Monday, April 22, 2013

A Chilean Adventure - Day 5

And thus began the longest. day. ever.

But no, seriously, it was fun.

Day 5 was Tuesday. We started the day just like every other. Get up, walk a block to a breakfast of runny, salty eggs, corn flakes, and bread, walk the block back to our room, shower and get ready for the day.

Tuesday we were going to hike up Cerro San Cristobal, the big hill in the middle of the city. Sure, we could have taken the funicular up (that's a big lift), but where's the fun in that?

First things first, though. The zoo!

The Chilean National Zoo is at the foot of the hill. It's a 12 acre zoo located in the Santiago Metropolitan Park (or as they call it, Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, shortened to PMS, which made me giggle each time I saw a park sign). It was very fun! They had lots of animals that you normally see in zoos, as well as Chilean native animals and birds. The zoo was only $3, and well worth it! Zach saw his first hippo, although it was quite boring.

We were able to get so close to the birds! I know  I've seen birds before, but there were so many different and beautiful birds here, and a few albino ones!
I took quite a few pictures at the zoo, but we've all seen animals before, so I won't bore you with the details.

But look! A baby penguinnnnnnnnnit'ssocuteeeeeee
After the zoo, we picked up a map of the hill and headed up to the top. It was a BEAUTIFUL day for a hike. It was a pretty steep grade on the way up, so we had to keep stopping to rest!

Okay, Elizabeth and I had to stop and rest. The boys were fine.

The views were great on the way up, but once we got to the top....

The above picture was at the very top, by the statue of Mary. It was a very peaceful area, with small speakers hidden among the plants playing some very quiet choral music. It was quite amazing to see how vast the city actually was. 6 MILLION people live in Santiago. I felt very small at this moment.

This picture is on the other side, on the way down. That really tall building on the left half is the Gran Torre Santiago, which is the tallest building in South America (300 m).
At this point, we were a little unsure as to where we were headed. My map was only for the main part of the hill, and we didn't have one of the rest of the park. So we just kept walking, following the road. We figured we would get to the bottom at some point. Stuart really wanted to go to the Japanese Gardens. We had seen an initial map of the park at the bottom, so we knew we were heading in the right direction. What seemed like HOURS LATER (it was probably an hour and a half walking), we finally made it to the gardens. Stuart (and the rest of us) would probably say it was a letdown. But it was still an adventure. We had seen everything we wanted to for the day, now it was just a matter of finding our way back! We couldn't exactly go the way we came, that would just be insane.

So there was nowhere to go but down.

I'll skip the boring stuff, so long story short, we walked for a really long time and got directions from a nice guy (okay, not directions, but gestures in the right direction). We were also getting a little hungry.

We finally made it back to our room and decided that rather than go out to eat again, we would just get some food from the grocery store on our block and make our own supper in our kitchen!

We ended up making choripan (I thought I explained earlier that choripan was chorizo (sausage) and pan (bread). Basically a glorified hot dog) and chips and salsa. Muy delicioso! Noah was very proud of us. Grocery shopping wasn't too different, it was easy enough to see what the foods were in the packaging, but their bread and produce you had to pick out, and then get weighed by a worker, who then put a price sticker on it. All in all, it was a wonderfully full day!

We stopped at a fountain on the way back. It was beautiful.
I found another funny picture for you. :)

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