I liked Santiago a lot it is a busy, friendly genuine feeling place. The large number of universities gives it a lively feel.
When first arriving there we arose from the Metro station to scenes familiar from Istanbul, protesters riot police etc but it seemed peaceful. The sheer number of police, on horses motor bikes, dirt bikes, water canon, riot vans just parked all over the city suggested the place was a bit on edge though.
After much walking I think we got a good feel for the place, not outstandingly spectacular in any one way but the complete package makes it a cool city to just be in. The views over to the high Andes on the sky line are spectacular as the pictures below show. They all show that there is not too much snow for mid winter. We have decided to go north to the Atacama desert next and hope it snows before we return south.
Although I was most impressed by the number of mountain bikers in the city, I assume the parks must have some good downhill trails. These weren’t cheap bikes Specialized Demo 8s, Giants, Santa Cruz etc.
The central markets are awesome, genuine cheap loaded to the brim markets. Devoid of tourist junk just good fruit and Veg, specacular fish, cheap clothing etc. This guy wanted his picture taken so we obliged… Tomatoes and potatoes are both native to South Smerica and the market was loaded with both. I suspect avocadoes might be too as there were literally stacks of them for next to nothing. You can just make out the Christ Statue on the hill top, the smog lends a misty look across the city from the centre.