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A River Runs Through It

It was a gorgeous morning.
Sunny but cool, around 14.  By mid
afternoon 27.  Evening a light
breeze, down to 21.  Absolutely perfect weather.
Jacqueline Kiplimo, female winner of the half marathon

 

Feral dog, thought people running was the best thing ever.  The runners had to shoo him away.  He kept ahead of the pack.  42 km was apparently nothing…

 

We took a coffee a block away on the patio at a
Starbucks.  Then SS suggested a walking
route which, I should have guessed, was more a trek than a walk.  We headed towards the Mapocho river which cuts
through the centre of town and has lovely pedestrian and bike paths.  First thing we stumbled upon a marathon, or half marathon, a measly 42 km.
Then we discovered a sculpture garden.
While the city holds (for us) very little architectural interest, public
art is everywhere, at metro stops, park benches, throughout the town.  We made a few wrong turns but eventually got
to Bellavista.
Public art is everywhere

 

 

 

 

 

Bellavista is to Santiago what Palermo was to Buenos Aires;
an older neighbourhood, in the midst of gentrification, renovation, and
rebirth.  It still has an old and
decaying feeling even while all sorts of shops and restaurants pop up.  At one end is a plaza with a tourist
funicular, quite large, which goes up Cerro San Cristobel, a mountain which is
also Santiago’s largest green space.  The
air quality here is notoriously bad, it has an LA type of geography, but we
lucked out with quite clear skies and fantastic views.  Of, well, a lot of buildings and urban
sprawl.

One side of Santiago…

 

And more of Santiago

 

Only a couple of hundred stairs from the top of the funicular

 

 

 

No corner of the country is free from feral dogs

 

Two types of messages

 

 

Looking down the funicular track
The funicular ride was a little more reassuring than the
rickety old boxes in Valparaiso.  They
had four levels, a staff person was on board, and there were two.  You separated midstream on a sidetrack.  It took about 12 minutes to get to the top, though you still had to take 226
steps to get to the Virgin of Immaculate Conception, which towers over the
park.  (Yes, I pulled a Pop and counted.)  There is an older chapel on site,
and a large open air church where, so they say, Pope JP once gave mass.  It was a mass of families and cyclists, not
churchgoers, on our visit.  But there was
plenty of tourist and religious tat to go around, for those with the interest.
After the funicular ride we strolled Bellavista and took a
Peruvian lunch on a patio at a Cebicheria (a ceviche cafe).  SS had the real thing, but they also do a vegetarian
version.  Then we shared Tequenos, like
an empanada but fried, and finally a “taller in saltado,” a stab in the dark, but
turned out to be a Peruvian version of chow mein.
 Pics around Bellavista

 

This and below: 100 year old mansion being renovated into boutique hotel

 

 

Cat with what Gordon Ramsey calls squab

 

Guess what?  There was
more walking after lunch.  We must have
been over 10km by now but we persevered into the centre, the business centre,
which unlike most cities, was nowhere near the financial centre (that’s back
where our hotel is).  It was shut up
tight like a lock.  Interesting to see
Sunday still being observed as a day of rest.
We stopped in at the modern art museum which was showing etchings by
various Chilean artists.  Had a mixed
reaction to that.  After a mosey about we
started back on the river route.  It was
stinking hot by now and we needed a few shade breaks and ended up having water
at a cafe before hitting the hotel close to 5:30.
Pictures inspired by titles of Pablo Neruda poems

 

 

 

 

Children’s school notebooks in a spiral.  Hmmm.
Siesta.
Dinner locally.  SS had a nice egg and spinach starter then risotto.  For not the first time I ordered a vegetable salad and got walnut and blue cheese, then a simple fried fish and potatoes.  Good.  Lollapalooza is in Santiago this week and the hotel was hopping.
One of my favorite concerts was the Black Eyed Peace at the Supper Bowl.
Someone had a significant birthday April 8.  SS turned [factual error].  “He turned how old?” I asked.  He turned “[expletive deleted] years old” was
the response.  So this is in fact the
most boring blog entry ever because the trip was a celebration but the day
wasn’t.  We had a lazy morning, a nice
walk through a neighbourhood called Provendicia, took lunch on the terrace at
the hotel and spent the afternoon by the pool on the roof.  It was supposed to hit 29 but I think only
got to 27.  Regardless, very hot.  I hid under the shade of a cabana.

 

The W has a beautiful lap pool with
spectacular views.  There is also a
restaurant and for some time it was the hottest destination in the city; for
whatever reason it was closed a while ago and therefore has become a magical
refuge of quiet and serenity.

There
might have been six or seven of us up there tops—and the hotel is full!  For dinner we went to Astrid y Gaston, a
Peruvian inspired restaurant, and the number one restaurant on
TripAdvisor.  Food and service were great
but it took forever to get dinner.  About
40 odd minutes for our starters and from the time we sat down to the time we
got our mains was 102 minutes.  And it
was the same for everyone.  At one point
I overheard an American man loudly complaining “I’m not going to sit here all
night…” It was not the most memorable of significant birthday dinners.

Scallops.  Sent FedEx to the restaurant upon order.

HereHare

The author of Here Hare has traveled to over 45 countries on six continents, and has lived in Canada, the UK and Australia.

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