Published on April 11th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
Arriving in Santiago de Chile, and all is well
Santiago’s airport is up and running fine.
It’s 8am, and I’m sitting on a private balcony at the foot of the Parque Metropolitano, a verdant, hilly city park in Santiago de Chile. I’ve just checked into the Hotel Aubrey, a new luxury boutique hotel set in a former private mansion.
I’ve just landed in Chile’s capital this morning, a few days before members of the United States Tour Operators Association come down for a major meeting and familiarization trip. I’ll be joining them, and the timing couldn’t be better. Chile has made the headlines recently for the major earthquake that struck on February 27, leaving most of us unsure exactly what state the nation is in.
I’m happy to report that Santiago’s international airport, which was thrown into more disarray than the city itself, appears to have returned to normal operations — my arrival was no different than it was when I last visited.
The city itself reportedly suffered nowhere near the damage that some other regions did — although Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Patagonia and the Atacama desert, all of which are major tourist destinations and all of which I’ll be visiting over the next two weeks — apparently suffered no damage.
But I’m here to find out things for myself. A quick scan of museum listings revealed that the Museo Histórico Nacional has closed for the months of March and April to repair damage — but there are plenty of other museums open, as are all the hotels and, it seems restaurants.
But first, I am tired from my overnight flight (although the LAN Airlines Premium Business Class, which features glorious fold-flat seats and thick comforters, certainly helps me feel much more refreshed than I usually do after a 10-hour trip). So for now, it’s time for a quick breakfast on my terrace, a nap and then it’s out to discover what Santiago has to offer today.
The view from my balcony at the Hotel Aubrey.
A bit of breakfast on the balcony.
And now to nap, stylishly.