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Published: December 4th 2018
My second day in Chile, Sunday, we decided to visit the historical neighborhood of Barrio Lastarria, which is a very popular tourist hub packed with cafes, restaurants, and eye catching street art.
We reached the “Alameda” (Avenida Liberador Bernardo O’Higgins) by Metro via the Universidad Catolica metro station. The Metro wasn not too crowded on a Saturday, and it is certainly a very quick and efficient way to get around. It is certainly helpful not to have to try to find parking, which is always difficult and expensive.
Our first stop was GAM, or the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, and the two exhibits it was hosting. Built in 1972, it was originally a convention center, and since 2010 it has been a cultural center open to the public, devoted to promoting performing arts and music. When we first arrived we observed a couple of different youth groups practicing in one of the halls. They were not very coordinated, but at least they were practicing!
Of the two exhibits we saw, one exhibit displayed the works of several artists that base their designs on contemporary Mapuche art, and use the same ancient methods
of coloring using natural tints from plants and trees, and the other used sets and scenes of a movie (La Casa Lobo) that appears to have had a cultural impact. Since I never saw the movie, to me it was more weird than meaningful.
Afterwards we made our way to nearby Cerro Santa Lucia, to walk around a side I had not been to before, mostly the lower trails and walk ways. The park is essentially vertical, the walks keep moving up and winding around the hill with various staircases leading to the terraces on each level that provide a place to relax and take in the view. As parks go, I find Cerro Santa Lucia to be one of the most outstanding ones, for its lush greenery as well as its many bronze gates, metal stairways, and various fountains and statues. It is a beautiful oasis in the center of the City, and it well deserves its fame for its greenery and architecture, not to mention the long historical importance the hill has always had in the history of the City.
Then we made our way to historical Barrio Lastarria, and meandered on
its main street lined with street vendors, murals, restaurants and bars.
At the end of the street, we arrived at a crowded patio adorned with fountains and coverings, and chose Quitral Restaurante for our lunch.
This restaurant was not our first choice. The other two restaurants we had in mind were not open on Sunday, much to our surprise, maybe because the crowd appears to be light on Sundays. But this restaurant ended up being very nice.
A third Pisco Sour quickly refreshed me since it was rather hot, and my chosen dish of Papas Rellenas (stuffed potatoes) was neither too big or too small, and excellently made.
I left the restaurant feeling replete, but could not resist the temptation to have an ice cream from Santa Rosa for dessert. One scoop I thought, but it was served in a cup with an inverted cone on top, so I got definitely more than I bargained for. It was difficult to choose from, but the Dulce de Leche ice cream was absolutely the best I have ever had. I had heard said that Santa Rosa’s treats are rated amongst
the best in the world, and I believe it!
Later on that evening, we had a most anticipated “Happy Hour” on the balcony in the front of the apartment overlooking the Golf Course Los Leones and the distant hills. The light of the setting sun, not until around 9 PM, reflecting in the snow of the Cordillera is one of my favorite experiences when I am in Santiago. The view is spectacular indeed. An excellent Chardonnay from Emiliana Vineyards, and a wide variety and cheeses and many other Hors d'oeuvres to choose from contributed to an outstanding evening.
A second delightful day in Santiago ended, but the remainder of the week promised many other fun experiences.
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