This is my last blog of the semester and I have many things to share with y’all. Since my last blog, I have had a chance to really explore Santiago and discover the hidden treasures of the city. Santiago has many great parks and viewpoints. One of these is Cerro Santa Lucia. It is a beautiful hill in the middle of the city that has been turned into a park with many statues and beautiful architecture… and it is not the only hill that has been made into a park.
The biggest park in Santiago is Cerro San Cristobal. It takes about an hour or so to walk to the top and there’s even a ski lift and a tram that takes people up and down the hill. I say “hill”, but it is more like a small mountain. The park has a statue of Saint Cristobal at the top and a memorial. It is really unique how in Santiago there are so many beautiful parks and even some hills and mountains that are converted into parks. Santiago is completely surrounded by the Andes mountain range after all.
In addition to all the beautiful parks, Santiago has many ferias artesanales. These are essentially farmers markets that sell goods instead of produce. Most sell a variety of objects such as handmade jewelry, sweaters, panchos, hats, and matte cups (matte is very popular in Chile). Since I have been here, I have visited a variety of ferias and it is always a good way to spend the afternoon if you are looking for cheap gifts for you and your family/friends.
I also had a chance to visit Templo Baha’i. It is one of eight similar temples around the world. There is one temple on each continent and Santiago is the home of the one for South America. The temple for North America is in Chicago. The temple is associated to Islam and is a place of meditation and prayer, but does not hold services. It is a huge tourist destination in Santiago.
Santiago is also full of cute restaurants, coffee shops, and panaderias (bakeries). If there is one thing I will miss the most once I am back in the United States, it is the panaderias. Chileans love their fresh baked bread and sweets, and so do I. The United States doesn’t have many bakeries, and when they do, it is mostly sweet things and not fresh breads. In addition to baked goods, Chileans love fresh juice. While I assume the US also loves fresh juice, it is really hard to find and can be super pricey. In Chile, fresh juice is at every single restaurant and not very expensive. The kinds of juice they have is incredible! Most restaurants will always have orange juice, mango, pineapple, and strawberry juice. That’s right, I said strawberry juice. No matter where you go in the US, you will not find strawberry juice unless you are at juice bar. It is also very common to drink raspberry juice, which is my favorite. I will definitely miss all the juices when I come back to the US.
In retrospect, when I first arrived to Santiago I did not like it that much, if I’m being totally honest. However, the city has grown on me. I have come to really enjoy all the parks, the food, the people, the public transportation, and the shopping. Although my ride to school takes almost an hour everyday on the metro, I get a gorgeous view of the Andes mountain range that surrounds the city. There are also always metro performers doing some sort of entertainment. Whether it be singing, dancing, playing and instrument, etc…. The metro rides are always interesting. For anyone who is thinking about visiting Chile, I would definitely recommend for you to spend a few days in Santiago to experience the biggest city in all of Chile (plus the regions of Patagonia and San Pedro de Atacama).
Enjoy the pictures below of Santiago and my travels!
This post was contributed by Elise Higgins, a 2018 Global Ambassador. Elise is a UT Civil Engineering student currently studying abroad at Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago, Chile.