Dates visited: April 17, 2014 – April 20, 2014
Since we were flying through Santiago to get to Easter Island, I decided to spend three days in Santiago. Unfortunately, based on our interests, I realized we did not have enough things to do for three days in Santiago, so we included a day trip to a nearby city—Valparaiso. Compared to other South American cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, Santiago isn’t particularly a beautiful city, but it was nice to spend a couple of days just chilling out and taking in the hustle-bustle of the city life—strolling along Paseo Ahumada and Plaza de Armas, or watching people bargain for fresh fish at Mercado Central.
We took the funicular up to Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill), the second-highest point in Santiago, to get a view of the smog-covered city. The 72-feet statue of Virgin Mary on the summit gazes towards the city, but the tranquil ambience is marred by a telecommunications tower built right next to the hill. I preferred the view from the shorter, but beautiful Cerro Santa Lucía (Santa Lucía Hill). The entrance to Cerro Santa Lucía is magnificent, but in dire need of cleaning.
We visited La Chascona, house of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Nobel Prize winner for Literature), and were amazed by his travels and his pleasant sense of interior decoration. The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art) was a hit for all of us with the highlight being the well-preserved Chinchorro mummies that predate the Egyptian mummies by 2000 years!