Saturday, July 16, 2016

South American Adventure - Part Four - Santiago De Chile

Day 12 - A free day for the half way point.

It was the half way point of our travels and we were in Santiago, Chile.  It was time to do some laundry.  We were going to find a laundromat near the hotel and do it on the cheap but the nearest one was a distance away.  Turns out Chile is one of the cheapest places we've ever been to and the laundry rates at the hotel were reasonable (not cheap but not extravagant either).

We dropped our bag of laundry, ate breakfast on the top floor of the hotel, then headed out in search of interesting sights and an ATM machine.  I hadn't brought any chilean money on this trip.  I usually get all the different currencies before I leave on a trip but this time I really wasn't sure how much I would need so I only got some Brazilian Reals and US dollars.  With map in pocket we headed out to where the desk clerk said we would find an ATM.
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Crossing a river and seeing our landmark, the Telefónica Chile building shaped like a cell phone.
Our hotel was located in the Lastarria neighborhood, an up and coming place in Santiago.  It was centrally located from many interesting places to visit.  A short walk took us across a river where you could get a great view of the Andes mountains behind the building that looked like a cell phone (that is how everyone described it and it did look like a cell phone).  I expected to find a bank on the other side of the bridge but I didn't see anything remotely like an ATM so I stuck my head into a small gallery and ask the elderly man if there was a bank nearby.  There wasn't but he did give me directions to an ATM.  With chilean peso in pocket we were ready to start seeing the sights (and buying magnets).

Our first stop was one of the houses owned by nobel laureate Pablo Neruda.  Yes ... the Wife managed squeeze in literature and poetry on this trip.  We toured the house listening to the recorded tour.  It was interesting.   His life was entwined in the history of Chile.
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A view from Cerro San Cristobal.
On the left is the Gran Torre Santiago, the tallest building in south america.

Next we headed to Cerro San Cristobal.  We boarded a funicular and rode up the hill (cerro).  The car we rode in was the same one used by Pope John Paull II.  At the top we continued up the hill and admired the incredible sights of the snow capped andes mountains and the city of Santiago.  Along the path were seven crosses decorated by seven different artists.  At the top of the hill is a large statue of Mary.  At her base there is a small area where people have left cards, pictures, and mementos.  The Wife left on of her Dad's prayer cards.  We walked around the large statue and toured the painted interior.  We bought some magnets and souvenirs before heading down to some shops at the top of the funicular.  We bought more travel memories before having a lunch of chips and empanadas.
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The Virgin Mary on Cerro San Cristobal.

We went back down the funicular (watch the thrilling five minute video here) and started the long walk to the plaza de armas.  Along the way we passed more cool street art and through a bustling street market.  By the time we reached the plaza de armas we were both getting tired.  We visited the cathedral, observed the changing of the guard and the horse police.  The Wife noticed a statue of a pilgrim Santiago (he is the patron saint of the city).
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The Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral on the plaza de armas.

Being tired we started heading back to the hotel.  I was keeping my eyes open for ice cream as we walked..  Our guide had mentioned some great ice cream places but we never found those (never really tried to since they were out of our way).  I passed in front of what I thought was a cafe when a waiter came out with two bowls of ice cream with a waffle cone sticking out of each bowl.  ICE CREAM.  We sat down and the Wife ordered two scoops of white chocolate and I ordered a scoop of milk chocolate and a scoop of dark chocolate.  Yum.  I repeat ... yum.

By the time we got back to our hotel, we'd walked about 8.5 miles - a lot more than I expected.  I napped a little and we went to a corner store to buy water and some sandwiches - neither of us wanted a big sit down dinner.  We both went to bed in clean pajamas.   Yum again.

Tomorrow we would be getting up early ... again ... and going back to the airport.  Next stop, Easter Island.

Pictures of the Santiago de Chile can be found in my South America 2016-06 Flickr album.

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