Santiago has a lot of beautiful historic buildings all within walking distance of one another.
Below is the Cathedral at Plaza de Armas.
We weren't sure we would be able to go inside the cathedral. The gates were all locked and there was a huge police presence in the plaza. Turns out they were anticipating protests by the country's secondary school students that day. There is a huge push for education reform right now, and there have been lots of demonstrations and protests, some of them turning violent. We spoke to a guard and he let us in, locking the gate behind us. It was huge and gorgeous inside.
Below is the Palacio. Normally, you can walk right through it, but we were stopped by heavily armed police and informed tourists weren't allowed that day. I think it had to do with the expected protests too.
We love all the old churches in the South American countries. They are always so beautiful.
Here we are outside of an old train station that has been restored and turned into an event hall.
Besides the skiing, the other thing about Chile that we totally fell in love with was the wine. Oh, the wonderful wine! We both enjoy a glass of wine with supper or in the evenings before bed quite regularly. We are by no means wine snobs though. We can appreciate everything from a dry Cabernet Sauvignon with supper to a super sweet Moscato for a little nightcap, but I can't take a sniff and tell you what year and country my wine is from. I will tell you this though: Chile had the best dadgum wine I've ever tasted. (And yes, I'm certain that's the exact wording the wine connoisseurs would use to describe it too.) And you didn't even have to buy the really expensive stuff to get something fabulous.
The wine cellar where they are aging wines in the barrels. It smelled so fabulous down there.
And on to my favorite part: the tasting room! We tried a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, a wonderful Reserve Carmenere (which was totally new to us, but we both loved), and I had to try their 100% Chardonnay Champagne ('cause I'm a bubbly kinda girl.)
We ended up making a few purchases to bring back with us. But then we ended up drinking two of the bottles at the B&B over the next couple of days before we left. One was a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc that was the yummiest sweet wine I've ever had.
All I'm saying is that if you can't get down to Chile, at least go buy some Chilean wine. And by the way, about the whole drinking reds at room temperature thing . . . they served it at 17 degrees C (62 F). (Which I'm sure the real wine people know to do, but it was new to me.) It is much better with a little chill to it. Give it a try!
When we weren't attached to the tasting room at a local winery, we did some other sight-seeing as well. We went up a big hill in the middle of the city called Cerro San Cristobal. There is a little trolley that takes you up and down the hillside, along with cable cars. We rode them all to get views all the way around! Below is the trolley.
The view from the top was magnificent! (Although the pictures would have been more impressive on a clear day, you can still see the snow-topped Andes rising high above the city!)
I'll finish up Chile in my next post about our day trip over to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso.