Tuesday, 8 March 2016

South American Adventure

Recently I went to Santiago, Chile.

My sister lives there and I was visiting her, seeing her in February for the first time since September. After this horrendously long separation the trip was primarily to be with her (this mostly involved laughing hysterically at memes and planning sister tattoos), but it was also a marvellous view of South America. I'd never been before and it was truly a wonderful time.

Santiago is a bustling city with a population of seven million, but it's in a bowl surrounded by the Andes, so you never feel fully urbanised. It is also, surprisingly, full of trees. 

The skyline: skyscrapers mingle with old buildings (take a look at the clocktowers in the first picture), punctuated by trees and backed by the mountains.

On top of the Cerra Santa Lucia, one of Santiago's many hills. Is that a castle?!" 

Cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and glorious sunshine characterised my view of Santiago. We visited two markets, both full of jewellery, clothes and souvenirs, and both crammed with goods made from alpaca wool.

My new backpack and schoolbag. I've been told I look like a “proper gap year hippie", which obviously has always been my goal.
One day we visited the Church of San Francisco. Do you stop and appreciate church roofs, because you should.
I found that red lantern very evocative.
Seriously, though. The lines and angles within an old high-ceilinged old stone building are one of life's true pleasures.
El Museo de Bellas Artes // The Museum of Fine Arts 
Again, ceilings!

Bellas Artes wasn't the best museum I'd ever visited, but there were some quite beautiful paintings. I always love an art museum.

One day, we took a bus to the coast, to the historic city of Valpara
Valpo, as it's called, is built across over forty-five hills of differing heights. The winding jumble of houses is brightly painted, the streets and steep and crooked, and the whole place is alive with sunshine and joy.

Visiting Valpo was probably the highlight of my trip.
The Chilean Armada
The Hotel Reina Victoria (Queen Victoria Hotel)
Monumento a los Heroes
We took a boat trip out into the harbour.
It was a physical struggle not to jump into the sea.

The narrow streets are covered with tangled wire and amazing street art.

This was the art opposite our hotel. Take a moment for the mountains and rivers running along the llama's back.
Valpo had this indescribable cheer to it. 
We ate in a few beautiful tiny restaurants and cafes, such as lunch in this one. I had pineapple and mango juice (left) and I swear, it changed my life.

One of my favourite pieces of street art. I think this is hilarious.
My other favourite. Look, whales are floating in the clouds.

An art gallery that held a private Yugoslavian collection.
Notice the funicular trams used to navigate the city's hills. I really really loved Valpo.

From Valpo we went to Viña del Mar: the beach.

I'd never swam in the Pacific before.
Your classic photobombing swimmers. At some points lifeguards were directing us out of the sea because it was quite rough, with waves four metres tall!
Here we are back in Santiago, with a view of Mary de la Misercordia on the Cerra San Cristobal. Complete with bird visitors.
On the last day we visited a craft “village", selling everything from fresh fish to jewellery to a turtle in a tank.
Did you know that there are only two places in the world where lapis lazuli is mined? South Africa, and Chile. Lapis jewellery was ubiquitous, and I got this lovely irregular necklace. And, it's reversable! (The other stone is onyx.) So it almost literally goes with everything.

There was also this mad place that sold ceramics with real dried fruit and flowers glazed onto them. I got this hilarious bowl. (Apart from mugs, it is my first piece of crockery. I now feel like an adult. I'm ready to move out! (Ha. Not.))
Santiago was an absolutely beautiful city and I really loved my time there. We had a packed trip -- made possible by my amazing sister -- and I very much hope to return one day. 
Obligatory plane window shot. Goodbye, Andes.
As we flew back into Britain I had a bit of a moment of love for my sceptred isle. Chile is beautiful, but look at this. So is Glasgow.
Travel really is an amazing thing: the thrill of seeing new places, experiencing the world's marvels, and the joy of coming home again. I hope that this was the first of many South American adventures! 



