Santiago de Chile: A nice city after all…

Before going to Santiago de Chile, a lot of people told us “Ah, you’ll see, it’s nothing there. Just a big business center!” or “Santiago? Oh no! Don’t stay there longer than a day! It’s horrible!”. Even our guidebook made us believe that Santiago was not worth the effort saying that “you shouldn’t spend too much time here” or “Santiago shouldn’t be the highlight of your stay in Chile”.

But we actually proved all those people and the guidebook are wrong: we think Santiago is worth the detour. You just have to do the effort to go out and find the nice places and neighbourhoods and you will find out that Santiago actually has quite a lot to offer. :-)

First of all it has the most interesting museum on Precolumbian art (no, it’s not the art from before Colombia (as Vera thought) but the art from before the discovery of South-America by Christopher Columbus…). The museum is extremely well done and boasts some real archaeological treasures including ancient pottery and some mummies about 8000 years old (yes, that’s much older than the mummies in Egypt indeed!). It definitely was a good start for the exploration of Chile, as it made us understand some of the “basics” in Chilean ancient history which would help us on our travels north.

We had the luck to find a company called “La Bicicleta Verde” which made us discover Santiago in a less standard way: by bicycle! We did two tours with them, one more political and economic (which wasn’t a bad idea as we learned about more recent Chilean history) and a, let’s call it “sociological tour” in which we cruised through the Bohemian neighbourhood (awed at the real artwork on some houses) where Pablo Neruda had one of his houses, and then visited different markets, including the biggest one in Chile: Feria La Vega.

Pablo Neruda Street artist at the Plaza de Armas

Santiago street Cat for sale!

We also learned about an important social phenomenon in Santiago, which is called “Café con Piernas” and freely translated as “Coffee with Legs”. No your coffee is not served in a cup on micro-legs running all over the place… ;-) Café con Piernas are coffee houses where the coffee is served by scarcely dressed girls. It’s a bit a macho thing, because it’s especially popular with businessmen getting their morning coffee served, but it’s highly popular and definitely a thing to do when we will get back to Chile one day, as, to Jean-Christophe’s OUTMOST regret, we didn’t have time to fit this into our stay. ;-)

Vera & Jean-Christophe


  1. Posted July 7, 2008 at 12:42 | Permalink

    You guys are the greatest! See you in BA. Make sure you send me an email if you want tips for BA food, tango, bicycles, etc.

  2. Joao Ventura
    Posted July 8, 2008 at 15:15 | Permalink

    We can always try the ‘Café con Piernas’ when we go skiing to Portillo one of these European Summers :)


    PS: When you know it, send me the details of your flight to Madrid (company, flight number and ETA), please…

  3. Peter
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 17:09 | Permalink

    hey guys,
    you are up on our webpage now.

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  1. By Santiago de Chile: A nice city after all? on September 1, 2008 at 22:00

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