Hopping around Santiago 

Whoever thought of the Hop on Hop off bus had the ‘time challenged’ and foot weary traveller in mind. 
We started the day with a sleep in. We were so tired after our long flight the previous day. So around nine we went to the lovely breakfast room and had a great omelet. 
Then it was a wander though the quiet streets. A typical Spanish trait is to party late and not get going till noon. So we had the quiet cobbled streets to ourselves. There are a few interesting styles of architecture in this city but the area we are in , Bellavista, is old style, some timber, painted brick and lots of murals on walls.  

 
Our first stop was Pablo Neurda’s house La Gazetta. It’s his alternate house where he could take his mistress, away from the gaze of the cities eyes. It butts up again the hill we were going to visit later. It’s painted blue and has an interesting assortment of pictures. That’s as much as we saw as we decided we didn’t have time to wander around the house itself reading the translations. 
We headed along the narrow, shaded road and went to buy tickets to the funicular. An unusually tall Santiagoan ( is that what they are called?) helped us and we bought tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus for after our visit up the hill of San Cristobel. 

   
 
The funicular was old and a little rickety but zipped up the steep rise and delivered us to a large paved area overlooking the city. Great views. Considering we were on the first funicular the area had quite a number of people. Their clothes gave them away. Lycra, worn by the fit around the world, announced them as Santiagos cyclists and runners. The hill provides the challenge. 
There were more steps to climb to reach the large white statue of the Madonna as she looked out across the city. It was a quiet peaceful area with a large outdoor altar with terraced seating for outdoor masses and then a small pretty Chapel nearby. 
We returned down the hill and got the bus. It’s commentary was very good providing us with all the details you need when in a new city. It’s also a great way to see places you wouldn’t get to on your own in just one day. We got off only once as we had visited some of the more interesting buildings the day before on our walking tour. 
Lunch got us off and we struggled to find a restaurant with people in it. Lots of nice ones but we were a little ahead of the lunch crowd. It was 12.45 so I guess most people were only waking up. We didn’t like the idea of being the only people in a restaurant. We found one that filled the bill and the stomach.  

 
We hopped back on for a further look at the city including a stop at a very large shopping centre before heading back toBellavista feeling very pleased that the area we Jhansi stayed in. Thank you Fi from Mahjong for the suggestion. In fact all your suggestions were great. We just needed more time. 
I’m now writing this on the plane a five hour flight to Guayaquil the first stop on our way to Galapagos. We have a quick night there before an 8 am flight tomorrow. 
We’ll be very pleased to get there. 

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