Thursday, June 16, 2011

Of day three in Santiago; of museums; of the central market; of Cerro San Cristóbal;

I have so many pictures of this place. I never awake to get photos of it during the morning or sunrise, but I loved chilling on the patio of my hostel with wine meeting other travelers.  From Chile W12 Santiago3

Sunday was my third and final day in Santiago. Since the bus was to leave at 9:00pm to go back to Valdivia, I was still able to spend a full day in the city. I spent the day going to museums and exploring around. I went to the Pre-Columbian art museum with two French people I had met in the hostel the day before. It was an incredible museum. I was huge and filled with so many amazing artifacts from all over the Americas. Lots of ceramic, wood, textile and stone works from Incan, Mayan, Olmec, Aztec, and Mapuche cultures. I've always seen pictures of the old carved stone objects from the Central American Pre-Columbian civilizations, but the artifacts in the museum were much more amazing. They weren't rough and crusty bowls, statues, and chairs, but they were elegantly and precisely carved and polished stone works. With the ceramic works in the museum it was just as amazing that the objects were in great condition with stunning colors even after surviving through more than 1000 or even 2000 years.

The market. From Chile W12 Santiago3

The next thing I had on my list of things to do that day was to check out the central market. It is a big old building with many fish markets and a number of restaurants. As soon as I walked in I was greeted by people asking me where I was from and what I wanted to eat. I did a lap around the market and every time I stopped to read a menu posted on a wall I would be surrounded people trying to get me to eat at their restaurant.

el mercado central de santiago, la ciudad de damasco
The market in what looks to be the early 1930s.

The first course of my meal.  From Chile W12 Santiago3

Eventually I found a good looking place where I could get one of my favorite Chilean dish: Chupe de Jaiba. It started off with some bread, ají (salsa), soup, and a beer. Then they brought out the big bubbling bowl of chupe de jaiba. It is a creamy and cheesy crab dish sort of like a casserole and is probably one of the most delicious things in the Chilean food culture. Super rico!

And that is the chupe de jaiba (a direct translation would be crab stew)   From Chile W12 Santiago3

After my huge lunch I took it easy I went to the Museo de Bellas Artes or, in English, the fine arts museum. It was a cool museum. Lots of marble statues in the main room and then there were exhibits for two abstract artists. My favorite part was the museum building from the 1880s. I also don't think I've ever actually seen a real marble statue in my life before then. There weren't many plaster casts in the museum. Most everything was real marble bronze or wood. There were some interesting abstract pieces made out of styrofoam which I had never seen as a fine arts media before.

The museum building in the Parque Forestal of Santiago. From Chile W12 Santiago3

The main museum hall. From Chile W12 Santiago3

santiago 1915 (44) palacio de bellas Artes
A view from 1915 of the museum hall.

It is a close up of a bronze horse sculpture. From Chile W12 Santiago3

Twisted and tangled wood sculptures.  From Chile W12 Santiago3

From Chile W12 Santiago3

I still had time left in the day before I had to head back to the hostel and pack my stuff up, so I decided to hike up Cerro San Cristóbal. It is a big 1000ft hill in the center of Santiago. There is a tram that takes you up to the zoo, gardens, lookouts, and a large state of the Virgin Mary at the top of the hill. I didn't want to pay for the tram after dropping several thousand pesos on lunch and I had the energy from my big meal in me, so I took one of the trails going up the hill.

The hillside with the trial to the top.  From Chile W12 Santiago3

The statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of the hill. From Chile W12 Santiago3

From the city center I couldn't see this part of Santiago because Cerro San Cristóbal was always blocking the view. Also a good view of the Andes.  I hear it is amazing when the smog goes away.  From Chile W12 Santiago3

From Chile W12 Santiago3

Looking our towards the city center. Since all the rest of Santiago is flat, this was the first time I could actually see how bit the city is.  From Chile W12 Santiago3

en 1909 se instaló la Virgen en la cumbre del cerro San Cristobal
The 1909 construction of the Virgin. 

la cumbre del Cerro San Cristobal
An aerial view of the hill from back in the day before the city had fully expanded out.

I also had some good completos to eat during my weekend. Right below my hostel were many super cheap food places. Nothing beats the largest hotdog you can find, fries, and a drink for 1.500 pesos ($3USD).   From Chile W12 Santiago3

It was a great weekend in Santiago. I was able to have a vacation away from the cold of Valdivia and there was plenty of sun for me to enjoy. Many of my Chilean friends told me that Santiago isn't a good city. They said it was unsafe, dirty, and overcrowd. Most of that my be true, but it is still an interesting city. I had a fun time there. I never felt endangered and the city is perfectly safe during the day. There was smog, but it didn't affect me. I found that the smog makes some nice red sunsets. It was a fun time meeting people in the hostel, partying in the capital city, seeing the sights, having some great food, and being able to do some salsa dancing.

The view from the top of Cerro San Cristóbal. Click to see a larger photo of it.

1 comment:

  1. Stef, your first photo is amazing! The panoramic shot out over the city is pretty great too. You're obviously having a great time, but you should come home early so you don't miss the whole swimming season. :P