Today it was about 97 degrees and I decided to take the day to wander around Santiago alone. I was out and about around 1:30 and knew there were so many options of places I could go so I just chose a direction and started walking. One thing I immediately noticed was the amount of statues every where in Santiago, I felt like every block had some kind of monument with a story to tell. One thing I noticed today that I wasn’t too fond of was the amount of advertisements that fill the city; every where you look, on top of every building you see one. This really helped me put into perspective the concept my teacher spoke about when she said everything was becoming a business in Chile.
One of the first places I arrived at was el Parque Forestal, it’s a beautiful park with many exotic trees planted all around. I loved that these trees had stones with their description and their origins, I hated that most of them had graffiti over them making them difficult to read. A statue I found interesting in the park was one if Abraham Lincoln, having a United States President in a Chilean park really emphasized the United States influence, the graffiti all over the sculpture have me a sense of how Chileans feel about it.
When I reached the end of the park there was a museum but I decided not to go in for fear it was part of a trip built into my program (turned out it wasn’t) so I kept walking. I ended up at el Cerro de Santa Lucia but this time at a different entrance. I hadn’t had the chance to walk up it yet so I knew this was the perfect time to do so. As I started walking up I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in, I just decided to keep choosing random paths just to see where they would lead. There were several different sculptures on the way up and castle-like structures as well. I saw an intriguing tree with the names of different people carved in so I decided to leave my mark on Santa Lucia as well. As I got closer to the top the view just continued to get more beautiful. It is just so breathtaking how small you can feel looking down at Santiago from a Cerro but at the same time feel like you’re on the top of the world. Today I realized I would love to live in a place like this, with the hustle and bustle of the city life but an easy escape into nature whenever it’s desired. Once I reached the top of the Cerro I had a stranger take a picture of me and then just enjoyed the view and the quiet for some time.
When I started making my way down I saw a lady with a kart selling Mote con Huesillo, I knew this was a very popular refreshing Chilean beverage and I couldn’t think of a time more perfect to try one. It was DELICIOUS! It’s made with wheat on the bottom, some sort of peach juice and a dried peach is put inside and opens up as it absorbs the juice. I’m not a big fan of many juices so I was quite surprised by how much I liked it.
When I was reaching the bottom I stopped I to a Japanese garden located in the Cerro which was quite beautiful as well. There were several Japanese structures and plants, el Cerro de San Cristóbal also happened to have a japonés jardín so it seems it is popular in Santiago.
Once I reached the bottom of the Cerro I headed back home before heading to a cooking class we were partaking in as part of our program. The hot summer day and the walk up the hill was the perfect reason to stop at an ice cream shop and have my first Chilean milkshake. The flavor was great, Chantilly, but it wasn’t as thick as I usually prefer them, but it seems Chilean milkshakes are just made more milky. Anyone who knows me knows I love milkshakes so I enjoyed it regardless.
The day was overall very relaxing and I’m glad I took a day in Chile to enjoy the city on my own. I wish I had more time here to do things like this more often but I’m making the most of what I can every day. I’ll follow up with pictures of the great day.