Chilean leather shoes

Lonely Planet has released their top 10 cities to visit in 2012. Chile, the capital of Santiago, is one of the cities on the list. I was in Chile during the rescate histórico, the historic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days underground. Words cannot describe how amazing it was to be in a public square in the centre of Santiago, watching the rescue live on a big screen TV, while all around me Chilean people cheered, waved flags, and signs with words of support. I can still hear the cheers: “Chi-chi-chi, le-le-le, los mineros de Chile!!

Apart from Chilean miners, Chile is also famous for its handcrafted leather goods. I found handmade belts, wallets, bags and of course shoes all at a very reasonable price. Most people in Chile must wear leather shoes, if the number of shoe shine stands in Santiago are anything to go by.

Having a shoe shine – a common sight in Santiago

The best thing I bought in Chile was a pair of beautiful handcrafted leather shoes. I bought it at Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia, a handicraft market in the centre of Santiago along Avenida Libertador Bernado O’Higgins, opposite Cerro Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia Hill. Apart from leather goods, the market also sells other Chilean handicrafts like copper and lapis lazuli products.

A shoe shop at Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia, Santiago de Chile

It was interesting trying to buy a pair of shoes without speaking much Spanish. I tried a bright red pair, which was unfortunately a bit small, before settling on a black pair of Mary Janes. The leather smells so lovely and the leather is very soft. It was a bargain at 15 000 Chilean pesos. That’s less than NZ$40, and under RM100.

My beautiful handcrafted pair of Chilean leather shoes

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