  1. Wow, these are so beautiful!! Spending time with your sister must have been amazing...I can't imagine being separated from my family for that long.

    1. Thank you! It was. I hope you never have to be!

  2. You take amazing pictures, wow!

  3. Great post! These pictures are stunning - they make me want to jump on a plane right now. The angles and lines of older architecture, especially churches, are the best. :)

  4. Oh my goodness, NOW I want to go on a South American adventure!! So colourful :D

  5. *immediately packs for Chile* I've never been terribly interested in going to South America before, but this looks absolutely wonderful. The colours all look amazing and the churches and the beach and just YES!!! (And may I just say that I'm absolutely in love with that backpack? (Says the gap year hippie.) That's so amazing that you got to see your sister :)

    1. YOU MUST! IT IS! And you could get yourself your own hippie backpack to complete your gap year ;)

  6. I love traveling so much! It seems like you had a fantastic trip! The architecture in Chile is so beautiful. ^ ^


    1. I did! And it is. Gosh. I loved it <333

  7. Santiago looks so gorgeous!! Now I want to go too...
    It also looks really warm, and I'm totally jealous because here in Canada things have just started to almost not sort of be winter. The wall art is AMAZING. So are your photography skills :)

    1. It is! If you ever have the chance, do!
      Ha, it was, and same in Scotland XD I miss it ... </3
      Thanks! :)

  8. What. the. heck. YOU WENT TO SOUTH AMERICA? THAT IS MY ULTIMATE CONTINENT TO VISIT AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN THINK OF TAKING ME. Wow Emily. I thought we were closer than that.

    Anywhale, how old is your sister, and how come she's in Santiago? (also, has she got a human-sized suitcase that she'd be willing to use to ship out a fellow blogger? xD)

    I just ENGULFED this post. Literally. I went to WHSmiths today just so that I could sit on the floor and read some much-needed National Geographic Traveller mags (London really sucks right now, weather-wise), but as it turns out, I could have just come down to this here blog. But seriously Emily, these photos are absolutely magazine-worthy, I love them. If I'm honest with you, dude, if you started selling photographic prints, I'd get a few signed ones and hang them on my wall. For someone like me who loves travel blogs, this post was really great. Good job dude.

    But wow, I love that bowl. And that backpack. So much. I love little bright and exuberant things like that, you know?

    Did you get to speak any Spanish in SA? And they speak Castilian down there, right? I speak a bit myself, but do you??

    Finalllyyyyy, what camera did you use? The quality of these shots are just *imagine that emoji where it's the hand doing the "ok" position thing*



    1. Lmao sorry I went overboard with the comment xD



      She's nineteen, she studies Spanish at unay and she's in third year so she's doing a year abroad.

      I'm so glad! Those are such nice things to say, thank you :3 :3 :3 And it means so much coming from because your photography is *imagine that emoji with heart eyes, maybe three of them* !!!

      Saaame. The backpack is brightening my life day by day.

      A bit! They do not, at least not in Chile, but it is quite different from Spanish Spanish because the accent is really different and they use some different words (kinda like the diff between UK and USA English I guess). I do speak a bit so I was able to get by without making a complete fool of myself XD

      It's actually my mum's, bought in a moment of late night fervour in Singapore duty free (of course). She has no clue how to use it though so I just nab it most of the time, it's the only way to get good pics of a trip XD I don't know the model, it's a Canon though.


      And do not apologise, go overboard always!

  9. That is so cool! It's awesome that you have an older sister whom you can go visit. I happen to be the oldest. . . and I currently live at home. It's seems I'm lacking in the cool older sister department.

    I love the painting of the flying whales! I love surreal pictures like that.

    Also, all of the buildings! It's so neat that there's a lot of trees in the city. The bowl with dried fruit glazed into it is pretty interesting too. Who would've thought of something like that? It's so neat! And I like your clam photo. And your backpack. Although. . .

