Soul of Santiago

It is always great to be out on the road again! Even if it meant a long travel day.

The flight from Vancouver left at 00:15 so I think everyone on the plane conked out for the 5.5 hour flight.

Hypnotizing circles and a 4 hour layover in Mexico City!

Then another 7.5 hour flight to Santiago, Chile.

The advantage of flying mainly south is a reduced number of time zones to adjust for.

Then it was time to start exploring!

I started with the Plaza de Armas, the central square in the Centro Barrio (district).

The plaza is anchored by the Catedral Metropolitana (1748-1800)

Centro was a chaotic mix of beautiful old colonial buildings and streets filled with musicians and vendors. And the ubiquitous graffiti.

Need shoelaces?

The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is also in Centro. It is one of the premier museums for pre-Columbian artifacts but unfortunately one major exhibition hall was closed.

The ‘Before Chile Was Chile’ exhibit was open.

These wooden statues were placed on top of tombs in ancient Mapoche cemeteries. They reflect the spirit of those buried there and are intended to assist them in their journey to the afterlife.

Chinchorro tribe mummies were buried up to 1000 years before Egyptian mummies. Muscle tissue was replaced with vegetation and a clay face.

Constitution Plaza and Palacio de la Moneda (1805) which houses the offices of the President.

Mercado Central is a huge sprawling fish market with many many restaurants that all wanted your business.

Cerro Santa Lucía park was a rocky point turned park.

Parroquia Niño Jesús de Praga (1917-1920) was so interesting from a distance that I had to go. I’ve seen so many churches that I usually don’t cross the street for them!

More street vendors but selling more secondhand goods.

There are all the regular shopping malls that are the same every where, and lots of shiny skyscrapers.

First, but not last, empanada

Hotel rooms for 3 hours. Hmmmmm?

Iglesia de San Francisco, a Franciscan church, was consecrated in 1622. Parts have been reconstructed because of earthquake damage.

In the 20th century, the monastery was demolished to build the Paris-Londres Barrio.

Barrio Paris-Londres was a tiny neighborhood just behind the church.

It is only two intersecting streets (Paris and Londres) but is full of beautiful townhouses built in the 1920’s.

It’s hard to believe that this last house was a secret detention and torture centre in the 1970’s during Pinochet’s military dictatorship (1973-1990).

In the years since it has been a political seesaw trying to get the right mix of industry while protecting the environment, health and economic inequality.

The ‘have-nots’ don’t have mining shares.

These battered police vehicles with grates over all the glass were probably involved in the 2019 protest riots.

A member of the opposition, left wing Gabriel Borec, helped broker a deal that threatened to bring down the right wing government.

He then became President at age 36, in December 2021, and began to rewrite the Constitution, which had been part of the deal. The old Constitution had been written by a Pinochet.

Unfortunately the revised version was too radically left wing, and was rejected by a referendum in September, 2022.

It’s now hoped the next version will be more balanced and accepted.

But like countries, Chile is being hit with inflation.

The metro has allowed me to expand my territory. But first I had to figure out how to buy and load a BIP card!

I did a dry run to find the bus station I’ll need today. I’m glad I did.

There are several bus stations, and even at my Estación Sur there are three different terminals!

So time to post and pack up for Santa Cruz. See you there!

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