Chile – Walking Downtown Santiago

When I first arrived to Chile in 1966, the downtown was the place to be, center of culture and business. It’s still a bustling, busy downtown, but much of the glitter has worn off somewhat and moved more to the East of town, into the Providencia, Las Condes and Vitacura neighborhoods. Lately there has been a considerable wave of immigrants to Chile from other countries in South America, changing the typical ‘Chilean’ character of the downtown area.


Riding past the Fine Arts Museum on Ismael Valdes Vergara


Hanging out on the steps of the Fine Arts Museum


Tourist photographing statue of the fallen Icarus mourned by his father, Daedalus after Icarus flew too close to the sun. Although sculpted by the first Chilean female sculptor, Rebeca Matte, this isn’t the original, but a copy. The original resides in Rio de Janeirio.


What better way to spend a nice summer late afternoon then to join a stretching and yoga group, here on the lawns of Parque Forestal, a wonderful strip of refreshing greenery that runs for several blocks along the Mapocho River in downtown.


Park benches are still popular, and populated


A couple Carabineros, the national Chilean policemen, are actually part of the Chilean military but tasked with local and national law enforcement besides participating in community building. They are best known for their professionalism, considered the least corrupted force in South America. I’d rank them with any major police force in the US.


In the Plaza de Armas on the day after Christmas – can still see the unique Christmas tree. The sign says “this Christmas tree is adorned by almost 400 dolls decorated by the boys and girls of Santiago and their families”. Beautiful idea for the season.


On the Plaza is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, which is under construction. Interesting how the construction is hidden by a representation of what the finished building will look like. I saw similar coverings in Italy.


Huérfanos bridge over Santiago’s central freeway.


About 4 blocks North of the Plaza de Armas in downtown, you arrive at the Mercado Central. Just West is La Piojera (actually, ‘the fleahouse’), a well-known dive bar. Interesting story about La Piojera at


Proud of her adornments – new immigrant to Santiago.


Palacio Pereira on Calle Huérfanos in downtown Santiago is under restoration, after over 30 years of abandonment. We came across it after doing some business downtown and noticed this fellow with several dogs running inside the fence surrounding the building. Spent a few minutes chatting with him, a friendly guy, and found out he’s the caretaker of the building and lives there with his four footed ‘children’. The Palacio restoration should be done by 2018 and will be the site of the National Monuments Council and the Directorate of Libraries, Archives and Museums.


So, more to come. Love to hear what you have to say about our travels.

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