March 15, 2016

The Essential Santiago, Chile

Chance pointed me in the direction of rediscovery this month. The rediscovery of travel, taking a leap of faith and running under the bliss of South American sunshine.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Santiago, Chile to dive a little deeper into my love for running and travelling. The entire adventure was captured for a project that I'll share as soon as I can.

This trip to South America marked number six of the seven continents for me. Somehow, someway I need to get to Antarctica next.

Unlike any travel I’ve experienced in the past, the entire journey was documented from start to finish.­­ It was humbling and empowering at the same time. More importantly, it provided me with the space to explore my passions and see more of the world with the intention of inspiring others.

I found out about this amazing opportunity one week before leaving, my general lack of preparedness was a new feeling for me. Like running and training, we can’t prepare for everything. And more often than not, the greatest things in life often come unbidden.

Truth be told, Santiago was everything I expected it would be.

Words for Perspective

“When the last breath comes, at least I will know I was thankful
for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be.

All those places I made it to,
all the loves I held, all the words I wrote.

And even if it is just for one moment,
I will be exactly where I am supposed to be.”

A Wild Ride

My journey began in Vancouver with a short stop in Toronto on route to Santiago. I had the privilege of travelling with a small crew of thoughtful creative individuals.

We arrived to experience the last days of summer in this vibrant, bohemian and quirky capital city. The kind of days where an entire city spends every opportunity soaking up the warm weather and living in the moment, aiming to press pause on the cooler months ahead.

Santiago Delights

Most evenings in the city end with a pisco sour, a delicious Chilean cocktail similar to margaritas but with pisco, a grape-based brandy, instead of tequila. A must drink.

Street art is a huge part of the art culture in Santiago. Graffiti is a common fixture on just about any building. Oh, how I love street art.

The Cementerio General de Santiago is one of the largest cemeteries in Latin America with an estimated two million burials. This place is massive and beautiful.

The Luciano K is a boutique hotel with a blend of period and art deco design located next to Parque Forestal. The service was outstanding, and the building is pink.

Santiago is a city of unexpected contrasts. It's a wonderful place for strolling, and the subway system is equally impressive.

Notable Stops

San Cristóbal, 
my daily running route in the city. The road up the mountain is closed to cars in the morning and evening so you can enjoy the climb without worrying about any wild traffic coming around the tight corners. The view at the top is worth the effort. When the cloud and haze cover clears, the Andes loom in the background, a surreal contrast to the skyscrapers and bustling city below.

Mercado Central, the fish market.

La Vega, the fruit and vegetable market.

Santa Lucía Hill, go for the view and peaceful quiet moments you'll discover waiting for you high above the city streets.

Notable Neighbourhoods

Brasil, for a dose of old style architecture and street art.

Lastarria, for the foodies. Lining the streets are outdoor book vendors, coffee shops and restaurants offering cuisine from various cultures.

Bellavista, with colourful houses and street cafes, this area is best-known as a hangout for students and the home of the poet Pablo Neruda (not to be missed). Once the sun sets, Bellavista becomes party central with wild bars, clubs and restaurants.

Running the Andes

Though my visit was far too quick (and I had only a tiny taste of Chile), the highlight was driving up to the Andes to run in the mountains. No words to describe how breathtaking (literally) this experience was. 

Lesson learned, when opportunity comes knocking, say yes to every possible new adventure.

The world is incredible. Get out there to see it. 

“It was at that age that poetry came in search of me.” - Pablo Neruda