Santiago is a city to stay for either two days or two years.
For a population of 6.2 million there is surprisingly little to do for the regular guidebook tourist, most of whom get more satisfaction from nearby Valparaiso with its houses seemingly stacked steeply on top of each other in a cacophony of colour bounded by sea and sky.
Santiago's main attractions, such as the views from San Cristobal hill, a visit to Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda's house or sampling the delights of the fish and sea food market in the center can mostly be done without really unpacking the bag.
However, Santiago, like all cities, has its own distinct identity which can slowly be grasped by living and working here for longer periods and immersing in a culture which at times seems elusive but always rewarding. But much more of this in later posts.
For now it's time to leave Santiago, having stayed a year longer than my own advice allows. And so with three years in the Chilean capital, I am ready to explore other South American countries.
The plan: to travel until the money is gone and then beg, borrow or steal or maybe even work, in order to resume travelling.
The point: to meet as many interesting local people as possible and tell their story. In other words to ramble and well, ramble. One week to go....