Blue sky, sunshine, 30°C.
We dropped off a giant bag of dirty laundry at the lavandería and headed to the Santiago Metropolitan Park to climb the cerro San Cristóbal, the second highest hill in the city. It wasn’t our first time there, this is kind of a tradition when we are in Santiago—and this tradition is best enjoyed on a hot and sunny day, so we waited for the right moment.
This is what I like best about traveling: heading out for the day, being free to go wherever I want, whenever I want, and keeping my eyes for surprises along the way.
“Did you know that ONLY big boys get to climb the hill?” I informed Mark. “No babies here. So are you…?”
“I’m a BIG boy. I’m really taller. I ate chips this morning.”
Okay, maybe something went wrong in my mini-lesson about nutrition. Yet, Mark was apparently willing to climb, which was the most important part. I’m not carrying a 16-kilo kid up there.
The first part is easy: you can ride the antique funicular for about 500 meters on a 45-degree incline, departing from Barrio Bellavista. I would have been impressed if we weren’t coming back from Valparaiso. The you have to climb to the summit where there is a sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, with a 22-meter statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an amphitheater and a chapel. There was a new pathway line up with crosses depicting scenes from the Bible (Mark found hell pretty scary) and the hill wasn’t too crowded. Perfect, just perfect.
As he had promised, Mark climbed up, was delighted to find a church and complained that he couldn’t step inside the small chapel at the foot of the statue.
Then we went down, the hard way. We walked along the road, under the sun, going down, little by little.
“See the tall building? We are going there,” I said, pointing to the very modern Costanera Center Torre 2, the 64-story tall skyscraper hosting a large shopping mall. It wasn’t so much for the somewhat upscale mall, it was just a fun goal.
We walked until our feet hurt and reached the shopping area, across the bridge.
And then… we walked some more.
One of these days I love, where you get to go places and be outside.
I’m not trapped, I’m free.