Six of the eight couples on the South American adventure met at Sydney airport for the flight to. Santiago. A relatively relaxing and simple 12 hours later and we landed on. Santiago where we met up with the other two couples and headed for the hotel.
John and I had a quick nap and then headed out to see what was close to the hotel. A few empanadas for lunch and a wander through the local area and shopping mall then back to the hotel to meet up for dinner. Dinner was at a local restaurant recommended by the hotel – good but not great. It was, however, a time for the group to reunite and to welcome and settle in newbies to the group, Mike and Kay who will be driving a maroon MGBGT, call sign Shiraz.
Who else in on the adventure? Dave is back at the helm driving his MGA, call sign RIP, with his wife Laurel. Returning adventurers include Ken and Sue driving Red Car, Peter and Wendy driving Green Car, Ross and Shez driving Blue B, the tag team of Ian and Lorraine and Simon and Maddy driving Navy Car and George and Cherie driving Caspar2.
Day 2 – Santiago
A whole day to explore the city of Santiago which we did mostly on foot. We got off to a promising start by catching the metro in the opposite direction to the one we wanted to two in! A quick rectification of this by hopping off at the next station, changing platforms and changing trains and direction. So, a second start to the day.
We caught the train to the main plaza in the centre of Santiago, the Plaza de Armas. The cathedral fronts this square and is supposed to be an imposing and elegant building from the outside. At present the building is undergoing an extensive external restoration and the whole front of the building is wreathed in hoarding material. The interior is very dimly lit which gives it a rather gloomy atmosphere, however it is big with, as is typical in Catholic cathedrals, many side chapels.
Santiago cathedral Nativity scene in the cathedral
Back to the sunshine and a walk to the Precolombian Museum. This has recently reopened after a big remodelling and it is a beautiful museum with some fabulous exhibits which are exceptionally well displayed and most signs are in both Spanish and English, so good for us. We spent a good hour here and it was well worth it. Some of the display was reminiscent of here Inca Gold exhibition in Canberra earlier this year. Seeing and reading this again solidified what we had seen there.
Then off to the central fish market. This is in a very large building and, unusually, the stalls selling fish and seafood were surrounded by small fish restaurants. My guess is that there would have been around 40 restaurants associated with the fish market.
Lunch time and John spotted a lovely cafe/restaurant in the Parque Forestal. I have always been very fond of Tart Tatin so this was lunch, and a good tart it was, also. A very pretty setting for the cafe with beautiful trees and lawns. There is a lot of hand watering in Santiago which is dry throughout summer and there were a number of large hoses being used throughout the park. Just near the restaurant a hose had been left running with quite some pressure of water spurting out the nozzle which was flipping back and forwards ink response tot he pressure. This was providing a local dog with great entertainment as it chased the nozzle along the ground.
Virgin Mary overlooking Santiago Figures in Precolombian museum
We then decided to walk to the funicular which ascends the Cerro San Cristobal, the hill right in the heart of Santiago, to the statue of the Virgin Mary which graces the top of this hill. A spectacular view of the city is laid out before you from the top of the hill.
Back on the metro, in the right direction this time, and back to the hotel for a wee rest before dinner. Tomorrow we are off to Valparaiso to pick up the cars.