Postprandial Wander

2009.Dec.29 Tuesday · 4 comments

in Life

My goal, parque metropolitano

From the mercado, one can see a huge hill rising off to the northeast. It appears to be a bit of a hike, and it is, but it was my goal for the afternoon, the Parque Metropolitano.

Barrio Patronato

First, it required a wander through Barrio Patronato, a community that, reminds me in many ways of the East Village of 20 years ago – a mix of places that have been there forever and new, trendy shops. “Ethnic” restaurants, in particular, a concentration of Korean dining spots, abound, also jazz clubs, dance halls, a magic theater, bars, pubs, watering holes. It’s also a bit of a garment district, with shops specializing in all sorts of textiles, threads, and clothing. And, being Sunday afternoon, it was all pretty much closed up.

parque metropolitano

This barrio gives way to the Bellavista area, the up and coming, or gentrifying ‘hood that everyone’s talking about. I more or less just skirted that area on this part of my wander, and headed straight into the park, where there are swimming pools and a zoo, and pathways to take, and, the funicular, a steep cable car setup that heads up to the very top.

parque metropolitano

Now, in theory, everyone’s goal is this little oasis of catholic prayer, the statue of the virgin and various gardens and grottos surrounding her…

parque metropolitano

But, I can tell you that very few people were looking at her, other than, perhaps a cursory and obligatory crossing and genuflection. They’re here for what I was here for, the view out over the city.

parque metropolitano

And, a pretty spectacular view it is, no?

parque metropolitano

Where candles go to die….

parque metropolitano

And, starting the descent back down. One can also walk, and it would likely be very pleasant, but also time consuming, and I wanted to explore more of the city rather than the park.

Pio Nono

The main thoroughfare leading out of the park is Pio Nono, and it’s just lined with cafes and bars, all doing brisk business. It’s a spot for cheap, casual food – mostly sandwiches of one sort or another – the three “classics” here, hot dogs aside, are the lomito, a fresh ham sandwich, dripping with gravy, either prepared italiano, with the green, white and red theme of avocado, mayo and tomato, or completo, which seems to be sauerkraut and some sort of red sauce; the barros luco, which is basically a cheesesteak; and, the chacarero, thinly sliced roasted beef topped with tomato, green beans and green chilies.

Patio Bellavista

Along Pio Nono I ran across the new Patio Bellavista, a multilevel shopping and dining space that seems to be where the yuppie set hangs, as well as tourists looking for more upscale souvenirs.


Somewhere, just outside of Bellavista, as I headed west, I ran across this building, which I simply liked.

Barrio Lastarria

And ran across another of those little enclave type barrios, this one called Lastarria, it was built between 1916 and 1921, according to my trusty guide – at one time home to some sort of nitrate baron and the US embassy, among others, it is now a “barrio cultural”, with little community theaters and galleries, and casual eateries. Speaking of which, time to head back to the hostel, freshen up, relax a bit, and head out to eat….


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

KevinSanSal December 29, 2009 at 13:32

Dan, what a view of the city, and wow it DOES look nice and clean.

What kind of gravy are they serving with the sandwich…sounds fatteningly delicious. I’m glad you’re having a great time and staying busy.

Christine December 29, 2009 at 18:46

I am thoroughly enjoying your journey through the barrios of Santiago. Your photos, especially the ones on this post, are taking me down memory lane. My family and I lived in Santiago for one year many years ago. I was just a teenager and had little interest in the culinary scene at the time. Now, I want to go back and take in all that you are bringing to life!
Have you been to the open air market on Avenida Tobolaba? When I lived near there, the market set up 2 days a week along the canal and is where our family did its shopping. Please keep your posts and photos coming!

dan December 29, 2009 at 19:26

I haven’t, I know there are a bunch of other neighborhood markets that operate on a part-time basis, but my understanding from local sources is that they are simply smaller and less well stocked than the central markets. Too much other stuff to do!

John December 29, 2009 at 23:26

Dan, your trip through Santiago brings back memories of my visit there several years ago (just before I went to BA and had dinner at your place). I enjoyed the Bellavista area also. In fact I ate most of my meals there. Don’t miss the congrio (eel) – it is very nice. I recall one meal where I had it done three ways – fried, in a crepe and in a sauce. Like you, I found the mote con huesillos, interesting -almost a little too sweet, but definitely worth a try.

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