Our first full day of touring in Santiago got off to a rough start. Our bus picked us up from the hotel to take us around the city and then to see the changing of the guard at the office of the president known as La Moneda. We got about four blocks from the hotel when something serious broke in the engine compartment. It felt like we got rear ended. Everyone was OK and we got off the bus. Our quick-witted tour guide and tour director came up with a great work-around. They had us walk a few blocks to the Metro station and loaded the whole group on to the subway and we were on our way downtown to see the ceremony. It all worked great and we arrived in plenty of time to see the horses, marching bands and soldiers in full regalia. Interestingly, a woman officer headed up one of the honor guard units. This would have been unheard of a few years ago! What a difference having a woman president can make!
A replacement bus met us after the ceremony and we headed out to the countryside to visit the De Martino Winery. De Martino arranged a wine tasting, Pisco Sour demonstration and a fabulous barbecue lunch with all the fixin’s.
After lunch we headed back to the City to see some of the sights we missed in the morning for lack of a bus. When we got to Plaza de Armas we were detoured because of a bomb threat at one of the government buildings. It turned out go be a false alarm but added to the excitement of the day.
We headed back to the hotel and realized it was Valentines Day. We hadn’t made any special plans because we were told they didn’t really celebrate that holiday in Santiago. They were wrong! We couldn’t get into any restaurants so we had a nice little romantic wine and appetizer dinner in the hotel bar. We liked it.