    I know it's probably just colloquialism to you? But a "proper hippie" puts hilarious images in my head. XD

    Oh, and (I know it's from another post, for real this time), but it must be so weird only having a few weeks of school left. That's just a really odd feeling all around. But I do hope you get to go to uni! Is that a for sure thing yet? Or still in the air? (See, there I go with my own colloquialisms. My fantasy worlds suffer.)

    1. I knooow! And my brother in Singapore whom I'm visiting next month XD They really cash in their worth, these siblings of mine XD You need to move somewhere cool (come to Britain!) for your younger siblings' delectation.

      I knooow! Same <333

      It was a gorgeous city, I miss it! And I love that bowl XD

      Of dreadlocked and slightly unwashed white people sitting around smoking weed and making daisy chains? Ha that's going to me in a few months, maybe minus the weed XD

      I know! I FEEL SO STRANGE. Right, so I *could* go to uni for sure if I wanted. I have unconditional offers (that means I don't have any grade requirements on my upcoming exams) to Glasgow, St Andrews and Edinburgh, and a conditional for Durham (they want 3 As in said exams). However, I'm still considering doing a gap year and reapplying to Oxford. So yeah, that's my dilemma at the moment!

      And same, friend, same. "It's not a big deal," Mel says. "Shut up, Mel!" I say. "You can't say that!"

  10. That's so awesome!

    I'm thinking I might have to do the living in another country thing some day. Just for the experience. Although my parents are like, "No, the world is EVIL." Which it is. Walking out my door is just as dangerous, so their arguments are pointless, also irrational since God is always with me.

    Well, I mean, my idea of "proper" and the idea of "hippie" do not correlate well. XD But yeah, I do expect you could and would do the hippie thing. It's just very you. (My brothers and dad poke fun at me that I'm a hippie, and I pretend to act annoyed. Although, I just play an acoustic guitar. And . . . wear beanies? Are beanies a hippie thing? *shrugs* I'm not always sure why they call me that. I just do what I want. *wiggles eyebrows*)

    Wow, that is a difficult decision. Can't you just do a gap year and reapply to Oxford. And if Oxford is still stubborn and can't see what they're missing, you can just go to one of the other colleges? I don't know how it is in the UK. But if you lived in the US, people would tell you (aka I am telling you), you are too smart not to attend uni. If you take a year break, just be sure to get back into the next basically.

    XD Exactly!

    1. You shouuooolllldd! (Well spelt there, Emily. Thanks, Emily. You're welcome, Emily.)

      Ohhh, OK, got it! So for me "proper" just means real, actual, very much so, but of course it has another meaning and I now understand the funny side XD I'm glad you think it's very me; it is! (Beanies are not a hippie thing, they're more of an indie/grunge thing. ~nods wisely~ You're probably more of a hipster. I DO WHAT I WANT!)

      "Can't you just do a gap year and reapply to Oxford." Ashley says, so matter-of-factly her question doesn't even have a question mark XD To be honest, I think you might be right. I went to Durham last week but I didn't feel it was The Place sooo gap year is looking increasingly likely? I am 900000% going to uni, just not sure where yet! Thank you for the support <3

  11. Aw, yes. That makes sense. (You're probably right. :) )

    What?! I FORGOT THE QUESTION MARK?! Gah! See, I went to publish this comment and was like, "Oh, I've got to proofread it first!" Me: "Seriously? I'm sure it's fine." Myself: "But, but--" Me: "Don't be an edit freak. Just publish the comment." Myself: *listens like a dummy*

    Don't settle! Besides if you do a gap year, that's time to refocus writing (I kind of did that). I'm glad you're going! And, of course. Any time. ;)

    1. Ha, silly self. Always listen to yourself. Or never? Depends which self ... (Which brings us back to the Multiple Selves and not knowing our true selves, IT'S LITERALLY EVERYWHERE!)

      Thank you! OK I'm going to send you a Unifying Email to bring together various comment threads and ask you more about these things.


Thanks for commenting! :)