By Glenn Rigby
Chile is a country in South America, and is made up of mountains, volcanoes, lakes, fjords, inlets, peninsulas, and desert. Chile also controls the world-famous Easter Island! Santiago is Chile's national capital and largest city, located in the country's central valley.
There are many great things to do and see in Santiago, and I will highlight a few of these:
* Mercado Central
Santiago's colorful Mercado Central, housed in an 1872 wrought iron structure, has a fruit and vegetable market as well as a buzzing fish market where an assortment of glistening fish is packed onto the tables. Mussels, oysters and clams sit in buckets among an unidentifiable variety of crustaceans and tentacled creatures. The fishmongers demonstrate their skill at gutting and filleting amid a cacophony of frenzied buying. The best time to visit is at lunchtime when a delicious sampling of the wares can be enjoyed in the happily chaotic atmosphere of the central hall.
* Cerro San Cristobal
Cerro San Cristóbal is a 2,752ft (860m) hill jutting out of the city and on a clear day affords magnificent views of the surrounds and across to the Andes. The easiest way to the top is by funicular, but there is also a teleférico (cable car), bus or a path leading up from the bottom through the forested slopes. There are many walkways and at the summit is the 70ft (22m) high statue of the Virgin Mary to mark where the Pope held a mass in 1987. There is also a small zoo, picnic sites and an outdoor swimming pool. The cerro is situated within the Santiago's biggest open space, Parque Metropolitano, and is a peaceful place, an escape from the never-ending noise of traffic in the city below.
* Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art
Spanning 4,500 years and about 80 pre-Colombian civilizations of South America the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art) is a fascinating place to spend a few hours. Located in the old Royal Customs House, the exhibit displays are well lit and beautifully arranged throughout four rooms set around a central courtyard. The collection provides an informative insight into the cultures of the Incas, Mayans, Aztecs and other once proud civilizations of the continent, illustrating their artistic diversity.
By Glenn Rigby