Santiago Walking Tour, Part Two

Our guide was from Bolivia.

As we walked, Andrew mentioned to me that most of the time on the free walking tours, our guides are rarely from the country we’re in. They’re usually expats from other countries, who have adopted this new country as their home.

I suggested that it might be because no one ever really appreciates where they’re from. Like, there’s this thought that if you actually appreciate the place you’re from, that’s probably just because you just don’t know anything else, you’ve never seen anything else. And so, people hardly ever show off the actual place they’re from. Is that it?

Or maybe it’s just a case of human nature, taking what you have for granted, always wanting something beyond your grasp…

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Something else I should note about this day… there were homeless dogs all over the place. And we were there in July, which is the dead of winter. It doesn’t look quite like the “dead of winter” for us at home, where right now we have about 6 feet of snow everywhere and it’s minus 42 with windchill. But, it’s chilly in July in Chile. OH MY GOODNESS I just realized I wrote “It’s chilly in Chile”. Ugh. You know what’s worse? I’m not even going to delete it. Because I kinda like it, even though it’s highly overused. I don’t care. SO ANYWAY. The story about the homeless dogs. They were following us a lot and our guide seemed to know them, probably from his daily guide route. Furthermore, several of these dogs were wearing sweaters. One particular shirt had some writing in Spanish. We asked our guide what it said: “Please don’t remove my sweater, it is the only thing I have.” He said many of the people in Santiago take care of the homeless dogs. Aw. This touched my cold stone heart. Alas we did not get a picture of the dog with the sweater with the writing on it… but this same dog did find Andrew and I later that night, and crossed the street with us before going his own way down the block. We watched him go for a bit… then looked at each other, shrugged, smiled, and continued to our own destination.

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San Cristóbal Hill is the second-highest point in Santiago. The Virgin Mary sits atop:

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This is the path that leads you up San Cristóbal Hill:

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Winter in Chile: snow-capped mountains and palm trees.

You’ve probably seen a map of Chile before. It is very long and skinny and snakes along most of South America’s west coast. Chile’s interesting shape follows its two mountain ranges — the Coastal Mountains, and the Andes. And smog can often be trapped between. Which I have to say… makes for some remarkable pictures. It makes the mountains looming over the city look almost dreamlike.

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Oh hey, did you see the statue above?

Here it is, closer:

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WHY

Why is there a fake Home Simpson by the statue? And why are people feeling compelled to pose for photos with it? (And yes, I did blur out the faces of other random tourists. I’m weird like that.)

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Our tour concluded at Barrio Bellavista, at Pablo Neruda’s house:

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“In 1953 Pablo Neruda began construction of this house, which he named ‘La Chascona,’ in honor of his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. The poet lived in La Chascona for many years, and when he died on 23 September 1973, he was mourned here.”

And then we were set free to explore Bellavista. It’s the most lively, fun part of the city… tourists love it. And the shop-owners love the tourists.

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A scene from Bellavista. With San Cristóbal Hill in the background.

We stopped here and picked up a wine-pipe. Because Chile makes great wine:

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And then we went to KrossBar which was just around the corner. It had only been open two weeks! Found this gem:

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The taste of home: Manitoba beer.

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But I should note that they also make a lot of their own beer… and we enjoyed a fair bit of it. A lovely way to warm up and conclude our afternoon. We revisited KrossBar the next evening and it was at maximum capacity so the only place we could fit was in the standing lounge (by the way, a standing lounge is a great idea!). I’m glad they’re doing well! If you’re in Santiago, you should go to KrossBar in Bellavista.

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Winter in Santiago. Beautiful.

And then we took the train to go visit a museum. As we do.

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