Despite the ongoing protests, Santiago is still Santiago—reliably hot and sunny, crowded and lively, enjoyable with barrios quieter than Plaza Italia.
I took Mark to La Vega Central, Santiago’s market, where you can find all kinds of supersized vegetables and fruits (seriously, zucchinis and choclo, aka Peruvian corn, are as big as Mark’s arm!) as well as dozens or cats and dogs hiding under the stalls. Once you start noticing them, you just can’t stop.
We also went to La Quinta Normal, a large park home to plenty of (free!) museums, we hung out at Plaza de Armas and in barrio Santa Lúcia, we had classic Santiago food (Chinese, empanadas, pizza and hot dogs… yeah, not the world capital of gastronomy!) and we had fun walking through the ever-expanding and very unofficial bustling Estación Central street market.
We also climbed Cerro San Cristóbal—we took the funicular up
to the sanctuary, then…
“See the tower over there?”
“That’s where we’re going. It’s a shopping mall. We pushed your stroller downhill three years in a row when you were a baby, so now it’s payback time. You’re walking with us!”
He made it downhill “totally not tired.” Yeah, right.