It wasn’t on our original itinerary but due to a changed plane flight we had a day in Santiago, Chile, before flying to Easter island.
Santiago is very old. The city was founded in 1541 and before that the region was part of the Inca empire. It is also a very large city with six million people. It is in a valley and thermal inversion makes pollution a big problem, especially in winter. It was apparently rated eighth most polluted city in the world about 10 years ago. Perhaps the problem is particularly acute in winter because the pollution didn’t seem that bad while we were there. Santiago seemed to me a much friendlier city than Buenos Aires though several people on the street did warn me (in English) to keep a good hold on my camera.
We wasted a lot of time by getting on a “tourist bus” around time which it turns out takes you to “special places of interest” such as shopping centres. We did go up a finicular to the top of a hill with a commanding view over the city (as well as catholic shrines on the top) but the cable car to the attendant botanical gardens was closed.
Our main objective for the day was the Museum of PreColumbian Art but our route was back-to-front and since we had difficulty finding it, we had little time left when we got there. It was very special, though, and since they allow photography without flash I can show you some of the items on display. Unfortunately I didn’t also photograph the display captions so I can’t provide any details of their historical and cultural context. If anyone knowledgable is reading this blog, feel free to comment.