Sunday, 30 April 2017

A stroll around an Artisan market and a visit to the oldest church in Santiago

ALLIE: DAY 74: Saturday, 28th of April

Relaxed day in Santiago, an arts market, stroll around and early doors
local girls in Scottish kilts
Another lovely crisp morning, bright sunshine, fresh air. One mystery of the family relations is solved by Fernandez – the missing husband of Carolina - arriving back home after his business trip to Barcelona. 

The kids are happy to see their daddy back but even happier to receive some presents: the boy gets a big box of ‘Starwars’ lego, the girl a pink little i-pod! I think this is very sad. War games and ear-bashing music. 

La Iglesia de los Dominicos
It’s time to kiss fare-well to the family, they are off for a short holiday to the coast. Fernando drops us at a apartment hotel in the Providencia area.

It was a lovely experience to spend those days with the family and everybody was so welcoming and friendly, but it’s also great to be on our own again. We take a cab up to Iglesia de los Dominicos (the eldest church in Santiago) and stroll around the interesting handicraft market of El Pueblo de Artesanos. 

It’s a wonderful place to buy gifts and souvenirs. Nobody bugs you and the shops display a great variety of weaving, wood work, jewelry, pottery, copper and bronze.

in the artisan quarter
Later we take the metro and stroll around the Bellavista area. This is ‘the’ place to be for young Chileans. Wonderfully restored old houses in the brightest colours mix with trendy bars, restaurants and street bazaars.

 For our dinner we return to Providencia only to find that nearly all the shops here are closed! What’s the matter? It’s Saturday night in Santiago and how can it be that there is only one bar open in a range of twenty in the area? We ask the barkeeper of the ‘Louisiana River Bar’ (the only bar that is indeed open).

He smiles and says: “The others don’t open before 8pm”. Ah, got the idea! We are much to early trying to eat at 6.30. The real nightlife though doesn’t start until 1am as we can hear from the disco sound around our hotel. The trouble is, we have to get up at 3.30 in the morning.  

in the oldest church of Santiago
PHIL: Day 74/28 April

We have to move to an ‘apart-otel’ in the business district of Providencia as our hosts are away for the May holiday weekend and our flight to La Paz leaves at some uncivilised hour on Sunday morning. 

Outside as we check in is a large group of men and girls dressed in full Scottish Highland outfits complete with bagpipes. They are Argentinians here for a ceremony which celebrates the foundation of the Chilean Navy in the 19th century by…..a Scotsman. 

There is no mention of the Malvinas conflict where only a quarter century ago Scots Guards were in action against Argentina. A good thing for humanity that memories are short.

A rip-off taxi-driver charges $12 for the short trip to Los Domenicos, location of the city’s oldest mission church and an artisan community in the old ‘graneros’ grain stores selling a very wide range of mostly tasteful handicrafts. 

Allie buys an intricately carved matchstick depicting a musical conductor with waving baton and flying coat-tails in preparation for her father’s retirement from his local orchestra in Stuttgart

The church itself is a model of Catholic simplicity in contrast to the baroque shrines of a similar period we are used to in Bavaria. A metered taxi on the return is half the price.

quirky wall paintings in the artisan quarter
The Santiago Metro is clean, cheap and totally unthreatening. Bellavista, which attracts us both with its Bohemian sidewalk cafes and pastel house-fronts, is Saturday-full of small children with cat-painted faces and candy-floss. We pop our heads into the original ‘Otro Sitio’ but are discouraged from further inspection by a rather predatory waiter.

Anticipating an early start for the flight to La Paz we eat and retire early only to have our plans disrupted by a nasty accident involving my genitalia and resulting in a scene like something from a Hitchcock movie.

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