Santiago, Chile – Part 2 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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The population of Chile is almost 7 million people and the main languages is Spanish, however, Mapudungun is spoken away from the major centre by the indigenous Mapuche people. The time zone is GMT-3 hours but from May to August it is -4 hours. The international dialling code is +56 and the good news is that Visas are not required by UK nationals for stays of up to 90 days. The currency is the Chilean peso (CLP), which is currently around CLP1000 to the £UK. However with the current changes in financial markets please check this particular fact as it changes quite often.
If you want the highest viewpoint then the best views of Santiago are to be had from the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción statue, which is on top of San Cristóbal hill in the Metropolitan Park. Failing that you can head to the 300m high Sky Costanera, which is the tallest building in Latin America, on Avenida Andrés Bello; where you can enjoy 360° views of the city. Make sure you are up to date on all routine jabs, as Hepatitis A and typhoid prevalent in parts of Chile. However thanks to its dry climate, at least you shouldn’t have any problems with mosquitoes. The tap water is drinkable, though its high mineral content means you may prefer to stick to bottled water.
If you are only here for a day then start with breakfast amid the mismatched furnishings and teacup lampshades of Café Bistro de la Barra in Lastarria. Then stroll to the 18th century presidential palace La Moneda, where President Salvador Allende died during Chile’s 1973 coup after refusing to leave. His statue is outside and engraved with words from the final speech he gave over the radio as the soldiers closed in. After this head north along Bandera to the palm-filled Plaza de Armas, the original centre of the city and its spiritual heart. Step further back in time with a visit to the Chileno de Arte Precolombino Museum to explore amazing pottery and art from across the Americas. Then it’s time for a stop which is a few blocks north at the Mercado Central fish market. Try sampling any of the great seafood restaurants that surround it and you will not be disappointed. In the afternoon, head to Santa Lucía hill, a pretty park with views across the city, then stop for coffee at one of the pavement cafés in Bellas Artes before crossing the Mapocho river into colourful barrio Bellavista, once home to late Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. You can visit the house he built for his mistress, ‘La Chascona’ which translates to ‘the messy haired one’, so maybe give some of his poems a miss. It was inspired by the sea, from its boat-style dining room to lighthouse style lounge. Then stay around this popular restaurant and bar neighbourhood for dinner at Restaurant 040. The restaurant specialized in cutting edge tapas by the award-winning Spanish chef Sergio Barroso. Enjoy a tasting menu pairing local Chilean wines and some unique dishes.
Continued part 3
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