Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Saturday, December 20, 2014 – Santiago, Chile–Mostly Cloudy – 70s

Still waiting for El Sol to appear…

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Special K and non-refrigerated milk (now in the fridge) for breakfast.

Today, we will be doing a Grand Walkabout in the Santiago City Center.  Our “Concierges” in the Plaza Suites told us that today was some kind of Holiday and that all of the shops would be closed.  Shops usually bring out the people and that’s half the fun of walking around.

The hotel is just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas so that will be our first destination. 

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Plaza de Armas

The Plaza contains several of the iconic buildings in Santiago, including the Catedral de Santiago.

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Catedral de Santiago

The cathedral was completed in 1800 and is currently undergoing a facelift.  The tarp covering the cathedral is actually a huge graphic depicting the façade of the structure.  Quite neat…

Looking left (North) from the Cathedral is the gold colored Museo Historico Nacional.  In 1982, the Museum was moved to the “Palace of Independence”.

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Museo Historico Nacional

In front of the Museum, a charitable organization had constructed a Christmas Tree covered completely with dolls.  We couldn’t figure out the significance of the dolls but the tree as an interesting – albeit borderline creepy - variation on the theme.

20141220_Christmas tree Plaza de Armas (Small)

Dolled Up Christmas Tree

On the West side of the Plaza stands the equestrian statue of Don Pedro de Valdivia.  Don Pedro was Pizarro’s second in command and, after defeating the indigenous peoples, founded Santiago in 1541.  He was the first royal governor of Chile.

20141220_Don Pedro de Valdivia Plaza de Armas (Small)

We left the Plaza de Armas and headed to our next destination – Avenida Bernard O’Higgins, the main drag of Santiago.

We passed the Parliament Building and the beautiful grounds on our way.  I shot the building and grounds through openings in the gates.

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Parliament and Grounds

We have been in Santiago twice before and done a lot of walking but on this day, the streets and sidewalks seem to be teeming with locals.  Literally, wall to wall Chileans.  I do not recall this being the case on earlier visits.

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People Everywhere

We passed the Hotel Galleria (a hotel we considered staying at in the past) with its twin Moas guarding the entrance (recall that Easter Island is a Chilean Possession).

20141220_Moas Hotel Galleria (Small)

Avenida Bernard O’Higgins (La Alameda) is Santiago’s main street.  It runs for about five miles and can have as many as five lanes of traffic in each direction.

Along the avenue can be found the National Archives of Chile (below).

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The Church of San Francisco is also on this street.  In the past, we have stayed at the Plaza San Francisco Hotel (very pricey).  We are wiser now with our hotel bookings.

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Hotel Plaza San Francisco and Church

After our stroll down Bernard O’Higgins, we returned to the Plaza Suites for dinner (cheese sandwiches and salad).  I was impressed by how good the cherry tomatoes we had purchased at our market were.  I wonder if it’s because they have been ozonated (gassed with Ozone to kill any microbes).  I think that’s a very good way to sterilize veggies like this.  Not sure if it’s caught on in the US but the tomatoes were yummy and lasted a long time.

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Ozonated Cherry Tomatoes

Done for the day – quiet time (TV still not working) in our room (the room actually is quiet except for the bands playing in the pedestrian walkway a few blocks away – fortunately, they quit at a decent hour).

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