Thursday, March 7, 2013

Have I mentioned...

that it's really dusty here in Santiago?  The result is that most days there's an amazing sunset and I'm well placed to see it from my perch on the 12th floor.

The downside is that everything in Santiago is looking more than a little dirty and dingy.  I'm guessing that in the winter, when it rains, the city is a lot cleaner.  Meanwhile, with 90 degree temperatures and the windows open constantly, my things, along with me, are getting a bit more dusty as well.

I'm writing on the last night I'll spend here in Chile for the next 3 weeks or so.  It's been an amazing adventure in learning Spanish in a country where they don't speak much Spanish that a novice can recognize, but I find that I'm doing much better at understanding the TV, especially since most programs are made in other countries.  

What will bring Chile to mind immediately?  Besides the mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and the skyline of Santiago, I'd have to say it would be Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, the smell of burnt toast (it's made on ancient stove top contraptions), car alarms, cups full of mayonnaise on sandwiches, tons of avocado on everything (terrific!), the metro, stray dogs (an estimated 70,000 in Santiago) and fabulous ice cream.

But I do need to tell you about an outing in Santiago

This is La Moneda, the Presidential Palace in Santiago.  

Presidente PiƱera works here, but lives elsewhere. During the Pinochet coup the palace was bombed by the airforce and Allende died inside (there's still a debate as to whether it was suicide or not.) These days it's popular for:

a gorgeous underground space for art exibitions and other cultural events.

My friend Eliana and I went to see an exhibition of Peggy Guggenheim's Venice museum's collection.  Some of the artworks were old friends, I actually got one picture taken before being forbidden to photograph any of the works, the other is from my trip to Venice back in 06.

The pictures and statuary were amazing, it was good to see them in another space.

We also went to see the oldest church in Lima,  San Francisco.  Yup, the Franciscan friars were big in South America as well as Mexico and California.  The church was built early in the 17th century and has a monastery (now mostly a museum) attached to it.  It's survived countless earthquakes, probably because the walls are adobe and extremely thick.

Notice that the interior of the dome is made of wood!

Two of my favorite things about Spanish churches are their statues and their tombstones:

What cracks me up is something that isn't properly translated into
English as  "In this temple lies the rest of ..."  

Notice that the hair is real....

The church is home to a gallery of 48 huge paintings done by Chilean artists that tell the story of the life of St. Francis. All of this is is within a beautiful cloister that surrounds a plaza with trees and a fountain.

All in all, with a great lunch, and a visit to Los Domenicos (more on that later), we had a great time.  A touch bittersweet since Ellie was spending her last free time in Chile before she headed back to Petaluma CA.  

No comments:

Post a Comment