“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us… Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck.
Sometimes we have to remind each other that even though our plans change, we can still have fun in the moment.
We only planned to spend a few days in Santiago, get a few repairs done on the van, buy some spare parts, and then get the hell out. This was pretty optimistic. Ten days later, we are finally ready to hit the road again. We fluctuated between frustration with the current situation and making an effort to enjoy ourselves.
Mark spent most of his time like this …
On the other hand, my time was spent a bit more like this …
Cruising the ‘burbs’
Warming park benches
Coffee shop hopping – at my second favourite place, Faustina
Mechanically, the van was still running great, but we tend to push it harder than most vintage car owners. The brakes are now in good working order and Mark fixed lots of the little annoying things that have been on the ‘to do list’. Luckily, Santiago is a gold mine for VW parts. Thank you Velizwagen!
Mark and the mechanics replaced all the shockies, the brake cylinder, and the busted engine mounts. Then, we discovered that the transmission mount was also broken. This part is held on with two pathetic little bolts and looks like it should be simple to replace. As it turns out, it is a really difficult job. When the threads in one of the bolt holes stripped, they had to remove the entire engine to finish the job.
The boys at Retro Garage – mechanics numero dos.
We have been dreaming of wilderness camping and cooking over an open fire, so the big city isn’t exactly where we want to be right now. It didn’t take us long however, to realize that Santiago is a pretty nice place to be stuck. On a clear day, you can see the Andes as they rise up in all their glory above the city.
Santiago is very live-able by our standards. It is really bike friendly and has fantastic parks everywhere. The weather was perfect, so we were able to make the most of being outdoors, exploring our neighbourhood with morning runs, afternoon bike rides and leisurely strolls.
There are some pretty old buildings too…
Museo Nacional Bellas Artes
Palacio de Moneda
We have a hard time being budget conscious in cities. There are just too many tasty temptations.
Favourite coffee shop
Benevento – our local
BACO – getting awkward with oysters
Still, we did try to balance things out with a few hotel room picnics at Posada del Salvador in Providencia.
I’m usually not a big hotel fan, but this place was great. It’s in a good location, the staff are super friendly and most importantly, they have parking. It was pretty cheap by Santiago standards, especially since we got a little discount for having a VW bus. Also, it was just a short walk from lots of yummy restaurants, like La Gloria (sandwiches) and Liguria (fancy pub food).
The view from our room with Mark’s thrifty finds
Steinbeck was right. This trip has definitely developed a personality all of its own, and it has taken us on one royal ride. It has ebbed and flowed and changed with our expectations, and despite them. Sometimes we are all in sync and life is a dream, other times our personalities are clashing like titans.
As we move into the last month of our travels, it is hard not to have mixed feelings. But for now, we are just happy to be on the road again.
Posted from: Chillán, Chile