Day 3: More of Santiago

Needless to say, after the nearly 6hr hike yesterday, we slept pretty well last night. Today was another day of exploration in downtown Santiago: on the agenda = the Northern part of the city!

Our first stop was the district of Bellavista, known as the bohemian part of Santiago. Apparently, a lot of the city’s artists and intellectuals  live in this area, and the quarter is known for its vibrant nightlife. Pablo Neruda, one of Chile’s most famous poets, also built a house here. Though we didn’t go see his house (since we were going to visit his other house in Valparaiso), we saw plenty of other colorful buildings and quaint streets 🙂

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bellavista

bellavista

lots of cafes and outdoor patio dining

In the central part of Bellavista, there is an outdoor mall-like concentration of restaurants and artisan shops known as Patio Bellavista. There are a combination of unique and chains restaurants here (i.e., Starbucks), as well as higher end souvenir shops. Think better quality, but more expensive gift items, crafted from materials like lapis lazuli–a semi precious stone with only two major deposits in the world, one in Chile and the other in Afghanistan–or copper, two of Chile’s major exports.

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patio bellavista

outdoor dining

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patio bellavista

We had originally planning to grab lunch at a popular sandwich spot in Bellavista, Ciudad Vieja, before heading to Cerro San Cristobal (which is at the edge of the district), but because the restaurant was closed, we opted for food at Le Fournil instead (because its wifi :P) French food in South America! It was basically like “Le Pain Quotidien”–I also think Le Fournil has other locations throughout Chile. 

my lunch – salmon tartar and hearts of palm salad

our dishes

..and all our dishes, from top left and clockwise: grilled salmon with rice/bean mix (K), french onion soup (C), salmon tartar (mixed) and a chicken lemon salad with shrimp (C)

After lunch, we headed to our first attraction of the day: Cerro San Cristobal! Also another super popular tourist spot for views of the city, San Cristobal is much bigger than Santa Lucia and equipped with a funicular at its  Bellavista entrance, located at Pío Nono 450, Barrio Bellavista; Baquedano,  allowing people to easily get to the summit without much effort 😛 The funicular costs about $4 USD for a roundtrip ticket, which wasn’t bad at all. There is also a zoo midway up the hill you could stop at, but we opted to go straight up.

the entrance is a castle!

the entrance is a castle!

looking up

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up we go!

It wasn’t until we were riding up the funicular that I realized how much taller San Cristobal was compared to Santa Lucia! The funicular brings you to a nice plaza surrounded by trees where you can get this view:

hi santiago!

…and if one is up for it, you can also further climb up the hill via a set of steps to the left of the funicular leading to multiple memorials, sanctuaries for prayer (including a chapel), the real summit of the hill (with even more epic views) and the famous statue of the Virgin Mary (Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción).

hi stairs to the summit

chapel, on the next level up

not quite sure what this was

the black rods can hold candles and the papers the walls are prayers

crucifixion memorial

Finally, when you reach the top, you will be greeted by this site:

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housed inside the virgin mary statue

apparently Pope John Paul II blessed the city from here in 1987

and these views 🙂

view 1

view 2

view 3

NOTE: at the bottom is where Pope John Paul II said mass in 1987

One thing we noticed was that EVERY snack stand seemed to be advertising mote con huesillos, so C decided to be brave and get some to try. Turns out mote con huesillos is a very popular summertime Chilean drink, consisting of a sweet clear nectar like liquid made with dried peaches (huesillo) cooked in sugar, water and cinnamon, and then once cooled mixed with fresh cooked husked wheat (mote) (thanks Wikipedia!). Not the most intuitive combination of ingredients I would have thought of, but it was interestingly tasty!

mote con huesillos

mote con huesillos, + C’s awesome nails 🙂

After Cerro San Cristobal, we explore Patio Bellavista a bit more for souvenirs and bought some gifts for back home. On the way out, we encountered another mini souvenir market outside. Tip: for those interested in cheap souvenirs, particularly lapis lazuli, the prices here are MUCH cheaper than the ones on the Patio.  To be fair, can’t say the quality is on the same par, but its nice to have options, isn’t it?

cheap souvenir market outside bellavista

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popular souvenirs seem to be woolen goods, lapis lazuil jewelery, copper, and leather goods

We then checked out Parque Forestal

parque forestal, basically santiago's central park equivalent

parque forestal, basically santiago’s central park equivalent

food cart selling empanada-like snacks!

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…passed by Chile’s building for tourism:IMG_7262

most beautiful tourism house ever

most beautiful tourism house ever

and found ourselves passing through the neighborhood of Lastarria, another artsy district of Santiago, where our dinner destination (as recommended by Pedro), was located.

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american plates??

a vendor selling…american state plates??

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beautiful church

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center of culture?

Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral

street art in lastarria!

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??

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We finished off the day with dinner at Liguria, a fun, vibrantly decorated place recommended to us by Pedro and known for its decor and traditional Chilean menu!

outside

inside

so much art on the walls!

so much art on the walls!

more art

place settings

in the spirit of Chilean cuisine, we ordered three seafood dishes as recommended by Pedro

grilled tilapia with avocado rice

grilled hake (merluza) with avocado rice

ostiones a parmesana and congrio a pil pil

ostiones a parmesana (think parmesan broth) and congrio al ajillo (a garlic sauce)

and finished off with dessert

dessert!

dessert! tres leche layer cake and flan P:

And thus ends Santiago day 3! New Years Eve tomorrow!

For those who missed it:
Day 1: Santiago
Day 2: Hiking in the Andes

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