03/21/2008 80 °F
After a spectacular bus ride over the Andes, we arrived in Santiago, Chile where we met Pablo Fernandez, a former exchange student with Amy´s relatives in Arkansas. An unanticipated doctor´s appointment led to a quick hospital stay for Amy and a very new travel experience for both of us.
Fortunately all was routine and while Amy wasn´t happy about the change of accomodations, she had fabulous care by Doctor Daniel Sfeir and caring treatment by the nurses. The Clinica Las Condes was exceptionally luxurious and Pablo and family were extremely attentive to us while we were there.
After the ordeal was over, we returned to travelling form over dinner at the Fernandez home (above, from left, Daniel Sfeir, Amy, Rob, Pablo and wife Francisca). We are so lucky to have made friends like these!
The delay in our trip and at the suggestion of the doctor, we were forced to abandon our intended stay in the mountains of Peru in favor of a more gentle visit to the coast of central Chile.
After enjoying Santiago for two more days, we went to the beach town of Viña del Mar which adjoins Valparaiso, Santiago´s historic port. The Sfeir family was also going here for the day and so graciously offered to drive us and give us a tour as well!
While we stayed at the beach, we were able to tour the fascinating old town of Valparaiso by day. The hillside residential neighborhoods can be reached by (very old) inclined elevators, though once up, the streets are by no means flat.
The older buildings are still occupied by families as well as by what seems to be an increasing number of artists and artisans, restaurants and inns. We have a relaxing visit to catch our breath and regain strength.