We stroll the early evening, summer time here of course, across the enormous Plaza del Armas in the center of Santiago. There is a breeze to cut the heat that can be impressive especially now. The Museo Historico is closed, but people are strolling in leisure with dogs, with a friend, with a kid or two on their bikes. Huge steel (?) plaques are imbedded in the sidewalk that depict the history of Chile. We stroll right over them!
A noisy zestful band of football players singing and hollaring across the whole plaza. One guy is waving a large blue and red flag in jubilation. Soon they are all calling out the windows on a city bus, hanging out of the back windows while the regular passengers sit politely in their seats in the front.
Michael and I sit for a minute, reviewing our map from the hotel – much easier to follow than the guide book. Another couple on the bench see us and point out Lasterria as a destination to walk through. The wife does not want to walk with us, but we think we can find it.
Nearly six blocks later thought lots of pedestrian traffic blocked with cars, we find the edge of Cerro Santa Lucia, a landmark of the city. We skirt the rim, though a climb would be lovely another day, and find the neighborhood of street vendors selling used books with classic titles (Herman Hess, Albuert Camu, Shakespeare, to.) and jewelry and an amplified violinist (MP can’t bear him) and lots of bars – the Cafe Patagonia, the Artisanal, etc.
We walk through the extensive park system along the “river” or cement city canal. We cross a wooden bridge by the university. An open air mall has lots of shoppers and restaurants. We pick the Belle Vista. At 8 pm we are practically the only ones dining – we are so early! Food is perfect. Fresh fish and Chilan Chardonnay 60,000 pesos!
It is a gentle walk home, always safe at 10 pm, always lots of pedestrians. The nH hotel is just off the main drag.
Over the last 8 hours, we have felt welcomed in Santiago.