Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Cooking Days
Only on our second day in Santiago, we met our host, Paul Beelen (, for just a few minutes before he ran to work. First thing on the morning, we went to buy groceries for the whole week we planned to spend in Santiago. We came back with 30 kg of food, mainly fruit and vegetables which were very cheap. We spent the rest of the day with 2 other CouchSurfers, Daniel from Mexico and Antoine from France, who are planning to sell original educational toys made in Mexico to rich Europeans. They have a side volunteering project of documenting big cities all over South America ( For lunch we cooked spaghetti with a light sauce of spinach and peanuts.


For dinner, we baked bread (graded "excellent" by the French), and made salads: pumpkin Chutney, dried tomatoes paste, Humus, Peas paste, Aji Pebre and a rich pasta salad. For desert we had Chinese fried bananas.


The following day Paul returned very early from work as he was feeling sick. We decided to make him chicken less Jewish chicken soup with Kneidalach and a vegan apple cake. During dinner we discussed the laziness of Chileans, and their inability to save money voluntarily. Paul had a nice anecdote regarding this subject: A friend of his offered a new payment system to a group of construction workers. He gave huge bonuses to the employees who worked harder. Indeed they worked much more for the first 2 weeks. But after getting a doubled salary for these 2 weeks, no one showed up for the next 2 weeks, as they already earned the usual monthly payment.

Early in the morning, we took a metro to the city center. In Santiago there is a very sophisticated paying system for public transportation. In order to use buses you need to have a card (1,300 CH$) and charge it with money. Because we used just one card for both of us, this smart system didn´t give us the discount we deserved for the continuing ride in the metro. For this you should have one card per passenger. In Plaza del Armas we spent a few hours watching street artists.


One artist drew with chalks on the floor in front of the cathedral, and was beaten and arrested by the police.


Then we visited the cathedral and saw mediocre Gothic Frescoes. We spent an hour in the free post museum, where we saw a huge collection of stamps, and old telegraph machines. We watched the sun set from Cerro Santa Lucia, which is a small hill you can climb and get a nice view of the city.


After our bad experience with the public transportation paying system, we decided to walk home. It was a 10 km walk which took us 2 hours to complete. On the way we passed some nice parks and neighbourhoods, and watched a water-light show in the Bicentenario fountain.


We also saw a large group of cyclists gathering next to the Teatro Universidad de Chile, which reminded us of the much smaller "Critical Mass" cycling events we joined in Haifa.


Pizza Night
Most of the following day we spent again cooking. We made pizza - one for each of us, and fruit pies.


We had time to get to know our host better. Paul is a Dutch web consultant, which means he was so good in what he did, that he started selling his advices for companies. About a year ago he started competing in triathlons, and lost 15 kg of his weight on the way. He has 3 professional bicycles, each of them costs 3 times of ours. We also got to know better Prolux, the lazy cat that owns the apartment.


He lets Paul share his room and bed with him. His likes to eat tomatoes, but is willing to taste everything else that is on the table or the floor.

Science Museum
In the southern part of Santiago, you can found MIM (Museo Interactivo Mirrador), next to the Mirrador metro station (green metro line). Unfortunately, we forgot our student cards at home, and so we didn`t get the discounted price (2,500 CH$). We didn´t come on Wednesday, so missed the 50% discount they offer. For the entrance fee (3,900 CH$), we could choose 2 activities from of a list of about 10. We chose 2 3D movies, as the rest of the activities were for children.


The museum itself is not huge, but you can definitely pass the whole day there. The most popular section of the museum is the soap bubbles.


Shoham had to drag Amit out of there so that we could see the rest of the museum. They have nice mirror tricks, and Spanish explanations for all the devices.

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San Cristobal Park
We hiked to Cerro San Cristobal from the northern entrance, we passed a few botanical gardens and got to the top where there is a virgin statue and a small church.


On our way up we saw many cyclists enjoying this quiet road which offers great view of the city.


We hiked down to the southern entrance, instead of taking the Teleferico train. We had lunch in a great spot where we could watch the whole city.


Then we decided the fish market but we never reached there. Instead we passed the clothes market near the park. We walked on San Pablo avenue for a while, until we found a nice park next to another cathedral, where we ate Churasco and Empanadas.

Taking Paul`s advice, we went to the sport mall, in av. Las Condes. There are about 30 shops there all selling sport and camping equipment. One of the is selling small yachts, and just for them there is a pool.


This mall attracts also punks that come for the skateboard park, and bicycle track in the middle of the mall. Other fun stuff you can do there is wall climbing, and a remote controlled car race. We ate a great sandwich in the expensive cafeteria there. After searching for gloves for Shoham for 4 months, we finally found the perfect ones in the mall. We also bought some bicycle gear there.


Surprisingly (?), we crossed again with Philipp and Ilsa from Switzerland. They just got to Santiago, but are staying in an expensive hostel, so they wouldn`t stay for long. They plan to go back to Argentina, right after Santiago, to practice cycling at heights: The pass to Mendoza is 3,900 m high, and goes near the highest mountain in South America, Aconcagua, which is almost 7,000 m high. This mountain can be seen from Paul`s 15th floor apartment.


After debating this for a long time, we decided to continue through Chile all the way to Bolivia, to see the coast line. On our way back home we stopped at the Hiper Lider. There we found a huge Jewish section which included the worst Israeli products we know, as well as some strange ones we didn´t know that existed. We also found really cheap long sleeved shirts in the kids section, and bought 3 of them.

This was officially the slowest take off ever. After not getting up too early, we cooked both breakfast and lunch for the way. Then we went to search for bicycle shops in order to fix some strange problem in Shoham`s bicycles` handlebar. In one shop we were told we would need to leave the bicycle there for a week, and in another, the mechanic fixed our problem in 30 seconds. Then we packed our bags for 3 hours, ate lunch, and did the mistake of checking our email...


Amit had some work to do for the admission to his Master`s program in Sweden, including reading a 15 pages long boring document, which has to be printed in 2 copies, signed and sent back to Sweden. At this point we decided to stay another day. As Paul is a very cool guy, he didn´t have a problem with it. Throughout our stay at his place we didn´t hear NO from Paul. He was always willing to help in every need or problem we had. We plan to leave tomorrow morning, through a quiet road to avoid the terrible traffic of Santiago. We will continue our way up north through the Chilean coast.


You can read previous posts on our blog:
Photos from our trip can be viewed in our Picasa albums:


                     Shoham & Amit

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys,
    it seems you've really enjoyed Santiago and I've to memorize some of your delicious looking recipes! Wish you a lot of fun and no flat tires on the next kilometers! May we see us in Bolivia again!
    Alex & Fab