Wed 22 Jul 2009 6 °C
As I heard, after the rain sun usually comes out, and it was like that today. I was finally able to see snow capped mountain tops of Andes that Santiago is surrounded with and scene was phenomenal.
I started the day by climbing the small hill “Santa Lucia” where the castle Hidalgo is located, from where the founder of Chile Pedro De Valdivia used to rule the country. To reach the top, I went through the maze of stone stairs and hidden pathways and passed by number of fountains and monuments. From the top of the hill, fantastic view of Andes opened up as smog cleared up a bit. Here, the old man from yesterday chatted me up again, with the same strike of the educational workers story. He didn’t recognize me, and after my comment that he is all over the city and that I remember him from yesterday, he disappeared like magic. Aah old man is a master of his domain….
Later on, Gustavo joined me and he showed a few more city attractions, among them the powerful presidential palace “Palacio De La Moneda”, main justice court, Chilean government building, and neighbourhood “Cocha y Torro” where several artists - architects competed with building architecture originality. We also entered the main city’s Cathedral that left me speechless by number of details and its magnificence. Not quite like St. Peter’s cathedral in Vatican but close. City is abound with perfectly maintained and preserved plazas, parks, and open spaces that maybe more than anything else give it its grandiose flare. So far I found London to be the best cosmopolitan city I ever saw, however Santiago makes a competition now.
I am totally relaxed these days, however I do still think of the obligations coming up. Today I was informed that on Sunday at 3 pm we have a orientation meeting at “Hostelling International” with the people going to Chile’s north region (15 of us). Before that however I still have time to fool around a little more, so with that in mind tomorrow I am heading to the coast, and will stay 3 days in Vina Del Mar, popular touristy place here.
A little about the culture and tradition. Since I started feeling problems with acid reflux, I am avoiding coffee, however today I couldn’t resist the smell coming from a interesting looking cafeteria – in Latin American style. I ordered a cappuccino, and I got café Monte Cristo of some other mix of coffee and amaretto decorated with a thick layer of heavy whip cream, waffles, sprinkled with colorful chocolate bits, all that with a big straw. Umbrella they forgot. Responding to my question, the waiter confirmed this is cappuccino so I drank it joyfully!
“Capuccino” in cool café: US$4