|Main plaza, Santiago|
The city is improving according to our guidebook. It's a pretty standard big non-coastal city. Big, dirty, hectic and people hassling you (dirty mainly because there is a strike by the municipal workers, yes a strike in South America, you would never believe it!).
Our hostel, Happy House, is brilliant. It's a gorgeous old converted house with high decorative ceilings, polished wood floors, a pool, massive comfortable rooms, and a pool. Did we mention they have a pool? It's located in Barrio Brazil, about 20 minutes walk from the main part of town, there are cool cafes and restaurants nearby, including an ice creamery. It's great.
We ate at a local restaurant which was recommended by the guy on reception at the hotel, it's called Varcas Gordas (the fat cow) and had the most amazing bife de chorizo and lomo steaks, with chips and salad, and wine, and cocktails. So amazing after so many weeks in Bolivia where pretty much the only option is pizza. We could hardly contain our excitement.
There is a great ice cream place around the corner from the hostel, very cheap with great ice cream and it's right across the street from a park where you can watch the local teenagers ride skateboards.
We have booked to come back to the same hostel for a couple of nights before we leave for Australia. All set.