Our first day in Santiago began with lots of sunscreen and a really good breakfast. We decided to go to an artisian village that was listed in a book in the hotel and said to be right at the subway stop and then over to the Bell Vista neighborhood. We had been told to use the subway here, it is good and it is cheap.
I look at the little map that the hotel provides to check out the subway stops nearby. It stopped at the Military School stop, but the map in the guide book showed more stops on the red number 1 line. It seemed like there should be a stop closer than the one on the hotel map. I asked down in the lobby and was directed to the Military stop, so out we go. Left out of the hotel, left at the next major road and down a very long road and then left again. It was a long walk.
Then in to buy BIP cards. They are a prepaid card that deducts the correct amount each time you use them. The subway charges different amounts at different times, sort of like bridge tolls in the bay area. So we each purchase one – not knowing that we could have all used the same one. You can just pass it back and forth. Oh well, live and learn.
So we get on the train – it is very easy to follow and very clean.
Each line has a stop at each end that define the direction, so you just follow the signs to the direction you want to go. So we knew which stop we wanted, the last one on the red 1 line. It was only two stops and we get out and no craft market at the entrance. Hmm...
My beloved asked a woman nearby and she directed us a market. Yes, where you can buy groceries. So we buy a little water and look around. Up the hill a little bit was what looked like a old spanish building, so we go towards it and find the market up there. There were quite a few little shops selling knit stuff, leather goods and of course jewlery. Lapis is a big thing here, they make everything with it. There were chess pieces, penquins, letter openers, bowls and jewelery. Oh I already mentioned that? Yes, I got a ring. A very nice ring and it could double as a murder weapon.
In the middle of the place they had a cage with birds in it. Peacocks, chickens and a strange little duck with a pom pom on its head.
We spent a couple of hours wandering around, bought a couple of things and had a natural juice and then headed off to the Bella Vista.
So back on the 1 line, transfer to the 5 line and up back into the sunshine.
As we were walking across the street and we noticed these dancers at the corner.
All over La Serena and Santiago at any stop light there were people that try and wash your windows or sell you fruit or in this case dance for you. Of course, they want you to pay them and sometimes they are worth it.
Then we went to a place for lunch called Plaza Bella Vista. It was mostly places to eat, I wish we had waited and gone to one of the neighborhood places we found a little later. There were also shops and bathrooms. Always good things.
Then we wandered the neighborhood. It was full of tree lined streets and little pink houses. No really, not just pink, but blue and green and orange. It was very colorful.
Cafes on every corner and the ever present guys that wash your car. You drive up, I think they are in certain areas, and they wave you in. You leave your car and when you come back it is clean. They get water from the fire hydrants. Not sure how much they make, but there are a lot of them and Chilean cars are very clean.
We walked a long time and we were very tired and made our way back to the subway. We looked at the map and decided to go one stop beyong the Military stop where we got on.
We did see this lovely young woman in uniform.
So we stop at Military and when we kept going and going Chip and I exchanged looks like hmm... maybe this was a mistake.
So we get off and go upstairs and try to get where we are. The map was not a lot of help. We asked a couple of people who pointed in different directions. We asked a guy who looked like like a bicycle cop and he pointed us in the right direction. We went about two blocks and took a left and went about three blocks and we were at our hotel. About half the distance as our trek to the subway station.
Dinner that night was just at the hotel. We ate and went to sleep.