• A ‘sort of new’ continent (visited Honduras briefly ) and a continent that’s in their neighbourhood, the Southern Hemisphere provided our travellers with a pretty exciting invitation.

    First stop was getting a temperature reading on every passenger from QF27. These 2 travellers loved that attention to health and safety even though it made their prebooked taxi driver  give up all hope of ever seeing these customers getting through those exit doors! Now we all know these two don’t have a great track record with taxis but relax, they made it to their hotel, incident free.

    One thing that hits you in the eye as you drive out of the Santiago airport are the mountains that surround this city. The Andes and the Coastal Range turn this city into a basin where smog and thick air can collect. Santiago also got some ash and smoke from the Australian bushfires. Everyone here has a day a week, which is goverened by your number plates, when you aren’t allowed to drive your car for 24 hrs in a bid to combat these environmental challenges. Now we wonder if Dan Andrews could get that adopted more positively than his new purple bin!

    In November of 2019, this city was devastated by dissidents who took to the streets to protest. Our retirees have been known to protest whilst marching from Trades Hall chanting in their red T-shirt’s however these Santiago protests involved burning 34 metro stations, destroying supermarkets, smashing traffic signals and a lotta graffiti. The protests still happen but now each Friday twilight. So very thoughtful however Mr and Ms X found themselves in the middle of an impromptu one when 30 young people racing on foot charged past them as 2 police RIOT buses and 2 police support vehicles turned up. One protester got some rocks and started throwing them at the vehicle. The Chilean-SWAT team, about 20 in each bus then got out. The impromptu event soon fizzled. There’s many public buildings and monuments that are right in the centre of the city that are covered with graffiti and messages. They seem to be anti- everything including vegans!

    These images don’t paint the whole picture here in Santiago. The place is full of rich colourful street art and has areas that are pristine. The place even has its mini version of the Brazilian Christ the Redeemer, the Cerro Santa Lucia which you get to via cablecar and descend the hill via a furnicular .

    Dotted within the hills surrounding the city are areas of rich vegetation: olives, citrus fruits, avocados and grapes! A highlight of their time in the city was our travellers’ day spent with their private tour guide, Orlando who was a proud Chilean. Listening to his stories and answering all their wonderings was insightful. Stopping at his local haunts and finishing off with a visit to the Emilana Organic winery was wonderful. Hey Amy and Al, we have found the perfect spot for a wedding!!