wine tasting.
When checking into the hotel I noticed the group dynamics again since two people refused to share a room with one or two specific other people. I don’t know what the reasons are, probably because some people snore or getting up much earlier than others. Maybe there is also a personal conflict, who knows. I don’t have a problem with anyone and don’t mind sharing a room with anybody in the group. The next two nights I will be sharing with Ann, a fellow traveler from Canada. This will be the official end of my South America trip and after two extra nights on my own in Santiago I will fly back to Germany for two days to get ready for my Central Asia trip. I also took the opportunity to say thank you to the Dragoman crew members Anki and Ross who are with me since the beginning of the trip in Manaus. Besides a monetary tip I also gave them a USB stick containing all sneaky pictures I took of them during the last weeks. I hope they will enjoy looking at them.
In the evening Jurie and I went to an Argentinean restaurant recommended to us by the manager of our hotel. We both enjoyed some good steak and a nice women type of conversation.