Wednesday, July 30th 2003 – Day 162 to Thursday, July 31st 2003 – Day 163

Wednesday, July 30th 2003 – Day 162

I was up at 9.00am but took things slowly. I had bags to pack and wanted a long, long shower. I watched – The Mexican – which Brad Pitt on TV. Not much good. I did not leave until 10.30am and had a chat with the guy in reception who had excellent English. I got my usual unhealthy breakfast with black coffee and completos X 2.

I decided today would be my museum day and I get out to visit three of the best in town.

First I went to the Plaza de Armas and visited two free attractions. They were the Catedral Metropolitana and the Post Office – Correo Central and Museo Postal. I had been in the Cathedral before and I must say it the most impressive one I have been both in design and size. It is very impressive. The post office was not. I spend only five minutes there.

Correo Central and Museo Postal – The pink, Renaissance-style Central Post Office was built in 1882 on the remains of what was once the colonial Governor’s Palace and the post-independence Presidential Palace. After the building succumbed to fire in 1881, workers rebuilt, incorporating several of the old building’s walls. In 1908, architect Ram?n Feherman added a third floor and a gorgeous, metal-framed glass cupola. On the second floor, you’ll find a small museum whose main interest is its stamp collection.

After that I posed for a carricature which I will post in the Road Portraits section soon. It took about 20 minutes to pose. The result was good. I liked it. it cost 3000 CP.

I then went to the Palacio de la Real Audiencia/Museo Hist?rico Nacional. The cost was 600 CP.

Palacio de la Real was built between 1804 and 1807 by a student of the architect Toesca who followed his preference for neoclassical design. The building has undergone several transformations, but the facade is still intact. The Palacio functioned for 2 years as a Supreme Court under Spanish rule, and then became the site of the first Chilean congressional session following independence. Today, the Palacio holds the fascinating National History Museum, which displays more than 70,000 items from the colonial period, including antiques, clothing, suits of armor, weapons, home appliances, industrial gadgets, flags, you name it. There is also a collection of money and medallions, including tokens used at salt mines, and an interpretive timeline and photo montage of Chilean history.

It was good but very big. Most interest for me was the section on Bernardo o Higgins.

I walked about 10 minutes to the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino.

Heading back on Merced and past the plaza to Bandera, you’ll find the excellent Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, housed in the old Royal Customs House that was built in neoclassical design in 1807. This is one of the better museums in Chile, both for its collection of pre-Columbian artifacts and its inviting design. There are more than 1,500 objects on display here, including textiles, metals, paintings, figurines, and ceramics spread through seven exhibition rooms. It’s not a stuffy old museum, but a vivid exhibition of indigenous life and culture before the arrival of the Spanish. The material spans from Mexico to Chile, incorporating all regions of Latin America divided into four areas: Mesoam?©rica, Intermedia, Andina, and Surandina. Each display is attractively mounted and infinitely absorbing. Downstairs there’s a patio cafe and a well-stocked bookstore that also sells music, videos, and reproductions of Indian art, textiles, and jewelry.

I thought I would be sick of museums but this wa good (cost was 2000 CP) as it did not mention the Incas put focused on the pre-colombian races and tribes of all south America. this was good as I had not thought of or focused on the history in Mexico, central America etc like the Astecs etc. i enjoyed it.

Next I went to Iglesia, Convento y Museo de San Francisco. I had been to the church before but not the museum. t was 1000 Cp in.

The Church of San Francisco is the oldest standing building in Santiago, and although this landmark has been renovated over the years, the main structure has miraculously survived three devastating earthquakes. At the altar sits the famous Virgen del Socorro, the first Virgin Mary icon in Chile, brought here to Santiago by Pedro de Valdivia. The highlights, however, are the museum and the convent, the latter with its idyllic patio planted with flora brought from destinations as near as the south of Chile and as far away as the Canary Islands. The garden is so serene, you’ll find it hard to believe you’re in downtown Santiago. The museum boasts 54 paintings depicting the life and death of San Francisco, one of the largest and best-conserved displays of 17th-century art in South America.

Nice museum but I had seen many of the paintings before as they were all painted in cusco. I had see many of them in the Franciscon museums in Cusco and Cuenca.

It was nearly time to go and I got the metro back to the hotel. I had a quick bite to eat and took the metro back into town with my bags as tur Bus have buses from the city centre to the airport every 15 minutes for 1200 CP.

I got to the airport by 8.30pm. It was early but I like to check in early. There was a a row of people already and I checked in with no problem althought I had to take a centre seat. The flight was FULLy booked and I went through customs. At 10.30pm it was announced that there was a problem with the plane and it would not leave until 1.30am (meant to fly at 11.15). Anyway at 12.00 it was announced the problem was fixed. We got going at 12.20am. I listended to my MP3 player during the wait.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Santiago – Chile – Moument to the Military (30-07-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Santiago – Chile – Palacio de la Moneda, i went back to the Government Palace as I had not been to the interir patio. it is free but there is a very thorough search of bags and person on the way in.

Joaqu?n Toesca, the Italian architect responsible for setting the neoclassical tone of civic buildings in Santiago, directed the design of the Palace until his death in 1799. From 1846 to 1958 it was the official presidential residence, and continued as presidential headquarters until the infamous coup d’etat on September 11, 1973, when Pinochet’s troops shelled and bombed the building until ex-President Allende surrendered by suicide. The military has since patched up the damage they inflicted.


Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Santiago – Chile – National museum (30-07-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Santiago – Chile – Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (30-07-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Santiago – Chile – Francisco Church and Museum (30-07-2003)

Thursday, July 31st 2003 – Day 163

The flight was OK. It was cramped (BA have much more space). it was a Lan Chile flight and I found it hard to get comfotable. Teh food was good and we got real forks and knives. The best thing about the flight was the new entertinment controls. You have a screen in front of you (in the back of the seat in front of you). it is a touch screen sensitive. You also had a remote control with lead taken from tye arm rest.

Basically you have the choice of about 7 movies from The Hunted, How to lose a guy in 10 days, Shangai knights, Two Weeks Notice, Discovery Channel and a few more. Waht was so cool was that you decided when to view the movie. In the old days you had no choice. you watched what everyone else watched. With this you pressed start when you wanted. better still, you would forward, rewind and pause the movie if you wanted.

Other features included fullv ersions of recent albums from Coldplay and U2. Again you have about 15 albums and you could forward or rewind to certain songs.

better still were interactive games like Chess, checkers, card games etc. You could play against the computer or have 2 player games with your travelling companions. i had 2 games of chess versus the computer. The remote was like a games controller.

This is great technology. it must use a TVO like hard drive. It was cool to pause your movie while you got dinner. Everybody in the plane was watching, listening or playing different items from the system. this will only get better.

We touched down at 5.25am. I got no sleep during the 13 hour flight. We crossed the International time Line. it was now the 1st of August.