Travel to Chile
Day 6 Calama - Santiago de Chile
After taking the plane in Calama and to stop Antofagasta, we arrived at the fertile Central Valley, the heart of Chile, which contains 70 per cent of the total population. In the Valley is Santiago, the capital, with almost one third of the population, Valparaiso, Chile´s main port and Viña del Mar, the country´s main resort.
Santiago de Chile: In the foothills of the Andes stands the capital of Chile, a large city of more than five million inhabitants. Since the city can organize more varied walks: the beach, the countryside or mountains are little more than an hour by car.
Cross from east to west along the Mapocho River, the Chilean capital is surrounded by hills in the nearly 40 square kilometers of surface area, which gives him a unique appearance. At the heart of Santiago stands the Cerro Santa Lucia, on the basis of which camped (in 1541) its founder, Spanish Pedro de Valdivia. It was he who first designed the layout of the city, following the classic Spanish grid that is still preserved in the middle.
The Plaza de Armas (square) is surrounded by interesting buildings like la Municipalidad (city hall), Palacio de Correos (Post office), the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, the National Historical Museum -formerly Palacio de la Real Audiencia- and the Bulnes and Fernández Concha portals. Here is also the Stock Exchange, the courts, many private offices and the Palace of La Moneda (eighteenth century), the seat of government.
A few steps from the center, and along the Mapocho River, is the Forest Park, famous for its elegant boulevards and covered by bananas. Can not fail to visit the former Mapocho Station, now a center for conventions and exhibitions and the Central Market, prefabricated metal building architecture in England and place to sell seafood, vegetables and fruits.
In the middle of Forest Park is located the Museum of Fine Arts, which exhibits a permanent collection of over 3.000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings. Nearby is the cultural and artistic Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro, which houses art schools, galleries and bookstores.
Crossing the river will reach the Mapocho Barrio Bellavista, the bohemian center of Santiago. Many restaurants, theaters, craft centers, cafes, rooms for recitals, art workshops and art galleries have opened recently. It is in this bustling neighborhood where is "La Chascona", home of the Nobel Prize for Literature Pablo Neruda.
At the back of this suburb stands the Metropolitan Park, consisting of three hills in a large area, occupying much of Santiago. At the peak of Cerro San Cristobal, to 880 meters can be reached by a scenic cable car, or in a modern cable car, by car or on foot. At the top stands a gigantic image of the Immaculate Conception of 36 meters in height.
Santiago - Cerro San Cristobal
Another major recreation area in Santiago is the O'Higgins Park, with gardens, tennis courts, an insect museum and an aquarium, all decorated with places like Pueblito, a set of typical food restaurants and stalls crafts and Fantasilandia, the park of entertainment for young and old.
Also highligths the Quinta Normal, 40 hectares, a large recreation center that was designed in the last century as a venue to acclimatize foreign fauna. Today, it has a pond, fields and meadows where rest and picnic, in addition to four museums: the Natural History, the oldest of its kind in Latin America, exhibiting collections entomological, geological, anthropological, archaeological and zoological, Artequin Museum, in an early-century building with reproductions of works of art, the Railway Museum, with 13 old cars and locomotives and the Museum of Science and Technology.
To the east, has emerged the Barrio alto (top quarter), with the elegant sections of Providencia, Las Condes, Vitacura, Santa Maria de Manquehue, La Dehesa and La Reina.
Birthday in Francisco´s home