My flight touched down in Santiago, Chile, 8 a.m. on Saturday and even before I exited the plane I saw the familiar sight of an ACEAP badge on the jacket of a fellow traveler! A great start!
After arriving at the hotel, a small group of us quickly hit the city for a much-needed cup of coffee, a brief walk to Bicentennial Park (to say “hello” to the flamingos), and a stop in the local supermarket to stock up on a few essentials.
As the first visit to Santiago for most folks, the team was soon ready to hit the city once again, so we hopped in a couple of cabs for a Cook’s tour of the city’s highlights, including the iconic Mercado Central — with its vibrant atmosphere and enticing sights and sounds! We then visited the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas. The interior was simply stunning (and having lived in Spain, I have seen my fair share of cathedrals). We then went to the Palacio de La Moneda or simply La Moneda, which is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile.
And, of course, to top things off, we stopped for our first pisco sour of the trip!
You would think that would be enough for one day, but no, after returning to the hotel we were invited to the home of our friend and colleague, Valeria Foncea, who served a wonderful dinner, allowing us to get to know each other better before we jump in to the first day of meetings on Sunday.
I am VERY excited about this trip — partly because of what we all will learn and experience, but mostly because of the amazing energy the 2016 ambassadors bring to the program. It’s always heartening spending time with like-minded people who share the same passion for astronomy. I’m sure I’ll learn as much from them as they learn about U.S.-funded astronomical research in Chile.
Wish us well and follow along as we begin our journey of discovery!