Next stop in Santiago was a trip to the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago , and in particular, Cerro San Cristóbal.
To get to the top, you can hike uphill for an hour and a half or you can take a funicular. Funiculars are very odd modes of transportation. They look like a trolley car attached to a cable that pulls you up a hill. I’ve been on one before in Lyon, France. It was a pretty short ride up a hill that I don’t recall being very steep.
This funicular was taking us a long way up a very steep hill.
When the three of us got on, Donald made sure to point out the fact that if the cable snapped…we were gonners! Our only chance at survival was throwing ourselves out of the car as it careened back down to the bottom.
Needless to say, we made it up safely, but basically we were contemplating our death the rest of the way to the top and so no photographs were taken!
The views of they city were incredible! And because Santiago is often plagued with smoggy skies, we were so lucky to have a blue sky day!
We followed the pathway of crosses up to the statue of the Immaculate Conception.
Along the way there was a spot for prayer candles and offerings of thanks. It was worth taking a moment to look at the trinkets, photos and mementos left behind.
The statue of the Virgin Mary is at the top of the 2nd highest peak in Santiago and can be seen from all over the city on a clear day. Up close she is impressive…measuring 14 meters (45.9 feet) high with a small chapel at the bottom.
In another section of the park, there was a fence tied up with a rainbow of ribbons and names and dates were written on them. Unfortunately, I don’t know what they were meant to represent, but there were a ton of them!
We took a break to try a Chilean treat that Hannah told us about. It’s called Mote con huesillos and the ingredients sound odd but it is so delicious! It has a whole peach that has been stewed in water to make a sweet syrup. Spices are added and its served in a glass over a grain – like wheat – that has been boiled to lose its husk.
My favorite part was actually the grains at the bottom. They have a chewy texture that mixes well with the syrup and peach! We shared this glass as it is very sweet and eating/drinking the entire thing would be so much. The real trick is to figure out how to get pieces of the peach off the pit white trying to maintain some level of dignity. I was personally in favor of no dignity and just taking a bite right off the fruit!
We decided to walk to the bottom. It was never really spoken, but maybe we weren’t in the mood to tempt fate again on the funicular! Ha!
Once again, the city looked spectacular from up high and our next stop was to the top of the tower in the distance – the Gran Torre Santiago – for panoramic views!