Yesterday we crossed into Chile and what a difference an artificial line on a map makes.
Crossing from Perú to Chile was like entering a different world. The honking stopped. “Gringos” was no longer yelled at us. And we instantly lost two hours of time.
Neither of us anticipated much from the port town of Arica. We’d been through enough fishing villages and our expectations were low.
Instead, we were pleasantly surprised.
First, there was delicious, inexpensive Chilean wine. We found real (not instant) coffee available in multiple places.
We strolled down the pedestrian street and visited the well maintained square, complete with the Iglesia de San Marcos designed by Gustave Eiffel. The church is made of iron and was pre-fabricated in France before making it’s way to Arica. The old customs house (now and exhibition space) was also designed by Eiffel.
The highlight of Arica was the waterfront and fish market. We had to walk through the very active port, dodging trucks being loaded with shipping containers to make it to the market and docks. The port is the major shipping point for land locked Bolivia.
Pelicans were poking around looking for scraps and fat sea lions warmed themselves on the rocks. We wandered through the fish market and had some delicious tuna ceviche.
However, it was the empanadas that had us both making happy sounds as our taste buds experienced bliss. We found cheese and lobster empanadas. I have never had an empanada that good.
I’ve been a huge fan of empanadas since first discovering them after I moved to Austin, Texas. The Empanada Parlor, like the downtown apartment where I lived is long gone, however the wonderful memories of the little pockets of stuffed pastry dough remain.
The langosta and queso empanadas will remain one of my favorite memories of this adventure.