Today is rainy and gray, the perfect day to talk about how to survive a Chilean winter.
1. Layers, layers, layers. Inside and outside I wear silk long johns and pants, a camista*, shirt and sweater. When I go outside, depending on the temperature (sometimes it doesn’t vary much between the two) I’ll add a winter jacket, scarf and hat. Also, thick socks that go up past your ankles are a godsend. Or, high boots that don’t let the breeze in around your feet.
2. Hot beverages. Thanks to Eileen, I have a nice thermos that I carry around with me, filled with either herbal tea or hot chocolate. It’s amazing. It keeps my beverage piping hot for hours, and normal hot all day long. Once I forgot it until the next day (I’m talking more than 24 hours since I had filled it) and the tea was still warm! Also, hot water boilers that are ever so popular here in Chile make boiling water a breeze.
3. Baking. I have a small enough apartment that turning on the oven heats practically the whole apartment. Since its silly to turn on the oven without making something, I tend to bake a lot during the winter. Yesterday I made macaroni and cheese and chocolate cupcakes. Yum!
4. Close the curtains, shut the doors. Try to trap what little heat their is in one part of your house by shutting doors. Also, I find shutting the curtains cozies things up and gets rid of unwanted drafts.
5. Adopt a street cat. There’s nothing cozier than a sleeping kitty on your lap or cuddled near your feet at night.
6. Guatero or Scaldasonno. If you’re allergic to cats, may I suggest a guatero (hot water bottle) or a scaldasonno (heated mattress pad)? There’s nothing like getting into cold sheets. Just remember to shut off the scaldasonno before going to sleep!
7. Space heaters. My apartment technically has heat, but it’s SUPER expensive. So, I have a space heater. It heats up a room pretty fast if I close all the doors. I use it sparingly since electricity is also expensive, but it saves me on the super frigid days.
8. Fingerless gloves. If you spend all day typing, these are nice to have.
9. You can stand under my umbrella… Except not. Haha. Buy your own outside any metro station when it’s raining. It rains frequently during the winter, and an umbrella (paraguas) is indispensable. Yes, raincoats are nice, but I find an umbrella keeps me dryer. Also, tall boots are nice on rainy days so your pants don’t get wet. OH! And stand back from the curb. Like, way back. Drivers are crazy in the rain and I swear that some of them TRY to soak pedestrians. Beware of this, because there’s nothing worse than getting soaked by a disgusting puddle.
10. Down Comforters.I find that with my down comforter, I don’t have to have 5000 blankets on my bed. I have a sheet, fleece blanket, down comforter and quilt. My bed is very cozy. The only drawback is that I rarely want to get out of bed in the morning…
I hope these tips help any newcomers to the Santiago winter! Stay warm.
*What’s a camista, you may ask? I believe Eileen coined the phrase: panty-hose for your arms! They are shirts made of nylon or microfiber that go under your clothes. They are quite tight fitting, and I find they’re better than long underwear shirts that often get stretched out and bunchy. You can buy them at places like Caffarena or Monarch.