Hidden Santiago: Cafes and Color

by Erika Woelfel

Although my short visit to Santiago was fully scheduled from dusk til dawn, there were moments of “bleisure”, that blurring of boundaries between business and leisure that sometimes happens when you travel for work. I’ve been many places, but this was my first time to Chile so I was eager to explore and the camera was ready!It is the spring season in Chile, and while mornings are cool, temps heat up by lunch so it is time to head indoors. A stroll through the Barrio Italia gave a glimpse into a world that was quite removed from other commercial districts in the Chilean capitol. Traditional homes built side-by-side on the tree-lined streets have been repurposed into a blend of residential and commercial spaces. It was fascinating to enter a door and pass the threshold, not knowing really what you would find once you made it a few steps in…Each corridor led to a different kind of retail experience with small boutique shops, creative offices, restaurants and hotels lining a narrow corridor. The structure and “bones” of these old buildings were left intact which lent character to the entire place. Old materials would often strike a contrast with new merchandise in the stores.

What I loved the most was once you browsed through the shops to the back of the building, there was usually a hidden cafe or patio. They provided a quiet retreat from the noise and bustle of the street, and each had its own unique character. I will admit: While Chile is well-known for its wine, the coffee can’t be matched by anyone. The food is amazing, even though I filled up on my quota of beef for the rest of the year!

Each cafe had its own distinct personality. Some were an eclectic urban salvage style, others were more modern. All felt like a completely fit within the space they occupied.

 Each cafe had its own distinct personality. Some were an eclectic urban salvage style, others were more modern. All felt like a completely fit within the space they occupied.

Colorful textiles.

 Colorful textiles.

A re-purposed wood ceiling guided visitors along the corridor past a variety of storefronts.

 A re-purposed wood ceiling guided visitors along the corridor past a variety of storefronts.

An old door has been turned into an interesting table top.

 An old door has been turned into an interesting table top.

Thanks for the memories Santiago!

 

Colorfully yours,

Erika

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