We had a rather ambitious plan today to walk to the four corners of the map that we had been given yesterday on our free walking tour. The northern most point was the cemetery, which we had been assured was unlike any other cemetery in the world (sounds familiar). Then we would walk across town to the western edge of our map to the Memory Museum, dedicated to remembering the human rights violations of the Pinochet dictatorship. We would end the day with dinner on the far east of our map at Osaka, one of Santiago’s best restaurants.
We started the day with our free breakfast of chocolate cereal and fruit before filling up our water bottles with the Santiago tap water that smells a bit like a swimming pool and heading off into the city. The morning was pleasantly cool and we made good time to the cemetery. As we got near the main entrance we saw a massive stage blocking our way and could hear the thwump of a kickdrum being sound checked. It seems that the WOMAD music and dance festival is being help this weekend in Plaza La Paz at the entrance to the cemetery and was blocking our way. An old woman was yelling at some Carabineros about how this was in the way of where she needed to walk and so we attached ourselves to her as she disregarded the barriers and made her way through the festival setup. Once inside the cemetery we noticed that it looked a lot like Buenos Aires’ “one-of-a-kind” cemetery only nicer, and with more trees and signs. We wandered through it for a while not really sure who any of these people were except for the former presidents who were mostly labeled. We did enjoy the architecture though. Along the outskirts of the cemetery, where the common folks were buried, the ground looked more like a community garden with small fences, flowers, and pinwheels spinning in the wind adding a whimsical touch to the endless rows of rusting metal crosses.
After the cemetery we headed back into the heart of the city to the Plaza de Armas where we stopped for what we have been told is a must eat Chilean food item – completos. They are hot dogs piled high with tomatoes, onions, and mayonnaise. They taste exactly how you imagine they would, with way too much mayonnaise spilling onto the ground and around our mouths. If this is the height of Chilean food we are severely disappointed.
Full up on hot dogs, which the whole world seems to love, we headed west towards the memory museum. The museum was free but we paid for the audio guide, having been warned it makes very little sense without it. The museum started with coup of September 11, 1973 and then slowly worked its way through the story of disappearing opposition to the government and how the people protested. It was very similar and equally depressing, though less graphic than, the museums we had seen in Cambodia. The museum did a less excellent job of concluding, and rushed through the democratic elections in the 90s that seemed to come out of nowhere and didn’t give a sense of closure about what kind of justice was brought to the military junta.
After the museum we had planned on heading to a beer bar that had been recommended to us but it was closed. Instead we decided to get some ice cream near our hostel. After getting a little lost, we found it and learned it is one of the top 25 ice cream restaurants in the world, less details were provided about who was the judge. The ice cream was delicious though, with interesting flavors similar to Lick in Austin. We both had lemon, mint, and basil which tasted like a sweet mojito and was delightfully refreshing in the hot city afternoon.
After ice cream we headed home to rest for a bit and have a call with my parents. We caught up on the goings on in Texas and assured them over and over again that we are indeed being safe and no we don’t have zika yet (that we know of). We also learned that only one of the pairs of shoes we shipped back from New Zealand made it so that was kind of a bummer. It’s hard to believe that in only one month we will be celebrating my mom’s birthday back in Texas, with our trip over.
After a lovely phone call, we had to rush to put on our “casually sophisticated” clothes and head across town, this time by subway, to Osaka for our 7.30 dinner reservations. 7.30 it seems is very early in Chile because the restaurant still had its doors closed when we arrived five minutes early. We were the first and only people in the restaurant as they opened which I never like, but we did get an excellent corner table with a view of the activity around the restaurant. Lynn had read about a tasting selection that was off menu and our waiter helped us with it as well as a nice wine to pair with everything. An endless parade of ceviche, nagiri, crab, shellfish, beef, and grilled seafood followed for ten courses and the next two hours. By the end we were a bit nervous about the check, but it was less than it would have been back in Austin so we were pleased.
Very tired and very full, we took the subway back home and quickly fell asleep.
Daily Walking Miles: 13.1 miles
- There is a type of completo called an italiano, not because any of the ingredients are remotely Italian, but because its tomato, avocado, and mayonnaise are the colors of the Italian flag.
- Michelle Bachelet, the president who inaugurated the Human Rights museum, was herself detained and exiled during the Pinochet junta. Her father was arrested and tortured and died while in captivity.