Everyone has now arrived in Santiago where we were told it doesn’t rain from October to March. A beautiful city by South American standards where a battalion of park workers armed with hoses connected to an abundant stream direct from the Andes make sure everything stays green. On our first evening, John found a nearby restaurant which promised to deliver the authentic Chile experience, and it did in spades. One end of the table groaned under the weight of two huge plates of steaks and blood sausages while at the other end where the majority were sitting, a few pieces of undercooked fish were shared sparingly. There may be a parable somewhere in this.
Today we all shook off the jet lag and headed into the old part of town using the very efficient Metro. We had split into several groups but ended up bumping into each other at the Pre Columbian Art Museum where we all pretended to know more than we really did about the history of the various civilisations of South and Central America. Dave came up with the most challenging version in which the original settlers of South America and Australia all originated from Antarctica….hmmm,
We also walked through the city square where Allende was overthrown by his military on 11 Sep 1973 but couldn’t find any apparent evidence of the bullet holes.
Santiago’s most popular tourist spot is the 900m high Cerro San Cristobal with its impressive statue of the Virgin Mary unfortunately now dwarfed by a huge communication tower located less than 50 metres away. You would have thought in a country where 90% of the people are Catholics that they could have come up with a better idea. We started on the walk up the hill to avoid the lengthy queue for the funicular railway but after two false attempts at finding the right track, gave up and walked back to the now much shorter queue. A much better option on a 32 deg day and both the views and cool breeze at the top were appreciated.
An early start is planned to tomorrow when we get a bus to pick up the cars…