Santiago Walking Tour

Trip Start Jun 10, 2010
Trip End Jul 31, 2010

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today (12/6/10) we did a short (3 hour) walking tour of Santiago.  We were picked up at 8.30am and drove through the city to meet our guide.  Santiago has a population of approx 6.5 million and the housing is mostly apartments so there are a lot of high rise buildings everywhere.  Santiago was founded in 1541 so the architecture here is very old.  We saw damage from the recent earthquake which was measured at approximately 8.3 on the richter scale in Santiago.  The epicentre was about 120km away in Concepcion.  There were a few road bridges that collapsed that were being rebuilt, and there was an apartment building right at the foot of a hill, which had a mud slide which still enveloped the bottom part of the building.

Santiago is surrounded by mountains.  In Autumn and Winter there is a smog/pollution buildup because there is little wind.  If it rains you can get a good view (bella vista) after the rain.  Today is a beautiful, crisp day  but no wind so the smog is hanging around

We walked up Santa Lucia Hill to see the Castillo Hidalgo.  It is no longer occupied but is used as a function center for weddings etc.  The Castillo Hidalgo included the fortifications at the top of the hill and also the front courtyard entry with a fountain.

We saw the Museo Bella Artes or Museum of Beautiful Art or what would be our Fine Arts Museum, and walked through the Museo Parque de las Esculturas along the Mapocho River which descends from the Alps and runs 120km down to the coast. I much preferred the walking tour, it was good to get some leg work after spending so long on the flights here and you get to see more of the city when walking rather than in a tour bus.

To get to the top of Cerro San Cristobel, we went up in the Funicular or the 45 degree tram car.  There is a 5km road that winds the hill to walk, run or ride up or you can take the Funicular straight up the approx 450 meter high hill overlooking Santiago city centre.  At the top is the Statue of the Virgin overlooking and protecting the city.

There are a lot of dogs in the city.  They have no dog control so there are a lot of dogs around, however they look to be in pretty good condition.  They were all healthy, no mange, seemed to get enough food, ie they weren't skin and bone or anything.

I like the language and wish I had spent more time learning Spanish before coming over.  I am making do with my Spanish for Dummies book but enjoying trying out what words I do know.  The people here are very friendly and they love kids.
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Jenny on

Wow Tanya and Pete
What a good way to keep us informed about your trip! Almost felt like we were traveling with you again. Enjoy every minute of it and with you all a safe journey. Hope the boys are having great fun too?

Dad/Mum on

We check every morning for your comments but today checked all the photo's out- just great -obviously all ahving a great time even if you look a little rugged up This is a fantastic way to keep in touch. Keep taking car hope you enjoyed your trip to Valparaiso. All our love as always xxxxxxxxxx

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