One of the best places in Santiago is up the hill, in the Parque Metropolitano. In there, you can escape the busy pedestrian streets, enjoy a great view of the city and relax away from the traffic, much like New Yorkers do in Central Park.
The trip start with a lineup to the funicular, a national monument and a great way to get to the top of San Cristóbal hill quickly. Well, “quickly” may be pushing it a bit—the two carriages, with one displaying a memorial plaque commemorating his holiness John Paul II who rode in the carriage in 1987—run on a 45 degree incline and the 500-meter long trip takes a few minutes, long enough to take pictures and wonder whether you will make it to the summit.
Once up the hill, you can enjoy the view before climbing to the religious sanctuary commemorating the Immaculate Conception, right at the feet of the large statue of the Virgin Mary.
There used to be a cable cart traveling to the Pedro de Valdivia Norte neighborhood, downhill, but it longer exist, so we walked. Well, mostly, we zig-zagged our way to the tall tower that looked really cool from afar. “Look, we are almost there!” I encouraged us as we were dripping with sweat on the side of the road. Yeah, right. “Almost there” if we had cut through the hill and tumbled down.
By the time we made it through the posh neighbourhood and to the tower, Mark was napping. That’s how long it took. The The Costanera Center turned out to be a business and commercial complex that includes a six-floor shopping mall, and we enjoy the air-con for a while before heading back to the centre.
In the evening, we decided to climb the Cerro Santa Lucía, a small hill close to the hotel. The view wasn’t as good as from the Parque, but the fountain and monuments were nice.
My legs hurt. Too much climbing. But hey, at least, they are still hair-free!