Hello to all the world travelers in Club Bébé Voyage! My name is Suzanne. I live in Santiago de Chile with my husband and our 21 month-old daughter, Ingrid. Having been here four years, we feel pretty settled and comfortable. Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city by far, is very cosmopolitan.
We live in El Golf, the city’s financial sector which is rather crowded during the week but relatively empty on weekends which we LOVE. We enjoy a little bit of peace in our own neighborhood every Saturday and Sunday.
Chileans generally love babies. They are so nice and caring, stopping us all the time on the street just to say hi to our daughter or how lovely she is.
Everyone makes a big deal over your baby (which always makes you feel good!) showering him or her with affection and hugs.
There are parks EVERYWHERE, playgrounds a plenty, and we have a lot of play cafés as well where you can have coffee and a snack with a friend while your children play. In restaurants, the staff are welcoming, never making you feel like you are a nuisance. We have thoroughly enjoyed our experience as parents here. In fact, parents with young children, pregnant women, and senior citizens always enjoy preferential treatment in Chile!
Here is what a really good Sunday looks like for us…
Rise and Shine
Ingrid wakes us up by calling from her room usually around 7:30AM. She is always so happy in the morning. We spend a couple of minutes snuggling in the rocking chair. I always ask her, “Did you have a good sleep?” to which she responds, “Da” (meaning yes) with a smile and a happy nod.
We go to the kitchen to heat a little milk before breakfast and let my husband sleep in a bit.
Sunday is pancake day in our house. Since my husband always makes pancakes for us, we play with homemade play-dough or Duplo blocks or draw until he gets up. Then it’s pancake time!
Our city has a Ciclorecreovia every Sunday until 2:00pm. This is where they close the roads to all motorized vehicles so that pedestrians, runners, roller-bladers, and cyclists can use and enjoy them. Now that the weather is improving with spring’s arrival, we have been taking advantage of this. Our daughter just got a new bike chair made by Hamax (the Observer) and she loves riding in it.
The seat is mounted up front so she can see everything. We can pick up the Ciclorecreovia at the end of our street. The routes go in various directions, but our favorites are to ride to Parque Bicentenario, created to honor Chile ’s 200th anniversary of their independence from Spain or to ride to the Santiago’s aerial tramway, the Teleférico Pedro de Valdivia (named after the Spanish conquistador who founded Santiago).
This lovely, large park features playgrounds, open green picnic areas (umbrellas and chairs provided!), a dog park, and ponds and water areas teeming with all sorts of local waterfowl.
There is a really nice restaurant called Mestizo overlooking the park and the perfect place to have lunch with a view. In addition, there is always some sort of fun event in the park on weekends. Festivals celebrating art, culture, food, and cinema can all be found at various times of the year here. This weekend they had a festival of high heels…Taconeras!
The other favorite option is to ride to the base of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristobal Hill) and take the teleférico (cable car or gondola) up to the top. You are able to load your bike on and ride all the way up, taking in a great view of the city backed by gorgeous mountains. In summer, you can stop off at the mid station where there’s a big swimming pool. We mostly just go to the top where there is a big statue of the Virgin Mary that looks out over the city along with kiosks selling snacks and refreshments.
After getting some water to keep cool, we ride down the hill of Cerro San Cristóbal, one of the world’s largest metropolitan parks. There are some Japanese Gardens where we stop to rest and enjoy the view of the city.
After our biking adventure, we head back home so our daughter can have a good nap.
While Ingrid sleeps, we usually take the opportunity to catch up on chores around the house– the morning dishes, folding laundry, and playing with the dogs. Yes, we have two dogs! We brought one with us from the U.S. and the other is a Chilean street dog (called a quiltro) that kept following us home when I was seven months pregnant. I just couldn’t leave him on the street. We manage to walk them in the morning and during nap time.
Time to Eat
Sunday lunch is typically family time in Chile. Many families have lunch together every single Sunday without fail. Since we don’t have family here, we often find ourselves going out for Sunday lunch or accepting invitations from friends. Lunch is typically late here.
It starts about 1PM (but more often at 2PM) and goes until at least 5PM and often later. Meals are meant to be enjoyed in Chile–lots of conversation, jokes, stories, and smiles. Meals are relaxed and focused on the time spent together.
This Sunday, our Chilean friends, José Ramón and Claudia, invited us for lunch at their house. They just built a new quincho (barbecue area) behind the house, essential to any Chilean household. The new one has everything updated and plenty of comfy space to entertain.
I have heard many times that when a new house is being built, the quincho is built first and the house, only second. The essential element of quincho is the parilla, or grill. Here you will find all kinds of meat, sausages, chicken, and fish. Since we were a small crowd, José just prepared some steak and chicken on the parilla. We could see the smoke from the parillas coming from the neighbors on both sides of the house as well. Everyone was grilling out!
Ingrid played in the yard with their dog as we enjoyed the meat along with corn and tomato salad, green salad and porotos salad (a large kind of bean popular here). Of course, we also had some delicious red Chilean wine. We didn’t linger too long today since we like to go to the park on Sunday afternoons. We said goodbye early, around 4PM, and headed back to our neighborhood.
A Pass-By the Park
As I mentioned before, Chile has a lots of parks. There are five just within short walking distance from our apartment! Our favorite is the El Golf park featuring two play areas with swings, slides, and other equipment as well as a fountain where Ingrid loves to dip her fingers. It’s also nicely shaded. We often meet friends from the neighborhood here and the best ice cream in the city is a short walk away. We are impatiently waiting for those summer temperatures! Sometimes, we bring the dogs so they can get lots of pats and snuggles from the kids. We play for about 30 minutes today and head back to the apartment.
Dinner and Bath
Ingrid has a light dinner around 5:30PM. Whatever we have in the fridge usually works well. Chicken, pasta, veggies, beans, avocado (a Chilean favorite, called palta here) and cheese are favorites with fruit for dessert and her special treat…dried cranberries. As she had a big lunch, she isn’t too hungry tonight.
We start the bedtime routine with a bath at 6:30PM, being sure to blow lots of bubbles. After some lotion (the air is so dry here!) and pajamas, she has her evening bottle, followed by teeth brushing and story time. Then, it’s into the crib and hopefully asleep in about 15-20 minutes.
Mama and Dada’s Relaxation Time
After the baby is asleep, it’s our time to relax together. Having had a big lunch, we usually just fix a little something and open a bottle of one of Chile ’s amazing wines.
Chile produces a lot of wine, but most is exported to other countries in general as Chileans aren’t big wine drinkers. Thankfully, enough of it stays here to keep us satisfied!.
They have such an amazing array of landscapes that they can grow just about any kind of grape. We are lucky (and spoiled) in the kinds of wines we are able to enjoy here at a very reasonable price.
After a good snack and wine, we relax and read or finish up any chores that need attention and head off to bed. Like most Sundays, it’s been a good day!
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