Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The 360 Degrees of Plaza De Armas - Santiago Chile

The hotel we stayed out while in Santiago offered a free buffet breakfast every morning.  It was the same food every morning and you will never guess, but there were hot dogs in a sauce that tasted like BBQ sauce on the buffet!

This is third meal we have had in Santiago and we have seen hot dogs THREE times!

They love their hot dogs! (Even if they do try to call them "sausages".)   This American knows a hot dog when she sees one!  Even in Rome they snuck (that's a real word) some hot dog on a pizza, but I knew.  I knew.

There were other options as well: scrambled eggs, bread for toast (or for ham and cheese sandwiches which are apparently a breakfast item in Chile).....

Hot Dogs for Breakfast Che Lagarto Hostel Santiago Chile

...kiwi, pound cake, banana halves with some spice on it (no idea what it was but it wasn't bad or spicy or recognizable), and of course coffee.

Breakfast at Che Lagarto Hostel Santiago Chile

We stuffed our faces every morning then headed out to explore.  One of the places we explored was Plaza de Armas. This is the original square of the city where people would gather for various reasons and still do to this day.

Hey, how about a free concert?  Sure, because that happens in the plaza!

Now let's mosey around the plaza, shall we?

One of the main attraction is the Metropolitana Cathedral.  It is one of the largest Catholic churches in Chile and very impressive!

Carabineros at Catedral Metropolitana Santiago Chile

I am not sure what all the police were doing there, but we saw them all over the city (which is a good thing if you ask me) just usually not in this large of a group. No one else seemed alarmed, so we carried on.

This photo is blurry but I love the contrast between the old church and the new modern building.

Old and New Catedral Metropolitana Santiago Chile

And then I just couldn't pass up the way the clouds looked against the bell towers of the church.

Top of Catedral Metropolitana Santiago Chile

Enough of the outside, let's go in.

Very grand.  Very elegant.  Also rather cold in there.  Granted we were there in late fall but still very drafty and dark.

Inside Catedral Metropolitana Santiago Chile

It is a beautiful place and nice to walk around to see the opulence even all the way up to the ceiling and domes.

Main Alter with Dome Above Catedral Metropolitana Santiago Chile

There was something there we had never seen before.  The holy water wasn't just sitting in the bowl, it dripped out from between the hands.  One drop at a time.

Holy Water Catedral Metropolitana Santiago Chile

Right outside of the church a man was creating some serious street art.  Amazing!

Jesus Street Art Outside of Catedral Metropolitana Santiago Chile

If you happened to notice that it is night in the above picture and then the next picture is daylight again, it is because we went to the church twice during our stay.  There was nothing strange going on, I promise.

So moving around the plaza we have the white building which is the central post office of Santiago.  We didn't go in, while pretty on the outside, it still is just a post office, although there is a free postal and stamp museum on the inside.  So if you are interested in that, there you go.

Plaza de Armas Post Office and National History Santiago Chile

The yellow building next to the post office is the Museo Historico Nacional (National History Museum).

Museo Historico Nacional Santiago Chile

We had some extra time to kill so we decided to go to this museum even though the history of Chile is not high on our list of exciting topics.  It is free to go in but there is a reasonable charge for an audio guide with several languages to choose from.  

We chose English because that is how we roll.  (Not because we are from a mostly monolingual country.  That had NOTHING to do with it.)

These were the coolest audio guide contraptions that we have ever come across!!  They looked a lot like the memory erasers from the movie Men in Black.

Laser Audioguide at Museo Historico Nacional Santiago Chile

To make them work you pointed the laser at a specific spot that looked like this on the wall....

Audioguide Laser Point on Wall Museo Historico Nacional Santiago Chile

....or even like this if it was in a case, clicked a button and it started telling you about what you were looking at in the language you chose at the beginning!  (Good thing, because all the written descriptions were in Spanish. Did I mention we are monolingual even on our best days??)

Audioguide Laser Point in Case Museo Historico Nacional Santiago Chile

I couldn't take pictures inside but I sneaked that one of the laser in the case because that was just too darn cool to not.  If the museum hadn't have been free we probably wouldn't have gone, even with the cool audio guides, but then again we are not history buffs either.

To finish our trip around the plaza let's take a look at the monument that is dedicated to the indigenous people of Chile.

Monumento a los Pueblos Indigenas Santiago Chile

Not sure why  he is holding his head, but it is what it is.  No, the palm tree is not replacing his head, it was just the angle I was standing. And I have no idea about that man's striped pants.

It was all a really confusing moment.

Every time we walked through, the plaza was a vibrate buzzing place and I am sure you can always find something to see there!

In my next post I will tell you about the dictatorship Chile had to endure from 1973 to 1990.  If you don't know anything about it, then come back and learn like we did on our trip.

Until then!