Night, Snow and Sand. Arriving in Pablo Neruda’s Chile

March 19, 2011 0 comment

It felt as if we were greeted by Pablo Neruda yesterday when we arrived in Santiago de Chile. His beautiful words written on the walls of Meridiano Sur Petit Hotel is such a good idea. It reminded me how much I love his poetry.

The Meridiano Sur Petit Hotel is more of a very tasteful b&b than hotel, with only 5 rooms. The location is central, it’s wireless throughout and the top floor loft is perfect for a family.

Unfortunately, I could not find a translation online of this beautiful poem of Pablo Neruda called Descubridores de Chile (Discoverers of Chile). I hope you can understand some Spanish, or you might find an anthology of his work in a good bookstore.

Santiago de Chile is not a very touristy city and I must say after 24hours it does not have so much to offer to the outsider. Recurrent earthquakes have damaged a lot of the old architecture, and the country is quite “young” on Latin American standards. That said, the NY Times ranked it Number 1 in its 40 Places to see in 2011. It’s probably because of its burgeoning hype factor.

There’s a nascent art scene (the Patricia Ready Gallery is a must-visit if you’re into contemporary art, and a nice place to stop for lunch with the kids) and some chefs are getting international recognition mixing South American and Asian flavors (dying to try Astrid y Gaston around the corner of Petit Hotel if only we can find someone to look after Marcelo & Amalya!). This article 36 Hours in Santiago can be a useful guide. Also, we had a lovely family pizza night at Tiramisu. But what I loved most as we drove around Santiago (muchas gracias Jorge!), seeing palm trees and the snow-capped Andes in the background. That only, for me, was worth a visit.

Tomorrow we’re taking a flight to the north of the country, to San Pedro de Atacama. We will spend a few days in the Atacama desert. I’m excited as we will arrive for the full moon (I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but no, this was not planned!) and Marcelo can’t wait to do a lot of star gazing.

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