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Published: September 14th 2014
What a couple of days I have had. The weather turned on Saturday and is rained all bloody day. I can tell you that Santiago is not a nice place when it rains, especially after a long time without it. The street are full of water and the cars seem to seek people out just so they can spray them.
But since I am not in Santiago for a long time, sitting in the hotel room and watch TV without understanding a word was not an option. So my new friends picked me up and we took the train to the military museum. Well sort of as there was quiet a walk from the train station to the museum. When we arrived we were soaked.
The museum was very interesting and well presented, except that not one of the explanations was in English. All in Spanish and without the concerted efforts of my amigos I would have looked at pretty paintings, pictures and weapons and uniforms. It is actually a real problem here in Chile with the English in the museums; not one has English explanations. So if you ever come here make sure you have someone that speaks
English with you so they can translate.
Chile actually has a fascinating history and was most of the time it exists involved in wars. First against the natives, then the independence war against the Spanish crown followed by wars against Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. And while they were at it they swapped allies like underpants and it was a real mess. And when the United Fruit Company from the good old US of America decided that they want a piece of the action here in Chile it got even messier. Bribes were paid to government officials to grant leases to the UFC and they had a real pleasure to treat the local population like slaves.
As I said, thanks to my amigos I had a pretty good understanding about the military history of Chile after we finished the museum after about 2 hours. I tried to get a book about it that I could read but….
After that we went to the Virgin Maria that is located on the highest mountain in Santiago at 850 meters above sea level. When we arrived at the foot of the mountain my friends asked me if I want to walk
up and in what I only can call a brain fart I said sure. So off we went; well not all of us as 2 decided that it was all a bit too hard, too wet and too stupid doing it in the rain. They were the clever ones because after a while the street turned into a muddy path, slippery as hell and very steep. I can honestly say we were a sad bunch of machos making our way up the hill. And when we arrived after about an hour we were not only wet and muddy but our bodies were steaming like a Chines laundry. Sweaty hot bodies and the cold air can do that to you.
Now the view from the hill supposed to be one of the highlights when visiting Santiago. Not on this day; everything was in mist and you could hardly see the Virgin Maria, let alone the city. So a bit of a letdown. I also discovered that we didn’t had to walk in the first place as they had a cable car there that was built in 192?. Guess what – we took that as our preferred method of return….
When I arrived in the backpacker I couldn’t wait to get out of the wet gear and have a hot shower. And the evening was spend with my friends laughing about our stupidity over a couple of beers.
This morning was completely different to yesterday. The sun was out and Santiago was free of smog. So off we went to see the Virgin Maria again; this time cable car up and cable car down. Nice way to do the trip. And it was worth it. The view was great. The Andes were there to be seen in all its glory and they are mighty impressive. The only negative was that there were millions of people there. Well we can’t have it all, can we?
After that bucket list event we set out to just walk around the town. We had some amazing sea food in a Peruian restaurant and the Octopus I had was sensational. And all for the cost of A$8.
As I am leaving tomorrow we then went to the bus station to get my ticket. There were people everywhere and since next week is the national holiday everybody is travelling. I remembered how chaotic
the bus terminals are from my last trip here, but experiencing it again made me realize that my memories were a bit romantic. Ah well.
So here I sit, my last night in Santiago. I had a great time and thanks to my friends it was an amazing experience. I can’t thank them enough. You know who you are, Francesco, Sebastian, Carlos, Hector and all the others which I can’t remember the name. A big ‘Thank You”.
That’s it for today. Have a great time wherever you are and remember to live life. We are only once here on this planet and when we leave we can’t take anything with us……
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