I am planning on working and staying in Chile for a while and made the move to Santiago two weeks ago. I booked myself into a hostel, La Chimba right in the center of the city. La Chimba hostel lies in the heart of the Bellavista district surrounded by universities and small restaurants and pubs. It’s a good point to explore the city from and its located close to my new workplace.
Bellavista had me stunned with its colourful streets, its beautiful architecture and the colourful graffiti found on the walls and sides of the buildings. These colourful streets have the lushness of a tree-clad hill, the Cerro San Cristóbal, as its natural backdrop. Barrio Bellavista lies between the Mapocho River and San Cristóbal Hill. It is known as Santiago’s bohemian quarter, with new hip restaurants, boutiques, and avant-garde galleries occupying loft spaces and lordly mansions along the tree-lined streets.
No wonder it was here that Pablo Neruda, Chile’s famous Noble literate poet, decided to build his home in the capital in the 1950’s.
On my first sunny weekend in Santiago I started my exploring early and this barrio felt like a village miles away from the roaring noise of a city. It was quiet and most of the streets were deserted. Everything was still closed and the city streets only came alive around 10am.
I enjoy walking around the neighbourhood early mornings when it’s quiet, it calms me down and gives me the chance to think. I have actually moved to different countries a couple of times up until now but I found my first week here very hard. It was hard being so far away from everybody I know again. Being in a foreign country where I don’t know anybody and can’t even speak the language. I love a challenge but the first week it was a bit overwhelming.
My second week in Santiago went a bit better once I actually started work and found a fabulous place to live. Now I can actually start settling into my new home and explore Santiago and unearth all the fascinating secrets it holds.