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Published: August 8th 2007
Santiago was first seen by European eyes in 1540. Northern terminus of the great Valle Central, Santiago is at once cultural, political and financial heart of Chile. Over 6 million people call Santiago their home, and even a brief visit to the city you can see why. Great weather, amazing views, restaurants, parks and museums. All the things a great city has can be found here, but with the backdrop of perfect Mediterranean weather and towering mountains. The roaring Mapocho River that runs through town is like the heart of Santiago itself, constantly in a rush to meet the future.
I had 4 days here after the 9 days in Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales. A time to relax, drive to the beach and visit the Termas Colinas hot spring in the Andes. Because my wallet was stolen in Torres del Paine with my credit cards and drivers license, I wasn't able to rent a car. Fortunately the most important things I could still do, see my friends!
My visit found me all over, but as usual I was camera shy in a city. Is it the people that make me nervous? the Traffic? For me the most
Its very pleasant in Fall!
interesting things to see in a city are still waiting to be captured. I spent most of my time in Providencia with friends. I went to the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and The Zoo. I saw Pablo Neruda's house in Bellavista and had a nice night out in Viticura. I took countless taxis and metro rides, caught between wanting to stay forever and go home to my life.
I happened on the roaring Mapocho river one night walking home and realized- this water is a constant reminder from the mountains and glaciers that they are never too far away. Here it was in the equivalent of a North American October, with dry and warm temps in the 70's and sunshine all day long on implausiblely steep mountains. One hour west, you are at the Mediterranean Pacific Beach towns of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso- One hour east and you can be at 9,000 foot ski resorts at the foot of 17,000 foot mountians.... *sigh...
Article about uncontrolled development in Santiago: http://na.unep.net/digital_atlas2/webatlas.php?id=32
Indispensible Chilean tourism resource: http://turistel.cl/v2/secciones/mapas/ciudades/santiago.htm
Cerro Plomo: http://www.escalando.cl/plomo.htm
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