14th October 2015 by emmadurnford

14th October 2015

Onwards and downwards! We’re back back in Santiago just for the afternoon and night before a flight to the lake district region of Chile tomorrow morning.

We had a pick-up at 10am this morning in the pouring rain and met our guide for the journey - Bernardo. OMG - Bernardo is extremely knowledgeable about everything and anything and talked nineteen to the dozen. It was a full-on journey as we discussed topics including: British Politics and Margaret Thatcher - the ‘Iron Lady’, abortions laws, civil partnerships, the financial situation of Chile and the UK, witchcraft, Stonehenge, the Royal Family, education, the price of Coca Cola in the UK, leprechauns in Ireland, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and coal mines to name but a few. It seems that Bernardo has formed an impression about the UK based on his TV preferences of: The New Avengers, Upstairs Downstairs and the Benny Hill show.

Despite a comprehensive knowledge of UK history, his dates were a little out after Colin explained that he had used to work for the police and Bernardo was convinced he was involved in the investigations of Jack the Ripper in the 19th century. Colin was not amused - I was!! It seemed rather a long journey.

When we at last reached our hotel in Santiago, I needed a few minutes of total silence to recover from our full-on assault of the senses by Bernardo. He was a really nice person though and I have to say, I am not sure how many British tour guides would have such a comprehensive knowledge of a country other than the UK.

In the afternoon we decided to take a view of the snowcapped Andes which surround the city by walking to the San Cristobel funicular and taking a trip up into the hills. It turned out to be rather a longer walk that we had anticipated, unaided by a pretty useless map of the city and realising half way that I had left my phone back in the hotel so I could not check on our exact location or progress. When we eventually got to the funicular, the weather started to close in and by the time we had reached the top it was lashing down with rain and howling a cold gale. We took quick pics of the massive Virgin Mary statue to prove we had achieved our goal and swiftly took the funicular back down again. By now the snow capped Andes had become invisible through the cloud and rain.

Not to be defeated by the weather, after a brief pit-stop at our very luxurious hotel we went out to dinner, finding a recommended place on the 5th floor of a tower block with what should have been amazing views (if it’s not raining) an exceptionally good bottle of Chilean Malbec wine and steak. It was a good end to the day.
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