It’s autumn in Santiago, Chile so the mornings and evenings are a bit chilly. But it’s sunny and warm during the day, perfect for walking around town. I am staying in a hostel at the moment, not the best place to stay while working but unfortunately the flat I found to move into would only be available at the end of the month. At least during the weekends there are usually some people around the hostel to do some touristy stuff with and on Friday my student cancelled so I had the day to explore the city!
I joined 2 other travelers and together the 3 of us walked through the streets of Santiago down to La Moneda Palace.
La Moneda Palace was built in 1805 and only became the government headquarters and home to all Chilean Presidents in 1845. This Palace was repaired and rebuilt after the bombing and fire during the revolution on September 11,1990 destroyed a huge part of it.
We read in a guide book that you can actually visit the Palace and that all you need is to take your passport with as you need this to enter the Palace.
We soon found out that this information was wrong. The guards at the front door informed us that we would have to book in for a tour and could only do this on their website. A bit disappointed at not being able to enter we at least got to take some photos of the entrance and the guards.
Located underground right in front of the Palace is the La Moneda Cultural Center which promotes understanding and appreciation of Chilean culture through major expositions, exhibits and activities. Admission is free so the 3 of us walked through the art exhibitions of the center. I really enjoyed the exhibit, it was artworks made from everyday objects and things you would never actually think would work together.
This “painting” is made from pipe cleaners, something I can remember playing with as a child. I would never have thought that you could actually use them to create this.
This art work is created out of used stockings!! It is dedicated to the woman around the world who have undergone facial mutilation through acid thrown into their faces. It is quite striking.
Arriving at Plaza de Armas we were quite surprised to see the place crawling with police officers. Never did find out why they were all there but their presence didn’t hinder us from walking around and taking loads of photos of them.
All over the square they were getting ready for the weekends patrimonial day celebrations which promised to be quite an event. All museums and historical buildings would be open to the public that Sunday and I heard that people travel from all over to Santiago for this opportunity.
Stopping off at one of the little restaurants that run all along the Southern side of the plaza we had Empanada’s. I love these “pies”. It is close to a pie but the dough is not flaky. The traditional Chilean Empanada is filled with pino, this is ground meat, onion, olives, raisins and a boiled egg! I had an empanada filled with cheese and mushrooms, which turned out to be quite good!
Crossing the Mapocho River at sunset, ready to sit down with a glass of wine and rest my tired feet!