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Santiago, Chile

After a long day of flying from Montana, we arrived in Santiago, Chile early in the morning. We met our driver after disembarking the plane and had a short drive to the newer downtown area. Our driver pointed out some points of interest along the way, which was helpful because we were able to explore several of them later. Although our check-in time for our hotel was not until the afternoon, the staff of Hotel Ladera was happy to store our luggage for us so we could go explore without lugging it around with us. After adjusting to being on the ground and outside of an airport for a few minutes, we started our exploration of the city.

We weren't really in the mood to take more forms of transportation to get around after a long day of travel. Luckily, our hotel was VERY close to so many interesting areas. So, as we started to walk around the area our first stop was a cool sculpture park just a couple blocks from the hotel. There were a lot of really cool and varied sculptures in this park. This park, along with many others were located on either side of the river that runs through the city. Although at this time of year, there wasn't much of a river to see. There was a lot of really impressive street art on the walls where the river would have been though. For some, that may be a detractor, but this really was impressive stuff, and the area as a whole was much cleaner than I had expected. I would say even cleaner than many of the parks and downtown areas of many cities I've been to in the US.

After walking through some of the parks, we headed towards a large tower named Gran Torre Santiago, which our driver had pointed out to us. Inside were a lot of different shops and a food court. Most of the shops were higher end brand-specific shops. After walking around in the tower for a bit we headed back to our hotel to grab a bite to eat in the attached restaurant. Once our meal was over, we still had another hour or two before we could check into our room.

Another short walk lead us to Parquemet Parque Metropolitano de Santiago. A large urban park area located on a small mountain near our hotel. You can either ascend by foot, bicycle, funicular, or cable car. We opted for the cable car as the station was closest to our hotel and it was very inexpensive. Having reached the top stop, we got out and checked out a historic church and statue of Saint Mary at the peak. We took the cable car back halfway down the mountain and decided to walk the rest of the way to check things out on the way down. The majority of our walk down the mountain took us through a large botanical garden area which represented flora from different parts of the country.

Back at the hotel, it was time to check in. So we got settled in our room, cleaned ourselves up, and after getting some rest, headed out to grab some dinner. We walked back near the tower we had explored earlier and picked a restaurant with an outdoor patio to eat at. The food and wine were both great, and extremely reasonably priced. We thought that the wine prices were for a glass, but they were for a bottle, which surprised us. Afterwards we headed back to hotel to get some well deserved rest after a long day of travel and exploration.

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