Last Wednesday Sarah and I decided to get to know Santiago as tourists, we had a lot of fun doing so! There were a lot of places I went to when I was little, but didn’t appreciate back then or that I had simply forgotten about, so it was good getting to know them again as an adult.
Our first stop was at La Moneda, Chile’s capital building. We wanted to see the changing of the guards, which is apparently pretty cool, but after talking to two carabineros (policemen) and two guardias (guards), we figured out that the changing of the guards wasn’t until the next day. Typical tourist mistake.
We then walked a few blocks to see the Catedral San Fransisco, which is a pretty famous cathedral in Santiago.
We walked a bit further and stopped at Santa Lucia, an artisan market, to do a bit of shopping. I am on crunch time for souvenirs! We also went to a juice “shack” in Santa Lucia where they make fresh juices for you… And man oh man was it good! Ours had strawberries, oranges and chirimoya. I can’t wait to go back this week to get some more!
On the way to the lunch we found some pretty cool looking buildings! For lunch we went to a restaurant that reminded me and Sarah of Germany, even though neither of us has ever been there! The only food they had that seemed appetizing at all was some delicious pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and oregano and fresh kiwi juice. Everything else was weird cuts of meat and strange-sounding dishes.
The waitress must have thought we were on a date or something, because she only brought us out one order, even though we weren’t wanting to split. So we ate that one together while waiting for the second one to cook.
Next we headed over to go up the Cerro San Cristobal. At the top of the hill is a huge statue of Mary (a big tourist attraction) and a great view of the city. We crossed over the Mapocho River, which runs through Santiago. There were some homeless people who had built shacks under the bridge and get down there by climbing a ladder. It broke my heart to see people living like that.
To get up the hill we took a furnicular (it was MUCH safer than the one we took in Valparaiso). Even though I am pretty scared of heights, I enjoyed the ride and the experience… Except for when we stopped halfway up and I thought we had lost traction with the rails and were about to plummet to our deaths. Just so y’all don’t worry, that didn’t happen and we made it to the top!
The view was impressive, even though the city was covered in a layer of smog and fog. It grossed us out to be able to see the air we breathe in… Our poor lungs!
To get to Mary we had to climb a ton of stairs. I called it the “Pilgrimage to Mary”… and BOY were we tired when we got to the top!
We had some fun on the stairs :)
Up next to the statue is this area where people burn candles and hang prayers to Mary. It’s so sad to see people believing in something that is definitely NOT the truth. It was just another reminder of how lost these people are and the spiritual need they have.
And you can’t finish the journey up Cerro San Cristobal without a picture with the mountains!!
I have really enjoyed my time here in Chile and my friendship with Sarah. It’s been wonderful having someone here who is my same age, at about the same stage in life, working for the Lord in another country and needing a friend as much as I needed one. God knew what He was doing when He sent us here together (but then… When does He NOT know what He’s doing?!). It’s going to be hard to say goodbye in a few days.