Chile Day 3: Markets, Metro, and Wine

On the third day, which was originally going to be my day trip to Valparaiso, I opted instead to spend time with my new Brazilian friends since I had visited a beach the day before and I really don't think I would have topped that experience. So, after some breakfast we headed out into the streets wandering around in search of a particular cash exchange for some of the girls to exchange money, during which we visited a nice little market and explored a library.

We then headed for a famous ice cream parlor called Emporio La Rosa which is one of the top 25 ice cream places in the world apparently.  I chose the rasberry mint flavor which was quite delicious, and cold (it was pretty warm out, although unusually cloudy).

With something sweet and cool in our bellies, we headed off to the metro to catch a train to the south of Santiago to get to the Concha y Toro vineyard tour.  We took the metro to the Las Mercedes stop at which point the locals knew exactly where we were headed and told us to go wait for a shuttle bus. We boarded the bus for 500 pesos each (about $0.80) which took us straight to the vineyard. Along the way several salesman boarded the bus to sell us snacks and candy. They have a funny trick where they pass out candy bars to anybody willing to grab one and then they go back to collect the money from anybody who opened it.

Arriving safely at our destination, we paid for our reservations and received wrist bands to enter the vineyard.  I should probably mention at this point that the tour we were on was completely in Portugues. It didn't really bother me since I had quite a few personal translators handy, and most of the dialogue could be inferred by what we were being shown anyway.  The tour was pretty nice overall. The grounds were nice to look at, there was a theatrical light show in the cellar, and the wine tasting was fantastic. Did I mention the wine was amazing?!  For $12 you get the tour, about a full glass of wine, and you get to keep the glass! Oh, and you can eat grapes off of the vine.

After the tour, and feeling a bit...hungry, we decided to grab a bite in the food court of a shopping mall outside of the metro stop before returning to downtown.  Here I encounted two very interesting things: the first was restaurant called Bob's Burgers, which apparently has no affiliation to the popular cartoon show, and a hot dog place called Doggis serving some very "different" hot dogs. I chose to go with the "terjano" and the "country" dogs.

The Terjano: Chopped tomatoes, cripsy fried onions, and BBQ sauce. Not bad!
The Country: Chopped tomatoes, guacamole, and mayonaise. Never again!

After making it back to the hostel, the Brazilians had a dinner date with one of their friends who lives in Santiago, so I decided to relax a little and just hang out there until they returned. Well, they returned about 11pm that evening, and the hostel bar closed at 11:30pm, or so I thought. After convincing a few of them to come have a drink with me on my last night, we were dismayed to find out the hostel bar closes at 11pm on Mondays! Turns out, Chileans love their weekends, so much in fact that they party so hard up until Monday morning that they need the following night off!

So what did we do? Naturally we headed out in search of some refreshments. It was difficult to find a place, and we finally ended up getting some drinks from a restaurant. Yes, you can get drinks to go from a restaurant. Weird, I know.  With drinks in tow, we headed back and said Saúde (Brazilian Portugeuse for cheers) and finished the night off right.  

As we were finishing up for the night, I made friends with an Australian sitting at the next table over. One thing led to another and I soon found myself invited out for more drinks with him and a local that just finished his shift at the hostel and was looking to socialize.  So once again, I found myself back on the streets of Santiago in search of refreshments. We settled on a sidewalk cafe serving 1 liter bottles for a few bucks each.  After some good conversation, and refusing the many offers to buy things from local panhandlers, we called it a night.  But remember how I said never again to the "country" style hot dog?

It didn't taste any better at 3am. It actually tasted much worse because it was cold. And probably because it was prepared at 3am.

My Exit Strategy

After a less than ideal night's sleep, I awaited my reserved taxi in the lobby of the hostel. I was very sad to have to leave such a fun and amazing place, but all good things must end.  I can't really say much about the departure since it was pretty normal: get to the airport, go through security, wait for the plane, board the plane, leave place you wish you didn't have to.  I will say though that the Santiago airport offers quite unique views (even when it's smoggy).

In conclusion, I had one hell of a trip! So much so that I probably haven't felt more depressed to leave a place than I did after this.  Usually I leave feeling satisfied and content with my time spent there, but I think it was the fact that I loved being there so much that made it that much harder to leave. The one thing I found solace in was my $382 round trip ticket. Yes, you heard correctly.  And with that, Adios Santiago, hasta la proxima!