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Published: December 7th 2018
Reaching the entrance.
On Friday, my last full day in Chile, we had the good news that the strike was over, and the Teleferico would be open that day.
Without much rush, we headed over to the Oasis Station for our ride to the top of Cerro San Cristobal and took the few minutes long path to the ticket area.
Although the carts stop mid-way up the Cerro for those passengers who want to visit the Botanical Gardens, we decided to just ride to the top, and decide later on if we wanted to stop on the way down.
It was a very good decision, as it turned out.
The views from the gondola as it climbs the side of the hill are breathtaking. It was not a clear day, but I was still swiveling around in my seat, trying to take it all in. Santiago has made days when the air is not clear because of the smog. Being a valley surrounded by high mountains is a cause for that disadvantage. I even heard about some talks to blast one of the mountains to create an opening, but it’s a talk
that has been going around for some time.
On this particular day it seemed to be more atmospheric, a little fog due to the overcast nature of the weather.
The first indication that something was wrong was when we first exited the gondola. We were the last people to arrive and when we tried to take some photos from the ledge, we were rushed off towards the exit for “security reasons.” Then we were told that the Teleferico would be closed for the next half hour.
We didn’t really think much about it at the time. I just wondered with some irritation if I looked like a three-year old who would fall off the edge, but didn’t comment and made our way to the front of the hill to view the sights.
It was my second time on Cerro San Cristobal, so I decided not to climb all the way to the top since it appeared to be quite crowded and we had another stop planned after this. But it is always impressive to look up at the beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary though, and the sky
was dotted with beautiful clouds that provided a pretty background.
Afterwards, we took some time to explore the small church to one side that has some beautiful carved reliefs on the walls, and a selection of beautifully painted crosses that lined the path and were new since the last time I had been on Cerro San Cristobal.
By the time we got back to the Teleferico station, there was a line of the employees blocking the way to the platform. They told us that it would take another 10-15 minutes before we could go down.
We waited, as the crowd grew and people started to get impatient, but kept hearing the same answer of postponement.
Finally, after specifically asking what the problem was, we found out that a very large stone behind the statue had come loose and could start a rockslide down the hill and onto the Teleferico Station. Oops!
It was looking like we had a long walk at this point but, fortunately, since we were in the very front at the time, we were the first to hear that if we walked
Gran Torre Santiago dominates every landscape of the City.
a couple of minutes down to the Plaza de Mexico, we could take a bus down the hill!
Hooray! We took off at a quick clip down the hill, and arrived with perfect timing to be one of the first to get on the 15 people bus that arrived a couple of minutes later, before the remainder of the crowd found out about it.
What a relief!
We never found out how long it took to secure the rocks, but the gondolas were definitely not moving as we drove away from the hill.
Well, that was the first mishap of the day. As we would soon find out, Mercury was in Retrograde, for sure!
Our second planned stop for the day was to visit the Baha’i Temple on a hill that offered an opportunity to see great views of Santiago, along with beautiful gardens.
It was quite a drive with Santiago’s traffic, but we were again passing through areas of Santiago that I had not seen before, and I found it fun to experience another part of the City I had not
Much to our disappointment, the temple was undergoing maintenance, and it did not open until 5 PM that afternoon. Too long to wait, and too far to leave and come back, we had to postpone it for another time.
Since we were fairly close to a new Mall (Mall Plaza Los Dominicos) that, supposedly, had a very good Peruvian Restaurant called La Nacional, we decided to make a detour and try it out. The Mall is huge! Just figuring out the parking lot was an adventure, but the restaurant we located on the rooftop terrace and the view, as promised, was gorgeous.
The third strike for the day came when I ordered a Pisco Sour and was informed that, regrettably, they still did not have a liquor license. Bummer!
But, the Causa de Camarones dish was delicious, and the view truly was worth the lack of adult beverages.
Luckily, I managed to get my Pisco Sour fix that evening during my last dinner in Chile. The W Hotel has a wonderful French Bistro, Km.0, and they have a very good Pisco Sour in
their cocktail list. Even better, their food is delicious and the Coq au Vin I had that evening was the best I've ever had. It was also filling. I could not finish the Chocolate Brownie with ice cream I ordered for dessert.
That night they also had an American singer whose vocal cords were a lot more impressive than her talent. Practically deafening when we arrived, they toned it down a bit when we commented negatively on it. A funny note was that she appeared to have all her groupies in the room with her. They never failed to applaud and cheer, regardless of how many times she had not been able to hit the high note.
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