Pablo Neruda was a Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize in 1971 - this name is actually just his pen name and his actual name is a longer one (see it on Wikipedia, haha). But he does have houses in Santiago, but I chose this "tour" which brought me to his favorite sea coast home he shared with his third wife Matilde. The home is beautiful and the master bedroom has an amazing view of the sea. His collection of maritime artifacts like those huge "busts" that you see in front of boats/ships (like a mermaid jutting out from front of ship) were impressive. From the house, you can walk to the coast - I cannot remember if I had to go side of house to get better access to the ocean. But it is worth it to walk along the same coast where Pablo and Matilde walked, seeing the same rocks that they saw during their time :)
I made of a video of this beautiful place at:
ISLA NEGRA HOUSE OF PABLO NERUDA
It was an extra "Sunday" morning and we were wondering where we could go, using the subway of Santiago. And I remembered one of my tour guides telling me to take the RED subway and to just go at it's eastern end, Los Dominicos. (the very end of the subway). Apparently, this is a new addition to the subway system as it ended early before, only until Escuela Militar. But now, it went beyond that...ending at Los Dominicos (as of 2010).
And so on that Sunday morning, my friend Riezl and I rode the subway and we went to Los Dominicos where we immediately saw the beautfiul church and even got in time for mass there. We did not finish the mass as we walked around the suburban village around it, where a marathon was going on at the time.
Los Dominicos is famous for the HANDICRAFTS, with several handicraft stores with those products made of lapis lazuli, ceramics, wicker, copper, and leather.
Overall, a great getaway from Santiago and accessible easily through the subway system :)
If you happen to find yourself in the Colchagua Valley and are looking for something else to do besides wine tasting, I'd recommend stopping by the Colchagua Museum in Santa Cruz. This history museum retraces the country's steps from the pre-Columbian period to the Spanish conquest, the Colony era and the struggles that would finally lead to the country's independence. I was told by a few people that this exhibition beats most of the ones you'll find in Santiago, but as I didn't have time to visit museums in the capital, I can't say whether this is true or not. I did enjoy my visit to the Colchagua Museum and found it to be a rather comprehensive review of the events that have shaped the country from the prehistorical times to the beginning of the 20th century. The Colchagua Museum is located at No. 145 calle Errazuriz in Santa Cruz. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday), from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission costs 3000 Chilean pesos (about US$6).
Chile is the world's fifth largest exporter of wine, and many of the country's finest wineries are located within easy driving distance from Santiago. Viña Concha y Toro (www.conchaytoro.com) and Viña DeMartino (www.demartino.cl) are among the most famous ones, and they can easily be reached by bus (reservations are highly recommended, especially in the peak tourist season). As for me, I got to visit Viu Manent, a family-owned winery located near Santa Cruz, in the famous Colchagua Valley. The winery tour (US$20) lasted about an hour and it included a horse-drawn carriage ride through the vineyards, an in-depth tour of the winery and cellar where we got introduced to the wine-making process and got to taste some wine before it was even put in the bottles, and finally our guide Luis took us back to the wine tasting room where we got to try some more reserve wine and received a souvenir glass. The winery also featured a wine store and a craft shop, and a great restaurant where we enjoyed a wonderful meal (along with some more great wine, of course!). Chileans say that there is no bad wine produced in Chile so no matter which winery you end up going to, you should be in for a real treat!
the most fun and breathtaking adventure i had in santiago was actually outside santiago, about an hour to be exact.
you can take a cab to san jose de maipo, which is about an hour ride. the cab will pick up other people along the way (whether you like it or not), and that will cut the cost of your trip.
have the driver drop you at cascada de animas, a family run business that hosts tours for hiking, horseback riding, and white river rafting. you may want to reserve a cabin, which is both reasonably priced, and very comfortable, even in the winter.
the cascada de animas is surrounded by towering mountains and soft green meadows. the restaurant on the premises is a bit pricey, but worth it, especially if you get a seat overlooking the river maipo.
This is the sculpture of the Mapuche Indian leader, Caupolican, who led his people against Pedro de Valdivia and his conquistadores. Thanks a lot to my VT-friend Wstat, who told me the name of him !
So you will finally see all major parts of chilean history in my main picture:
The indio for the time before the European came, then on the left the fortification built by red bricks and finally the modern Chile in the back. From that tower a wide system of paths and steps will take you down to the lower city and to the Neptun-fountain.
Take a look at this lovely old palazzo, it could be Palacio Errazuriz or Palacio Irarrazabal according to my map. in any case it is between the metro-stations "Los Heroes" and "La Moneda", and directely at Av. Gerneral B.O'Higgins. This beautiful building had seen better days already but at the moment some restaurations are going on
The monument for friendship is a large modern sculpture at Avenida Lib. General Bernardo O'Higgins, nothing special but quite interesting anyway in case that you get to that area close to the metro-station "U.de Chile"
Iglesia San Francisco de Borja is a small chapel next to parque San Borja. It has an interesting neo-gothic interior and seems to be quite a popular place for marriages. I passd by it accidentally, while walking back from Cerro San Cristobal. Next metro-station is "U.Catolica"
churchservice is normally at 12.00 noon !
This is the small chapel on top of Cerro San Cristobal, it does not look very impressive from outside but inside it has some nice details like these sculptured frescos and the giant sea-shell tohold the sacered water at the entrance of the chapel.
the chapel is open during the day, photography is no problem.
Barrio Bellavista is an old quarter of Santiago, where you will still find lots of such flat buildings like in a small town or village, even though it is just a few steps from the citycentre. Barrio Bellavista is close to the place, where the funicular to Cerro San Cristobal starts and on my way from Lastarria to the Cerro S.C. I saw lots of them and those are my favorite ones.
This interesting building in the street Alonso Ovalle, opposite of San Ignacio, dates back to the year 1908. It is just a nameless and beautiful building that I passed by accidentally in a sidestreet parallell to Av. Bernardo O'Higgins, the next metro-station is "Los Heroes"
Eglesia San Ignacio is a bit outside of the touristic area of Santiago, I passed by it accidentally and unfortunately the doors of that lovely church were locked.
San Ignacio is in the street Alonso Ovalle, a sidestreet parallell to Av. Bernardo O'Higgins, next to the metro-station "Los Heroes"
Dont miss to take that great panorama-view from Cerro San Christobal, on a clear day you will see the Andes in the background and only up there you get an idea about the giant size of that City.
Take the funicular or drive up by car, there will be a lot of foodstands, souvenirshops and also some restaurants up there.
"Villavicencio" is the steet that starts opposite of Iglesia de la Veracruz in the area of "Lastarria" and this building in that street was my favorite. It reminded me a bit of a castle with lovely details in the facade and a unique baywindow.
For Lastarria and Villavicencio search on your map for metrostation "Museo Precolombino" from there it is just about 100 meters !