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    South by South America Tour – Chile Part 3

    Friday, August 23, 2019
    Santiago, Chile

    The Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.
    The Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.

    Mary and the baby Jesus in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.
    Mary and the baby Jesus in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.

    Impressive doors in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.
    Impressive doors in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.

    I started off the day with a visit to the Catedral Metropolitana, which is right across the plaza from the Hostel Plaza de Armas, where I’m staying. “The Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago is the seat of the Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, currently Celestino Aós Braco, and the center of the archdiocese of Santiago de Chile. Construction of the neoclassical cathedral began in 1748 and ended in 1800. Further alterations ordered at the end of the 19th century gave it its present appearance. (Previous cathedrals in the archdiocese had been destroyed by earthquakes.) The cathedral, located in the city’s historic center, faces Santiago’s Plaza de Armas and stands near the Palacio Arzobispal de Santiago, the administrative center for the archdiocese.”—Wikipedia

    A statue in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.
    A statue in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.

    Jesus Christ in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.
    Jesus Christ in the Catedral Metropolitana at Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile.

    A colorful mural on Avenida Pio Nono in Bella Vista, Santiago, Chile.
    A colorful mural on Avenida Pio Nono in Bella Vista, Santiago, Chile.

    Since it was really warm outside—I’m talking around 70 degrees F–they really had the air con cranked inside the place to the point it was quite chilly. After spending maybe close to an hour wandering around inside the intricately carved interior of this gorgeous cathedral and snapping a few photos, I made my way over to the subway and rode it a couple of stops over to Barrio Bellavista, where I walked maybe a half mile up Avenida Pio Nono past a bunch of cheesy so-called “hip” restaurants and night clubs to Cerro San Cristobal, the second highest point in Santiago, standing at 850 yards above sea level and 300 yards above the city.

    Looking down the funicular track on Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    Looking down the funicular track on Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    The funicular arrives at the station on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    The funicular arrives at the station on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    The funicular station on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    The funicular station on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    Entering a castle-like building at the bottom, I bought a ticket to ride the funicular (a small train that runs up a steep incline) up to the top. I wanted to hike up, but wasn’t sure if there were any hiking trails. After a 20 to 30 minute wait, the funicular finally came back down and we all piled in. Luckily, I scored a spot in the back, which means I got the best view of Santiago as we slowly rose up out of the tree line. It was amazing seeing the sprawl of the city spread out in all directions. After one stop for the zoo, we reached the top of Cerro San Cristobal, which was dotted with a few souvenir shops and a restaurant among myriad levels of walkways and scenic overlooks.

    The view from near the top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    The view from near the top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    Hey, if you don't like my outfit, you'd best leaf me alone. Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    Hey, if you don’t like my outfit, you’d best leaf me alone. Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile..

    A statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    A statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    “On the summit is a sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, with a statue of the Virgin Mary, an amphitheater and a chapel. The statue of the Virgin Mary measures 14 yards tall, and the pedestal on which it rests is 8.3 yards in height. The statue is lit up at night by lights placed on its sides, allowing it to be viewed from all over Santiago both day and night. At the foot of the statue there is an amphitheater for holding masses or other religious ceremonies. In the foothills of Cerro San Cristóbal are the Chilean National Zoo and a Japanese-style garden, as well as two municipal pools: Tupahue and Antilén.”—Wikipedia

    A shrine inside the base of the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    A shrine inside the base of the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    A shrine to deceased persons in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    A shrine to deceased persons in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    Detail of a shrine to deceased persons in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    Detail of a shrine to deceased persons in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    Once you reach the top, it’s amazing to realize that the city of Santiago stretches a full 360 degrees all around the hill. Can you say megalopolis? The amount of high rise apartment buildings seemed endless. At the base of the statue was also a small shrine for people who had died, including a rack for candles and a mass of mementos like photographs, bracelets, necklaces, small articles of clothing, tiny toys, business cards, papers, and other personal effects. In addition to serving as a memorial shrine, what it all amounted to was an amazing assemblage of three-dimensional art.

    Pole position with audio and surveillance next to the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    Pole position with audio and surveillance next to the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    Pole position with rusty boxes next to the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.
    Pole position with rusty boxes next to the statue of the Virgin Mary on top of Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago, Chile.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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