Let's first look at the map and see where we are. Santiago is nestled in Chile’s great Central Valley, close to the foot of the Andes Mountains.
The original city, founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, was centered on the Plaza de Armas and made
up a grid of 35 blocks. Today, Santiago sprawls with a population of approximately five million.
We will go by bus to the port city of Valparaíso where the cruise ship is
located. In the middle is an aerial views of Valparaíso.
Out of the airport and got on the pre-arranged bus with
a Chinese tour guide. The first stop was to La Moneda Presidential Palace. Here we took some pictures with the guards and saw some
interesting exhibits. We also drove by several of these ancient trees from
the dinosaur days. To the right is a street sign.
Next we went to San Cristobal Hill. Atop of this hill stands
the statue of the Virgin Mary, unveiled in 1908, which watches over the city. The
tallest peak in Santiago, San Cristobal rises 2,900 feet above sea level.
I climbed all the way to the top and had a sweeping views of the city and its surroundings.
Next stop is Shopping... or taking pictures of people
Now a surprisingly good Chilean lunch at La Mia Pappa,
with very nice local wine and beer. Everyone especially enjoyed the steak
grilled in Chilean style.
On our drive to Valparaiso, we traveled through the Curacavi Valley, crossing low
cordilleras and passing by many vineyards along the way.
Valparaíso, Chile’s oldest city was founded in 1536 by the Spaniards, and
named after the birthplace of Spanish conquistador, Diego de Almagro. The picturesque bay,
surrounded by 45 steep hills, is studded with old Victorian houses and is often compared to San Francisco. In the late 19th century, to
make access up and down the hills easier, the government provided a system of funiculars and cable cars called ascensores. By 1940 there
were 40 operating ascensores, and today only 15 remain. This copper statue
is a symbol of unity and the congress building is the one with a hole in the
This last shot was obviously downloaded from the web.
And finally, we boarded Royal Princess.