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Santiago – The City Life

January 15, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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Santiago, Chile is an artsy city filled of hustling highways and pedestrian streets covered with vendors. The city sits below the snow capped Andes, giving it a sense of natural beauty in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. In Santiago, like any big city, it is hard to run out of things to do with all of the parks, museums, shopping, and cafes around town. However, I’m going to tell you about a few parts of Santiago we found to be our favorites. 

Bellas Artes is the funky neighborhood of Santiago where we stayed during our time here. The area is filled with museums, small parks, colorful painted walls, and adorable cobblestone streets. It differs from the other ares of the city with it’s individual personality and style. The locals often call the neighborhood of Bellas Artes “the village” which fits perfectly with all of the boutique shopping and quaint cafes.

Most every morning around nine-thirty or ten o’clock Tyler and I would go to have breakfast right now from our hostel at a little place called Mosqueto Cafe. The cafe was located on Mosqueto Street, the most adorable quaint cobblestone road lit with old fashion street lamps and had space for only a few small outdoor cafes lining only one side of the road. It quickly became one of our favorite streets. But not only did we have great coffee we learned a little about the people in Santiago. Before arriving in this city we read somewhere the people all have one thing in common, they stay up all hours of the night and sleep until late morning. (Which I immediately thought this place must be filled with college kids.) However, we found this to be true amongst all ages! Every morning we would practically have the cafe to ourselves until nine thirty or so when the seats would begin to fill with businessmen in suits grabbing a quick bite before heading off to work. I thought this sort of lifestyle was only really true in Italy and France. Apparently I was mistaken, it seems the US may be one of the only ones regularly seeing the hours of five and six a.m. We should work on that…

Bellavista, a quirky local part of town, quickly became our favorite afternoon or evening spot. At the beginning of Bellavista street there is a small market called the “Feria Artesanal Market” filled with local vendors each in their own permanent wooden booth set up with the different nicknacks in which they specialize. Some sold handmade shoes, jewelry, clothing, paintings, wooden carvings, etc., and it was common to see the vendors painting, carving, or create new pieces at their booth. Throughout the market laid a slender path made of tiles painted of all different pictures and colors, and on the backs and sides of the wooden booths murals were painted in bright colors giving this market a very unique noticeable appearance from streets away. Down the street from this market was a little ally with a sign hanging from the threshold created by the two buildings beside it which read “Patio Bellavista.” After walking a little ways into the ally the street opened up into an area filled with several little jewelry shops, ice cream parlors, cafes, and live music. How you couldn’t hear the music from the streets or the people sitting outside all the cafes we still have no idea, but with out a doubt it was a hip little scene we couldn’t help but love! 

The jewelry being sold in boutiques, vendors, and all within the Patio Bellavista is made with a relatively rare semi precious stone of Chile, Lapis Lazuli. The azure blue colored stone is usually found to have subtle light blue hints and a few golden flakes of pyrite. It is mined from the Ovalle area of the Andes Mountains. It is also said to be the universal stone of truth and friendship, and is reputed to bring harmony among relationships. Along with its positive meaning, the beautiful stone creates very unique pieces of jewelry, carvings, mosaics, vases, and more. One boutique in particular we stumbled upon was Isabel Martinez Gil. Her jewelry was among the most beautiful I saw in all of Chile, and unfortunately the price of her pieces forced me to leave with only a picture.

While Tyler and I visited a few different museums in Santiago, we enjoyed the Museo de la Moda the most. The museum was founded in 2008 by a young man named Jorge Yarur Bascunan, well known by “Yarur.” His grandfather founded the largest bank in the country and his father went on to be the president of the bank. Yarur was not necessarily interested in the banking business, but he also wasn’t the type of guy you would have picked to be in the fashion business either. When Yarur’s mother passed away in 1996 she left behind her home and her stunning wardrobe. This was when Yarur came up with the idea to open the first fashion museum in Santiago, Chile in honor of his mother. The museum is actually housed his parents former home, where he lived until they passed. It is a modernist bungalow built in 1962, and some of the rooms are still displayed as if they still lived their today. The pieces of furniture had been collected by his family from around the world. June 17th last year the museum began an 80’s exhibit which is still present today. The exhibit housed pieces such as Madonna’s famous plastic cone bra, a couple of Bono’s jackets and jewels, and Princess Diana’s famous deep scarlet red dress. Also displayed were Chanel dresses and Dior collections from the 20’s. It was an incredible exhibit to see, and an interesting museum to learn about filled with not only amazing fashion pieces but personal family history. 

With unlimited things to do in this large city, we really enjoyed the many things we were able to see and experience. Santiago, Chile is a fun, hip, and exciting place to spend time. Now we are off to Cusco, Peru to hike the Inca Trail for a complete change in pace. Off we go… 



P.S. Sorry for not having any pictures … Tyler’s computer isn’t working right now but hopefully we can get it fixed in the next couple of weeks. Trust me, he is doing everything he can to get it fixed ASAP!!!

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2 thoughts on “Santiago – The City Life

  1. Tyler and Chelsea, we sure enjoy reading your blog, sounds like you are having a great time. Your blog is outstanding. We were in New Zealand and Australia in Feb./ March of last year and really enjoyed it. Keep having a wonderful time and be safe. We’ve not been to any of South America and I want to do that some time. Your blog makes me want to even more.
    Virginia & James Dennie

    • tasos vamvakaris 5 Αυγούστου 2013 at 21:54 και τι σχεση εχει με το dgftialliie αυτο????τι το τεχνολογικο εχει αυτη η ειδηση?????off-topic!!!!!

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