In Chile, the question isn’t “East or West?” but “North or South?”

This is the topic that kept us busy after New Year’s Day. Our trip doesn’t end in Santiago, it starts in the Chilean capital. So, where next?

North of Santiago lies the Atacama Desert, the driest on earth, and many mining towns. South of Santiago is the lake district, then Patagonia. On paper, everything looks exciting but when you take a closer look like we did, things get complicated.

We’ve been to Arica (Chile’s Northernmost City) before. There isn’t much there and Feng wasn’t interested into mining towns and this endless stretch of sand. Southern Chile was a more attractive, touristic and doable option. We considered visiting the cities between Santiago and Puerto Montt, each roughly a six-hour bus ride from one another.

But there was a “but.”

Southern Chile is cold. Not as cold as Canada but cold enough, even now in summer. We checked the weather and temperatures were between 10ºC and 15ºC with wind and rain.

For a few days, we hesitated. On one hand, seeing more of Chile. On the other hand, dealing with colder temperatures without “winter” gear.

“Basically, the only place in Chile where the weather is perfect is Santiago,” I sighed. In the capital city, temperatures are around 25 °C-30ºC during the day and it cools off to around 20ºC at night. The air is dry and it rarely rains in the summer.

I remembered how cold and windy Patagonia was.

“I don’t want to be cold,” I sighed again.

“Are you going to be sad to leave Chile?” Feng asked.

“I don’t know. I mean, I like the country but I suspect I’m mostly in love with Santiago. We had a good week here but we have seven more to go. We have to move on. We’ve been everywhere. We are travellers, that’s what we do—we leave places, place we hate, places we love, and we discover new ones.”

So we looked for a way out, i.e. East because the Pacific Ocean isn’t exactly an option. From Santiago the answer was Sky Airline, a Chilean budget airline with direct flights to Buenos Aires.

From the Pacific to the Atlantic.

And just like that we spent our last Chilean pesos, packed and took the bus to the airport.

¿Y ahora qué?

Not sure yet. First, a flight across the Andes.

Doing research on Chile in the hotel room in Santiago
Powered by mote con huesillo, the local drink!
Mark taking a picture of me taking a picture of him
Writing postcards
Checking out an event on Plaza las Armas from the Pedro de Valdivia statue
Mark interpreting a city map of Santiago
Dinner in a fuente de soda (and doodling)
Grabbing lunch at the university cafeteria
Mural of Santiago
Last mote drink in the street…
Plaza las Armas at night

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  1. kiky January 8, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    Mark, I want post card tooooo!!!

    1. Zhu January 9, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      😆 These ones went to my mum and grand-mother.

  2. Jeruen January 9, 2017 at 1:41 am

    What about going north all the way to Peru?

    1. Zhu January 9, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Meh. I like Peru but I think the Macchu Picchu is closed and I’m not sure where we could have been that we haven’t been before.

  3. Martin Penwald January 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

    To be bold, going down is a fifth option if there are underground mines.

    1. Zhu January 9, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      I’d do it for gold, not copper…

      1. Martin Penwald January 9, 2017 at 6:46 pm

        I just checked, and China is now the biggest gold producer in the world.

  4. Christiane January 11, 2017 at 8:54 am

    What is mote con huesillo? What is inside of it?

    1. Zhu January 12, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      It’s sweet and inside it’s huesillo, corn-like cereal.

  5. Frenchie au Canada January 11, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Regardless of what you decide, I’ve enjoyed hearing about your trip and all that Chile has to offer 🙂
    I would love to visit Argentina some day, it’s on “my list”


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