Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cerro San Cristóbal - Santiago Chile

I never thought that going to see a hill would be something we would do as tourist but in Santiago there are several hills that are perfect for a quick reprieve from the hustle and bustle (read that noise) of the city, plus there were sights to see at the one we went to (even including a zoo, which we did not go to.)

Cerro in Spanish means hill, so when I tell you that we went to Cerro San Cristóbal all that means we went to the San Cristóbal hill as oppose to any of the other hills.  (I know, it sounds more exciting in Spanish, but it is what it is.)

On the day we decided to go, the metro line we needed was shut down due to a water line break that caused flooding in several stations.  Luckily, the hill was just a little over a mile from our hotel and we were able to walk to it easily.

Little did we know that were going to be student protests that day.  The government promised that they would provide free university and the students felt the education overhaul was taking too long, so to the streets they went.

Student Protest Santiago Chile

They were peaceful and it was hard to really be worried when the theater group went by.....

...but you just never know when someone might change that, so we were a little leery.  We tried to avoid the area they were in but somehow kept getting right in the middle of it all.

There were a ton of cops all over the place and they didn't seem to worried.  So that helped to put us at ease.  I mean really, that one cop is petting the stray dog...

Carabineros During Student Protest Santiago Chile

I am glad we didn't find out until we got home some of the events that did happen that day.  The police did have to get involved and some students desecrated a church.  

We do think that the ones who caused the issues probably were not really there to protest for free education.  They were probably the ones who just go around looking for and causing trouble.  If you really want to see change you are more likely going to go about it the right way to show you are serious.  But of course, there will be little idiot thugs who don't think about those things and end up giving the entire group a bad reputation.

We managed to finally get away from the protesters and continued on our original journey to the hill which we were close to by now.  You see that statue on the hill?  That was our objective!

Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

The route we took lead us through the Bellavista barrio of Santiago.  It is the bohemian section of the city with street art galore!  Just check out the three below!  These were all on just one section of one road!

Corner Street Art in Bellavista Barrio Santiago Chile

Tagger Street Art in Bellavista Barrio Santiago Chile

Teddy Bear Street Art in Bellavista Barrio Santiago Chile

To get to the top of the hill you can drive, bike, take the stairs, or ride the funicular.  

If there is a funicular, I am there!  This was our third encounter with a funicular.  The first one was in Budapest and the second one in Paris.

Funicular Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

Before that I have NEVER heard of a funicular, but what can you expect from someone who grew up in flatter than flat west Texas??

We just happened to get there in time to be the first ones in line for the next ride up so I just knew I would be able to get some GREAT photos.  I was not disappointed!

I don't think we would have made the trek up the steps.  This hill just kept going an going and at a pretty steep rate (also know as slope in the math world....sorry had to throw that in there).

Tracks of Funicular up Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

We were not even to the top of the hill for this view of the city!

Cerro Santa Lucia from Funicular Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

That green hump in the middle is one of the other hills of note in the city called Cerro Santa Lucia.  We never did make it up that hill but it was still neat to be able to see it from where we were.

Once at the top, not only are the city views great but the views of the Andes Mountains are even better! I was going for an artist shot with the juxtaposition (look at me using a big word and correctly using it!!) of a tropical tree and snow covered mountains.

Palm Tree and Snowcapped Andes Mountains Seen From Cerro San Cristobal Santiago Chile

And then there was this view of the mountains and the Costanera Center that I talked about in my last post.  Even if the Costanera Center is the tallest building in South America it can't hold a candle to those mountains!

Constanera Center and Andes Mountains Seen From Cerro San Cristobal Santiago Chile

After that strenuous trip up the hill (in the funicular) we decided we needed a break and a snack.  There just happened to be a little cafe up on the hill that had two Chilean delicacies that were on my "to eat" list.

First up, empanadas!  We got two different ones to split, a plain cheese one and one called empanada de pino which had ground beef, onion, egg, and olive.  I liked the cheese one the best.

Pino Empanada Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

The second food bucket list was this:

Mote con Huesillos Sign Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

Mote con Huesillos is a super super sweet drink containing peaches and mote which is something like pealed barely or wheat berries.  That first sip tasted just like a peach syrup it was so sweet.  I ended up just eating some of the mote which was quite tasty.  It was less than $1.40 so I didn't feel too bad when I had to toss the rest for just being too sweet.

Mote con Huesillo Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

As we set there a stray cat came up and joined us for awhile.  It didn't hurt that I kept giving it scraps of empanada.  Frankie wouldn't give it any and that cat KNEW.  That cat was giving Frankie the stink eye!

Stray Cat Hanging Out with Us Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

Refreshed and rehydrated we continued on our way.  We walked up a long ramp that had several crosses leading to small sanctuary.

I really like the first cross. Visually it wasn't the most impressive, but I liked what it said, "Padre, perdónalos porque no saben lo que hacer."  It is from Luke 23:34 and means, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."  Jesus said it as he hung on the cross, dying for our sins.

Father Forgive Them Cross Cerro San Cristobal Santiago Chile

This was my favorite cross, but it more than likely it is the background that drew me to it!

Jesus on Cross with Andes Mountains Cerro San Cristobal Santiago Chile

Our goal was to make it to the Virgin of Immaculate Conception statue and we accomplished that goal!

Virgin of Immaculate Conception Statue Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

It is actually more than just a statue.  It is also a sanctuary.  I don't know if was open.  We didn't even check!  In fact, I didn't even think of checking until right now!  We didn't see anyone coming in and out so I am thinking it wasn't open but man, I wish I had checked!!

Right around the corner, there was a memorial place and prayer area where people had left trinkets, pictures, and notes.

Memorial Wall Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

I am afraid this one was in memory of a baby who passed away, but I can hope it was put there in prayers of healing or in thanks in healing.

Pacifier on Memorial Wall Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

I really liked this sign. Translated it says "God is bigger than your problem".  So there was hope in this place for sure.

Dios es mas grande que tu problema (God is greater than your problem) Sign on Memorial Wall Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

When you go up a hill, you must come down the hill.  So we did.  There is one place in the tracks where two funicular cars pass each other.  It is just a tad unnerving seeing the other car come at us.

My final photo just happens to be one of my favorite of the entire trip. I just love the leaves on the track.  It is simply lovely!

Going Down the Hill in the Funicular Cerro San Cristóbal Santiago Chile

In my next post we will go to the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda's, house.  Never heard of him?  Don't worry, we hadn't either!  Come back and learn all about him!

Until then!