Founded in 1530, Santiago has always been the capital of Chile. Lots of stray dogs everywhere, but there is no rabies. And the dogs live in the open and are treated well, I saw none that were undernourished or pregnant.
Chile has a very low unemployment rate. I would never have thought that Chile was so advanced and wonderful.
The city is beautiful, lots of old buildings despite the earthquakes. It is on the Pacific Ring of Fire, after all.
Literacy is high in Chile where so many have a college degree since schooling is free. Taxes are high, of course, and there is an extra fee each month taken from everyone's paycheck for the Education Fund. So it is not really "free". But it is a concept that is well understood by the young, go to school. And most everyone speaks at least 3 languages.
Kinda leaves the US back in a cloud of dust.
The next morning we headed back to the Santiago Airport to catch the 2 hour bus ride to Valparaíso, the seaport and second largest city in Chile. It is also wine country! It was founded just later than Santiago in 1536. Valparaiso is nicknamed the Jewel of the Pacific because it has such beautiful buildings in bright colors, lots of street markets and a bustling economy.
You can see some of the Chilean Navy ships docked next to our ship, the Norwegian Sun. This was Norwegian's first ship back in the area in 5 years so we were warmly welcomed at each port we sailed into.
On board we were treated to daily lectures on the history and geography of the next port given by Peter Croyal. He has traveled through South America all his life and led expeditions into Antarctica and through Patagonia. It was incredible to hear him talk about his experiences and what we would be seeing. Listening to the rich history of the area just added to our excursions.
Since it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, the weather was so beautiful and the sunsets were spectacular. We sailed through the night to our next port.
More to come, stay tuned!