Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Santiago, Part I

Erin and I arrived in Santiago early and found our hostel. I had lived in Santiago before for a half-year in 2005, so knew my way around a little.

Standing on the top of Cerro Santa Lucía, an old fortress built on a hill in the middle of the city. The history and foundation of Santiago is an interesting story, either hilarious or tragic, depending if you are rooting for the indigenous people or the conquistadores. Cerro Santa Lucía plays a somewhat prominent role.
From santiago

The best museum in Santiago is the Museo de Arte Precolombino. Not only is the collection extensive and excellent, it is very well curated.

From santiago

Yesterday, we tried get into the Andes to climb a mountain, Cerro Plomo. Near the ski areas east of Santiago, Cerro Plomo is the highest thing you can see from Santiago. We planned on trying to hitch a ride from where the road splits off from Avenida Las Condes, a major arterial.

We managed to botch the pre-approach so hard that we never even left the city. We got on a bus, maybe even the right bus, to take us to the end of Las Condes. But we never knew. With our cumbersome, bothersome packs we ended up securely stacked in the corner of the bus as a growing hoard of pingüinos--middle school students in black and white uniforms that look penguins--stormed the bus. I had already known from prior experience that at rush hour, it's near impossible to travel with any luggage by public transit, but had not counted on this initial rush hour of students.

By the time we could escape the bus, we were by the evocatively-named Cerro 18 (Hill #18), which I had of course never heard of, and dusk was falling, as was our desire to be in Santiago for much longer. It was clear that we wouldn't be finding a ride up to La Parva that afternoon, and Erin and I were feeling fairly cityed out from the whole experience. We took a seat at a bus stop that looked promising to take us back to terra cognita. It had been sappingly-hot all afternoon, but finally the heat was breaking. The cordillera was turning a nice shade of red, and the heladeros were out in force selling icecream. It was as pleasant an afternoon as I had ever had in Santiago.

Erin looked over at me and made it clear that this was my mission, and my call. I looked up the illuminated mountains, very nice. I then looked back down to the south, and a bus with people packed like firewood lumbered past. We turned tail and fled for La Serena.


  1. Plomo again casts turmoil on gringo plans to ascend her. Her power must be growing, to strike as far as the city. I'm glad you had a helado instead of a chilly snow.

  2. Plomo plunders again! She strikes gringo plans to ascend her down in the city, impressive. Well, I'm glad you enjoyed a helado instead of a chilly snow and being overtaken by a middle aged man in running shorts.