The Santa Lucia Hill that we visited a few weeks ago was a treat, but there is another hill nearby that is even bigger. It's called San Cristobal Hill.
You can get to the top by riding a cable car that hangs from a wire in the air, by taking a funicular (a carriage that looks like a train and is pulled by a wire on a track), by taking a taxi, or by walking on a trail the whole way up. We chose the funicular.
At the station, there was a man playing music and asking for money. We gave him a few coins, and then we were off, and it was scary, with the trees passing fast around us, and Santiago getting farther and farther away.
The funicular had a plaque that (Dad translated) mentioned that the Pope had ridden the very same carriage when he visited Chile in 1987.
From the top of San Cristobal, you can see most of Santiago, including the Mapocho River and the Santa Lucia Hill.
The funicular doesn't take you all the way to the top, though, so we had to climb several stairs to the huge statue of the Virgin Mary that is on the highest part of the hill.
There was an open-air church right below the Virgin, with pews, an altar, and a view.
To get back to the city, we decided to walk the long trail, and it really strained our legs. We saw the little cable cars coming up and down above us. Here is a picture of them.
We stopped to rest at a plaza where there was a stand selling food and ice cream. Mom and Dad said that we should try a Chilean treat called "Mote con Huesillo." It is barley cooked in water with a lot of sugar, plus whole peaches cooked in water with even more sugar, and it is served cold.
It was nice to try, but it is not my thing. Way too sweet! (Not even RJE liked it, and she is the Queen of Sweets.)
On the road back home, we saw some cacti. Dad said that the little oval on the top was called a "tuna," and that it was a fruit sold at produce stands for eating.
He had not had one since childhood, so we bought a few to eat at home. It is very important to hold it by the edges (to avoid the prickles), and to peal it (like a pineapple) before eating the inside.
It tasted OK, but too many seeds.
And as long as I'm talking about food: We tried ANOTHER childhood treat of my dad's. It is called "Café Helado"---and to make it at home, we poured cold coffee with milk and sugar in a tall glass, then added two scoops of vanilla ice cream, and a cookie.
It would have been good, except that the ice cream tasted like butter. It seems a lot of the ice creams in Chile contain butter (it is listed as an ingredient). I didn't like it, but RJE did.
Write back to the rats at
The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2007