A pity Santiago is covered in smog during winter

Walking through the ghost town that is Santiago before 10am

Walking through an empty Parque Forestal
Walking through an empty Parque Forestal

Statue at the beginning of Parque Forestal
Statue at the beginning of Parque Forestal

The streets of Santiago are quiet and deserted before 10am on a weekend and even more so on a public holiday. It felt like I was walking through a ghost town as I walked from Bellavista to Santa Lucía Hill in the center of the city.

 

I walked through Parque Forestal next to the Mapocho River. The park was created on reclaimed land from the Mapocho River and forms an almost unbroken stretch of greenery all along the river.

This park stretches all along the river
This park stretches all along the river
I think everybody in Santiago is still asleep before 10am!
I think everybody in Santiago is still asleep before 10am!

Cafe filled Lastaria Street is eerily empty before 10am
Cafe filled Lastaria Street is eerily empty before 10am

Even Lastaria Street, usually filled with cafes and coffee shops and people were deserted this early in the morning. It felt like I missed some announcement that nobody should be out on the streets today, or that everybody just disappeared leaving me all alone in this strange new city.

 

The entrance to Santa Lucía Hill
The entrance to Santa Lucía Hill

Such a lovely sunny day, perfect for exploring a new city
Such a lovely sunny day, perfect for exploring a new city

Luckily by the time I reached Santa Lucía Hill in the center the city started to wake up and people started emerging from their homes. I sat for a while at a small café at the entrance to the park enjoying the sunshine.

The hill has an altitude of 629 m and a height of 69 m over the surrounding area and has all these small winding pathways that cross it. The hill is the remnant of a volcano 15 million years old.  It was originally called Huelén by the pre-colonization inhabitants; in Mapudungun the word means “pain, melancholy or sadness”. However, the current name comes from the day in which Pedro de Valdivia conquered the hill, on December 13, 1541. That day celebrates “Santa Lucía.”

Pathways leading to the top of the hill
Pathways leading to the top of the hill

Halfway up there are a couple of ornate facades, stairways and fountains. Unfortunately because it was a public holiday the “castle” was closed. I still had a lot of fun walking along the tree covered pathways to the top of the hill. At the top of the hill, there is a platform from where you have fabulous views over most of the city. What a fantastic view of the city and luckily there weren’t a lot of people at the top so I got the chance to take a couple of pictures.

Santiago!!
Santiago!!

I really look forward to exploring the city I could see before me!

Small church on the side of Santa Lucia hill
Small church on the side of Santa Lucia hill

For lunch I decided to try something from one of the street vendors that I passed along my way home. You can’t go wrong with a hot dog is what I thought. I have eaten hot dogs in a couple of countries but did not enjoy the Chilean version of hot dogs very much. They start of with a normal bun and sausage then add chopped tomatoes, which is good but then comes the weird part. They cover it in guacamole and then smother that in mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. Not a combination I would have ever thought of. I was very hungry so ended up eating the whole thing but didn’t feel to well afterwards.

My first experience of Chilean food wasn’t too successful but luckily this doesn’t scare me too much. Actually looking forward to trying some other dishes

Santiago, Chile!!
Santiago, Chile!!

20 comments

    • It is exciting and still strange for me, but getting used to seeing empty streets in the mornings during the weekend. People here go to bed very late so tend to get up very late. It still feels eerie walking through empty streets in a big city though.

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    • I have never experienced this before and it was a very disturbing and eery feeling that overtook me that first morning! Now atleast I know to expect the streets to be empty before 10am….but its still strange!

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    • The people here are very relaxed and nobody starts doing anything before 10am. The coffee shops also only open around 10am if not later!! It is quite disturbing walking around a city with no people in it!!

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    • Thanks, I dont know if I will actually be able to get used to that combination! Have found that the Chilean people actually put ketchup and mayonase on lots of things that I didnt even think were possible!!

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  1. Haha the last part about the hotdog made me laugh! What you had is called an ”completo”. It really depends where you eat one as I like it very much to eat. It is one of the biggest selling fast-food type around. A home made one by my Chilean girlfriend is de-li-cious! You shot some nice pics of Santa Lucia. One of the best spots to get a Panorama view of Santiago. Enjoy your first days while exploring the city! Looking forward to read more about your sight of view. Safe travels, Lars

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    • I guess these hotdogs could be good, it was just not what I expected and nothing I am used to eating! I am always game to try new food and things in strange countries and was actually quite imoressed that the Chileans have managed to change something we thought came as a “standard”! Looking forward to exploring more and discovering all the little things that give Chile its identity!

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      • Awesome! You will gonna have a blast 🙂 they have such a strong culture, food wise too. This weekend i gonna take some waves at Pichilemu, a small fishermans town you definitely have to explore!!

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