After the last 1.5 weeks have been very turbulent and exhausting (see Shujaa getting stuck in the Laguna Llancanelo https://www.tracksaroundtheworld.de/de/laguna-lllancanello-ein-albtraum-ueber-drei-tage) we urgently need a few days of “experience free time” and drive therefore directly from the border Argentina/Chile directly to the wine-growing area of “Colchagua Valley” about 200 km south of Santiago de Chile. There we meet good friends of ours, who visit Chile for 4 weeks over the turn of the year, and enjoy a completely different lifestyle than in our previous travel: great food, tasting of excellent wines and just doing nothing. Karin is especially happy to see her longtime, very good friend again.
At the Bodega Viu Manent we have a nice overnight parking spot right on the vineyard, there is a fantastic restaurant, Karin discovers her old passion for horses and riding again and there is also good WiFi or 4G Internet (for us no longer a commodity). We talk or skype with good friends during this year end period. After four days of doing nothing and also the loading capacity for wine stocks of Shujaa being exhausted, so that we can make no further purchases, we leave for Valparaiso …. the hilly and a bit worn down port city on the Pacific.
Valparaiso is considered the most beautiful and interesting city in Chile. The view from the hills and the special atmosphere of this city spread a lot of charm. The highlight, however, is the New Year’s Eve fireworks – without having planned it, we learn coincidently that there is (supposedly) the biggest New Year’s fireworks in whole South America and more than a million people will come to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Accordingly, “party everywhere” is taking place. Since we got a parking space in a parking on the beach promenade just outside the city, we can almost see the spectacle from the front door. After our Christmas Eve location and atmosphere was more than ordinary we have fully pulled the Joker this time. The fireworks are really gigantic: There are seven fireworks taking place in parallel side by side on the entire coastline between Valparaiso and the neighbor city of Vina del Mar.
On the following day, we need to organize a parking space at the airport for our planned flight to the Easter Island (with 3.90 m height you cannot just drive into the underground car park), make a short stop at MAN in Santiago for a few little things to fix and then drive to Santiago downtown.
Santiago de Chile is a megacity with 6 million inhabitants that we should circumvent normally, but of course we also want to visit interesting cities. And what should we say – we are thrilled. We did not expect the city to be so green, so well-kept and so cosmopolitan. The cities we have seen so far in South America, including Buenos Aires, were rather “behind”. We stroll through the streets in the residential district Providencia and Las Condes, we look at the interesting people and the partly amazing mansions, make the usual sightseeing program (e.g. Plaza de Armas, Cerro Christobal) and visit excellent restaurants. The traffic in and out of the city was excellent due to modern highways and tunnels and our overnight parking at the foot of the cable car in a parking lot was free and can be absolutely recommended, because it is quiet and central. That’s the way how mega-city visits can always run from now on.