After a week of 3 mid-terms and a presentation, finally it was time for spring (or fall?) break. We had 12 days off, 12 beautiful days! As my friends and I were looking into places we could go to, we found cheap flight tickets to Chile, so we decided we’d go to Santiago and Valparaíso for a week and I made plans to go to Iguazú Falls after with an exchange student group.
As we landed to Santiago, we were welcomed with a much warmer weather than Buenos Aires. I made plans to stay with my sister’s friend, whom she met while she was abroad, to save money and it was in a residential part of Providencia (the most central neighborhood). My friends stayed at an Airbnb in Bellavista, which is a really fun and touristy area.
Chile is known for being cheap and some Argentinians go to Chile with empty suitcases for shopping. They have Forever 21, H&M, Taco Bell, and more familiar brands… I had to fulfill this expectation, so I ended up spending some time in Forever 21 :) Besides shopping, I ate some great waffle sandwiches in Buffalo Waffles in Barrio Lastarria, and I found a Turkish store in Barrio Italia. It was beautiful walking around in Barrio Italia and I loved watching the sunset over the Andes at the rooftop of my friends’ Airbnb.
After two days, we took a bus to Valparaíso for an hour and forty minutes. The moment we got off the bus station, it was so different. Santiago is very organized and the subway system is amazing. On the other hand, Valparaíso felt a little, just a little, different. It felt chaotic with street vendors lined up all throughout the pavement and buildings built on each other. Once we got to where our hostel is, the streets were full of beautiful murals.
We stayed in Hostel Casa Fischer and it was at a great location in Cerro Concepción. After we dropped our stuff off at our hostel, we took a city bus to Dunas de Concón (sand dunes). We went thinking there’d be people sandboarding, but apparently that only happens certain days. So we walked on top of the dunes and faced with the view of the Pacific Ocean. Next to the ocean and nothingness, there were high buildings of Viña creating a contrast. We just sat there for a while and appreciated the view.
Although my friends went back to Santiago the next day, I wanted to stay for another day in Valparaíso. So I ended up going to Pablo Neruda’s house with a girl I met at our hostel, and it was gorgeous! I had to pay around 20 bucks, but I thought it was worth it. After the museum, we went to Ascensor Polanco to go up and see a panoramic view of the city. I never walked more hills in my life, but I also enjoyed it so much. Each street was so pretty and colorful, it was insane. The next day I went back to Santiago to meet up with my friends and go back to Buenos Aires.
After having some rest, trying to catch up with work and FaceTiming my parents, I left for Iguazú Falls the next day. 19-hour bus ride might sound delirious, but it really isn’t that bad if your destination is a tropical climate where you can go into the pool at night. Iguazú Falls are both in Argentina and Brazil and we went to both sides. Not to be rude to Brazil, but I thought Argentinian side was prettier. Brazilian side is an overlook to the falls and you don’t get as close to the falls as you do in the Argentinian side. But wherever you go, the falls were amazing. One of the prettiest things I’ve seen and probably will ever see. The falls were just gigantic and so intense. Everywhere there were rainbows, huge butterflies and tropical animals… Also in Iguazú, I developed a connection to reggeaton. I wasn’t a big fan of it before I went to Iguazú, but those 19-hour bus rides wouldn’t go by if it wasn’t for reggeaton… I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since I got back, I’m not worried.
And now it’s back to reality, not in a sad way but in a beautiful way. I love my reality in Buenos Aires and just want to enjoy it as home for a while :)
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<p>Hello hello! I am Idil and I am a junior at Lafayette College studying Economics and Anthropology & Sociology. I am from Istanbul, Turkey and I am studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester. I am an adventurous person who loves trying new things and meeting new people. I love spending time with locals and learning more about a city from their perspective. I cannot wait to take on this experience and bring you all with me!</p>