For week’s I’ve debated on how to sum up/write about the areas of Chile that we visited outside of Patagonia. For a country that stretches 4,300 Km in length, with climates ranging from the driest desert on earth to the third largest glacial ice field on earth, it is hard to sum it up by just visiting two regions.
While we spent nearly 2 weeks exploring some of the best sights that this wonderful country has to offer, I feel that we barely scratched the surface. What I can say is that modern Chile has a lot to be proud of: a stable government, South America’s strongest economy, friendly people, an embrace of their history, wonderful traditions, and great food…There is nothing quite like a Chilean sandwich anywhere else on earth!
I think one of the things that I like the most about Chile is the immense pride that their people have in their country. Driving down any road, there are bright Chilean flags flying outside of just about every house. While at a bar here, the native Chilean bartender was trying to one up his Argentinian coworker by crafting a perfect cocktail. I have to admit he did a good job…It was probably one of the most beautiful drinks I’ve ever drank.
As passionate as Chileans are about their country, they are passionate about religion. It is impossible to talk about the history of Chile without involving Catholicism. The biggest crowds that we saw while in the country were gathered around churches and religious monuments.
We were fortunate enough to experience Chile’s culture in the sprawling capital of Santiago and the nearby coastal city of Valparaiso. Each of these cities is unique and it is easy to tell that Santiago is the economic and political powerhouse of this part of South America.
While Santiago packs in the masses and serves as Chile’s economic & governmental capital, Valparaiso packs in the charm. Some have called it the San Francisco of South America. The great thing about this city is that it has garnered enough attention to preserve the unique buildings, but not enough attention to ruin the unique local culture. Walking down the streets in Valparaiso is like walking through a history museum turned art museum. Photographic opportunities abound around every street corner…