I didn't know exactly what we were in for, or any of the people I was going with - all I knew was that we were going to be covering basically the entire country in 10 days. From city life, to the northern desert and then all the way down to Patagonia. Check out the map of our adventures here!
Being someone who just kinda goes with the flow, I packed my bags and hopped on a plane!
After one of the most comfortable international flights on LAN (and more in-flight movies than I care to admit), I landed bright and early in Santiago.
I met up with 2 of my 3 new travel buddies, Jamie and Kevin from Ann Street Studio! In case you don't know about them, you can find out all about them right here on their site. And if you're a stalker like me, you'll spend about 6 hours looking at basically every photo they've ever published. Once we rendezvoused, we were on our way the The Aubrey Hotel, a fabulously fun boutique hotel in the Bellavista district of Santiago!
The Aubrey is a posh boutique hotel! With only 15 rooms, each one is decorated with it's own personality! I was up on the top floor in this super cute loft overlooking the pool.
After refueling with some particularly excellent scrambled eggs, we rested up and got ready to hit the town for a little tour!
We headed out with Chris, a super knowledgable tour guide, from Santiago Adventures. If you ever find yourself in Santiago and the surrounding area - call Chris. He was a wealth of information and should probably go on Jeopardy because that guy knows just about everything about anything.
We started the day off at one of Pablo Neruda's homes just a few blocks away from our hotel. While we weren't allowed any photos inside, it's safe to say that this is a perfect way to start off any expedition through Santiago! Plus Pablo (we're totally on a first name basis) had 2 bars in his house. I'm fairly certain him and I would get along just perfectly.
Post-Pablo, we wandered the streets of Santiago on a walking tour. We wound our way through different districts, checking out the architecture, culture, city life and people.
After working up quite the appetite, we wandered into Bocanáriz Vino Bar where they had over 300 kinds of wine! It was at the moment that I knew Chile and I were going to get along just fine!
We kicked things off with a round of sparkling rosé and got down to business.
I didn't really know what to expect from the food in Chile - but I was 100% impressed. We feasted like royalty each day - and this lunch (complete with a full wine tasting) was the perfect way to kick things off.
We nibbled on oysters, salmon candies, lamb pops, salmon tartare, tuna tataki, and so much more! Those were the stand out dishes for sure - I'd order that salmon tartare about 4 times a day if I could. It was lovely.
That night we dined at Europeo and had an incredible 7 course meal that was complete with lots of wine, more bubbly and the most delectable braised short rib I've ever had in my entire life. Dessert consisted of chocolate with quinoa! Say whaaaaat. Mind blown. I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the trip.
Plus Chef Francisco Mandiola, aka the best chef of the year in South America, came out after the meal to say hello and tell us a bit about his inspiration behind some of the dishes!
We packed up the next morning and hit the road! Dodging some serious traffic on the way, we kicked off the morning at the local market, Vega Central! I was in heaven! It was basically the biggest market I've ever seen and I could have spent hours walking around just gazing at all the beautiful produce.
Next up... wine country and Valparaiso!