In addition to my visit to Patagonia in June, I found myself in Santiago for a couple days of the FIEXPO tradeshow. While there was business to accomplish, I knew that any spare moment would be on foot exploring. Especially when I realized that the city’s main park – Parque Metropolitano de Santiago – was just steps from my hotel.
Day One: Parque de las Esculturas y Parque Bicentenario
First things first, one of my trip mates, Maggie, suggested that we take a walk as soon as we’d finished up our appointments for the day. She wanted to explore the parks along the Mapocho River so we started with the Parque de las Esculturas which was established to provide a place where local plant species and art can be viewed in the heart of the city. The park has beautiful sculptures and a small gallery. At every turn we were surprised by what we found.
When we’d had our fill, Maggie asked if I’d be up for visiting the Parque Bicentenario. Of course I agreed. It was going to be about a three mile walk, but with a dedicated bike/walking trail to the park I was open for anything. Along the way we discovered more sculpture, including a really wonderful Llama made completely of recycled plastics found along the Mapocho River.
Our next stop was the Parque Bicentenario which was a complete surprise. It’s an expansive park with a lake where swans float easily on the water, children play on it’s playgrounds and yet more sculptures grace the green spaces. I was also a bit enamored with the abundance of graffiti along the river.
Both Maggie and I commented that the park felt like we were walking in an European city. The only difference being that the Andes mountains are ever-present. No matter which way we turned, we had them as the backdrop. It made for the perfect end of a busy business day.
Day Two: Parque Metropolitano, Cerro San Cristobal Santiago
A gift of this trip was one day to myself. A day to rest or explore. Despite the rain, I wanted to take time to visit the city’s main park – Parque Metropolitano. It’s an expansive park covering more than 1907 acres making it the largest park in Chile and one of the largest in the world. I had four hours to tackle as much of that as I could. This would be my official #21hike of my 52 Hike Challenge.
I started with a wooded path that lead me up and around, through willow trees to a paved path. With the gentle rain, it was quiet and secluded. I wandered through a small gate and found the Jardín Botánico Chagual followed a playground that seemed to go on forever. Then further along winding trails to the Torreon Victoria. I continued on to find one of two open air, public pools. The pool was closed for the season, but I could see why it would be a popular choice for the summer months.
I continued on, taking to the walking trails on the road, circling the hill back to my starting point. By the time I finally returned to the hotel, I (and the contents of my pack) was soaked through. I had precious few hours to try and dry my clothes out before packing them up for the journey home. I was so glad I’d taken the time to explore on foot. To get a sense of the city and all it has to offer. I’ll look forward to an opportunity to return if it presents itself. So Chao for now Santiago!
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