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South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Vitacura
November 23rd 2013
Published: October 4th 2014
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Today's highlight was lunch at Mestizo's. This restaurant is located at the beginning, or maybe the end, of the Parque Bicentenario which is a recently built park that borders one section of the city, with the hills behind it. It was built for the bicentennial celebration and is a very nice park, which promises to be fabulous once all the young trees grow. It is several miles long, with one of the boulevards running along it, and residential buildings facing it.

I've told you that all the buildings here have balconies, and lots of glass. How can they not? All it takes is looking outside to have beautiful mother nature in front of your eyes. How could not everyone be atuned to outdoors here? This time there was no snow on the mountain tops. Laine told me it is because it has been dry, and there was hardly any snow the past winter. It is still beautiful! Saturday night we also had our evening meal on the front balcony. Another laid back abundance of cheeses, cold cuts, breads, wine, and the beautiful view of the mountains, as it gets dark. It is therapy for me, and one of my favorite traditions when I am here.

The restaurant was built to take advantage of the setting. Very open, with layered terraces facing ponds where swans swim, with a view of the park behind it, and the towering image of Gran Torre Santiago far in the background. The food was delicious. The majority of the Menu is seafood but, although I was tempted to try the grilled octopus and a couple of other specialties, like one of the kinds of Chilean Ceviche, I opted to go with my staple, a delicious steak (bife ancho) and some local potatoes from the south of Chile. They were sauteed with small tomatoes, pancetta, and very tasty. These small potatoes were black in appearance, and purple when cut. Way too much food! The chocolate volcano dessert was just to die for!

Our appetizers were Empanadas. They are a Chilean specialty and the ones we ordered were cheese, and Ceviche. The Ceviche Empanadas were unusual, for me, but very good.

The bathrooms were unisex! You go into any open stall, and there is a urinal in addition to a toilet. Then you wash your hands and the person next to you may be the guy who just used the facilities in the next stall. LOL!

It stays light here until 9:00 PM or later. Sometime before dark it is Nuri's time to go for a walk, and I've had the opportunity to get reacquainted with the beautiful neighborhood that Patricia and Laine live in. There aren't a lot of the old mansions left. Most have been demolished to make room for the skyscrapers, both commercial and residential. This enormous city needs to build upwards to accomodate the ever growing population. One of the few mansions left is the Checoslovakian embassy, or embassy residence not sure, next door facing the park. It is beautiful, from the little bit that can be seen through the thick hedge. Some of the other remaining mansions are museums now, or have been taken over by businesses. One house next door was torn down and now a multi level building is being constructed. It is so narrow that the condominiums are being built with main floor and a loft bedroom. Tres chic! LOL! I thought I noticed this year lights further up on the side of the mountains. Patricia confirmed that there is a new development over there. Sniff! I know that building up to a certain level has been approved, but it is sad for me to see.

One new addition is a Denny's occupying the place of honor in the corner of the block where the remainder of the block are cute sidewalk cafes and restaurants. Last night we tried to go to Tiramisu, the pizza place, but there were no tables available for 8:30 or 9:00 PM. There was even people waiting at almost 10:00 on our way back from Coquinaria, where we went instead. No. We did not opt for Denny's. What is it doing in such illustrious company anyway? It was nice walking back that late at night, never feeling worried or threatened in any way.

Regardless of the ever growing need for living space, there are so many parks. Most boulevards have wide medians dividing them, and they are full of trees, and flowers, and jogging paths. Lots of people ride their bikes here too. Unfortunately, most use the sidewalks which, although wide, can be a problem if you are unwary.

There is one street, winding up a small hill, that I can see from one of my bedroom windows where houses still remain. Beautiful houses. One is several levels with outside winding staircases and a pool in the roof. The one across the street I call the Mosque, because that's what it looks like, with little domes and all.

Speaking of developments. I went to see the Gran Torre Santiago upclose and personal. Like everything associated with that building, the shopping mall at its base is huge! Five levels of every kind of store, even a Jumbo which is a grocery store that also sells other stuff too. Very upscale, and already completely decorated for Christmas. The tree itsels is all five levels high, and gigantic toys appear at every corner, and immense ornaments hang from the ceilings.

We stopped for a "cortado" (delicious foamy coffee and milk) by the little cafe next to the fountain. Water cascades, reflecting the lights of the fountain, forming season greetings and multiple designs. Mesmerazing!


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