Working Away in Santiago

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After our weekend in Valparaiso, we took a bus back to Santiago to begin a week volunteering at a hostel. Our previous volunteer experience at Los Monos was found through a friend, but to find more opportunites we joined Workaway, a website that connects volunteers and hosts throuhgout the world. In exchange for working 5 or so hours a day, the host provides free room and board and usually a day or two off for each week you work. We had only heard good things from other travelers and were ready to take on a new opportunity in Chile. Not that we are bored of traveling, but it is tiring to constantly plan your next bus, city, things to do, etc., and this would be a nice change of pace.

Our work was pretty much what you would expect at a hostel: cleaning rooms, serving breakfast, painting, caulking, changing light bulbs, hanging things on the walls - basically helping wherever it was needed. We lived in a dorm for a week with two other Croatians who were also there on Workaway, a Venezuelan who had been working at the hostel for over a year, and a French journalist. A few other travelers came and went during the week, but it was nice to have a home base with four other people during our time there.

Making beds and painting on our Workaway.

We usually worked 10 am to 3 pm so we had our evenings free to explore the city. We were still struck by how different Chile is from the rest of the countries we’ve been to in South America. Modern, clean, and expensive - it was basically like being at home or in Europe. Luckily we were saving money this week on room and board, otherwise it would have been a heftier price tag. Walking around the city we were able to enjoy the sights, parks, and, of course, the beers. We tried to get cheap seats for a symphony one night, but they were sold out by the time we got there so we wandered around and ended up finding a free concert in the central square instead!

Free concert in Plaza de Armas.
Santa Lucia Hill, where Santiago was founded.
When the smog clears up, the city has a beautiful backdrop of mountains.
It is nothing conpared to Valparaiso, but Santiago has some street art.

Chile is the first country we have been to so far that has an extensive craft beer scene. We visited several microbreweries and beer bars. Our two favorite beers were Jester’s Luptopia and Caudillo’s Imperial Stout. I should also mention that we leveled up to Extraordinary on Untappd, so we’re pretty much a big deal. We had to search long and hard for our thousandth unique beer. Props to Carl and Derek for beating us to it.

So many choices in Chile!

One of the best parts of the week was meeting an Australian friend we met on the Inca Trail over two years ago! We both happened to be in Santiago for a day and got to meet up before her flight to Cuba. We can’t wait to cross paths again when we make it to Melbourne!

It wasn’t an eventful week, but it was nice to relax (even if we were working part of it) in one city for more than a couple days. We had a great time, met new friends, and we’re looking forward to our next Workaway adventure!

Just before we left I got naked. I still need a haircut though.
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