Chile Day 5: Celebrating a Birthday in Santiago

Wednesday was our last day in Chile and it was also R's birthday! I woke him up at 2 am (the time he was born), to sing Happy Birthday. He told me to shut up and go back to sleep. Rude. 

When we woke up later that morning, I did a quick workout in the gym and then we had a leisurely breakfast. I already miss the fresh strawberry juice, buffet of fresh fruit, perfectly cooked eggs, and giant bowl of warm manjar (caramel) to drizzle on my toast! I went a little crazy with the manjar because it was the last day.

We took some time to pack up and check out, leaving our suitcases with the hotel for the day. Our first stop was the local craft market just a couple blocks down from our hotel for some souvenirs. We took our time wandering the market. There were a lot of alpaca products, from socks, to sweaters, to hats. There were also a lot of metal crafts, from earrings, to decorative plates, to wall plaques. I dragged poor R to look at a million pairs of earrings that basically all looked the same and agonized over which to buy. I finally just bought myself both pairs that I really liked, one is a pair of pounded silver and the other is turquoise tear drops. The prices were good, the merchants friendly but not overly pushy, and we felt safe.

Next stop was the Mercado Central, the giant fish market. We saw row after row of every kind of fresh seafood imaginable. The merchants here however were very aggressive and the  smell of fresh seafood got a little overwhelming.

So we headed to San Cristobel, the biggest hill in the city that has a funicular that takes you to the top. The funicular was a bit ghetto, so I had visions of us crashing down to our death.

The smog was pretty thick, but it was still a nice view. We had a good time seeing what landmarks we could now recognize.

Then we hiked up the final portion to the giant statue of Mary at the top. My calves are still feeling that glacier hike, and I was glad we hadn't hiked the whole hill.

After an equally scary funicular ride down the hill it was lunch time. We were near the Bellavista neighboorhood, so we decided to make one last stop at Viva la Vida. On one hand it seemed silly to go to the same place 3 times, but on the other hand no other place looked as a good and had such a nice atmosphere.

We had a leisurely lunch in the sun, sharing one last terremoto (but a small one today!) I had a hake sandwich  the fish was very lightly fried and so moist and tender. It came on a fresh baguette with a salsa of tomatoes and onion. There was so much fish that I had to give up on the baguette in order to finish. R had salmon and cheese on homemade focaccia with pesto. He said it was also amazing. 

We wandered back to the hotel and spent our last hour just sitting in the park, enjoying the sun and sharing a Mendocino, which is 2 shortbread cookies filled with caramel and covered in chocolate. Heaven in a cookie.  

Birthday boy in his new hat

And then it was time to head to the airport :( The trip home was long, but uneventful, and we were not pleased to see snow at home upon our arrival. Please bring me back to the warm sunny days in Chile.