We set out from Philadelphia, PA and landed on solid ground the following morning (and on my first piece of foreign soil!) at 6 AM Santiago time. The sun had just come up and as we headed off the tarmac, it was already evident we were in for a treat. The views (even from the airport) were breathtaking! Jay and I headed off in search of our Adventure Life guide Eugene - our driver, aficionado of all things Santiago, and soon-to-be friend. We found him waiting eagerly, sign in hand, chomping at the bit to take us on a tour of the city. But we were so exhausted that we headed right to the Bonaparte Hotel – a modern, yet homey hotel smack dab in the center of the charming neighborhood of Providencia to get some much needed r & r. After a bit, it was time to set out on the town for our first foray into the city of Santiago. We first headed into Bellavista – a hip neighborhood just a 20 minute walk from our hotel – and enjoyed our first Pisco Sour al fresco! After tasting this traditional South American drink made of brandy, lime juice and yes, a little egg white (trust us it’s delicious!), we understood why everyone was raving about this drink. It was just the thing to cool us down after a hot (if enjoyable) walk around the city. There were so many sights and sounds to take in, it was tough to know where to look next. But we found Cerro San Cristobal – an enormous “hill” located in the heart of Santiago, and took the funicular (cable car) up to the top to enjoy a stunning view of the city with full sun overhead. It began to dawn on us how really small we were. After a day of city exploration, and seriously aching feet, we headed back to our hotel to freshen up and enjoy a coffee on the outside terrace. Dinner that night was six blocks away at a charming outside restaurant called La Guria in Providencia. We heard a lot of good things about this place and they were all true. We enjoyed our dinner outside on a small terrace and a “muy delicioso” bottle of wine and head to bed to rest up for our next big adventure.
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