That’s what we are today – The Ultimate Tourists
First we slept way too late, then grabbed a coffe and biscuit, and waited at the corner for our Hop-on, Hop-off City Tour bus, the Turiska. I know….it may seem lame to some, but it does give a lot of history and an overall view of the city, plus when one is lame, it’s a welcomed sight. And since this is Good Friday and most stores and museums are closed, this seemed like a wise choice.
So I hobbled aboard and leaned back for a very enjoyable ride. Our first stop was Parque Metropolitano, a 722 acre park, where we stood in line for an hour to ride the steepest and longest funicular that we’ve ridden thus far (seems like Disneyland ). But the wait was well worth it! The panoramic view from atop was grand and a large white statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception stands looking out over the city with protecting arms.
The park was a must see and was the only place where we hopped off to explore. The remainder of our tour was spent on the open top level of the bus, listening with our headphones as the narrator pointed out the most important sites and buildings along the route. So much information. Half of our time was spent listening and half just laughing at our frail attempts to capture the sites on camera as the bus rolled by them. Many pictures include parts of the bus and the top of my crutch 🙂
Santiago, named after Saint James the apostle, was founded in 1541. When the Spaniards arrived, they encountered some of Chile’s first indigenous people, the Incas and Mapuches, both proud, fierce people who were reluctant to give up their lands. The Mapuche still dwell mainly south of here and continue to strive to retain their autonomy.
Along the route we viewed Plaza de Armas and Plaza Constitucion (both home to many important government buildings and similar to plazas we saw in Madrid), La Moneda (The Presidents Palace ), San Francisco Church (built in 1630), Sanhatten (the financial district named after Manhatten), the Mercado Central, El Golf (a luxurious business district), and a beautiful tree-lined street, home to several foreign embassies, just to name a few.
And right in in front of our hotel sits the Las Condes Civic center which contains a theater and is surrounded by an outdoor sculpture museum. We noticed as we departed the bus and began walking toward our hotel that a stage was being constructed. We made a mental note to find out what was happening here.
But first things first. Since we had only eaten a biscuit and half a cereal bar all day, we were quite hungry so you can imagine our joy when we walked into our luxurious hotel and saw that it was tea time. We immediately plopped down on some cushy chairs and began nibbling on delectable petit sandwiches and a variety of tempting sweets. The waitress served us champagne and then expresso. Yummilicious!
As we indulged, the concereige walked up and described what was happening outside. A procession was starting far down the street and was moving this way. It was a reenactment depicting the fourteen stages of the cross and in front of the civic center, just minutes from our door would be the final stage, the crucifixion. Evidently, several of these performances were occurring all over the city.
Most Chileans profess Catholicism so a large crowd was expected. Wes and I walked outside to witness it – I thought it was tastefully done and the music was simply beautiful.
Before hitting the sack, we topped off our day with a glass of wine and a snack.
This was a Good Friday 🙂