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Museum of National History, Plaza de Armas, Santiago

A few more days of combined entries, as we recover from the trip to Valparaiso!

29 March:
Had a bit of a rest day today!  Did some cleaning and washing - it seems that Saturday morning is fine to access the laundry, because no-one gets up before lunchtime!  Mind you, from the noise in the flats last night, no-one went to bed until 5am anyway!  Went and saw a film in the afternoon with Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron.  Here it´s called The Conspiracy, but we think it was something like In the Valley of Elah in the US etc..  It wasn´t bad, but does not really give us a lot of hope about the mental state of soldiers returning from Iraq!  On the way home, we stopped in a local pub and quickly attracted a very strange man who decided that he should continue on the holiday with Melissa and leave Noel to his own devices!  He was VERY drunk and extremely difficult to understand, so we had an entertaining hour and a half!  Watched Ghostbusters on TV tonight, hilarious to watch these shows in Spanish.

Dominican Friary, Plaza los Dominicos, Los Condes, Santiago

30 March:
Daylight savings ended today, so clocks went back overnight and we woke up very early!  Visited the Pre-Columbian Museum today.  Museums in Santiago are supposed to be free on Sundays, but the lady very forcefully suggested that we should buy one and get one free.  If you went in alone, you got in free.  If there were two of you, they forced you to buy a ticket, so that was a bit annoying.  It is a very good museum, though, with lots of explanations in excellent English.  The museum is housed in the old Royal Customs Palace and has a great clection of pre-Columbian artefacts from all over the Americas, including pottery, metalwork and textiles.

Interior view of the artisans centre at Los Dominicos
  The temporary collection was about sex and power, and gave a really good explanation of the erotic pottery we saw at the Larco Museum in Peru, so very useful.  Next stop was the National History Museum on the Plaza de Armas - this one was free.  There is an interesting collection of Mapuche artefacts here, plus items through colonial times but only up to Pinochet gaining power.  There is nothing about what happened after the coup.  All the explanations are in Spanish, but the pieces themselves are interesting to look at anyway.  Bought the Sunday paper on the way home and worked our way through it with a bottle of Chilean wine good way to pass the rest of the night.

31 March:
Had an interesting day today.  Walked down to O´Higgins and had a wander around the Londres and Paris streets, lovely little alley ways with nicely restored old buildings.

Paris street, view from Londres, Santiago.
  Had a cappuccino, but not the best one we´ve ever had!  Seems to be mostly hotels and educational institutions here now, but a nice quiet area in the middle of the city.  We then caught the 407 bus all the way to Plazas Los Dominicos, where there is a Dominican convent and a huge artesans market.  The market has loads of stalls, and it is all nice stuff - hand-made and locally produced rather than the mass-produced rubbish most of the markets sell.  It is by far the best artesan centre we have seen here, and a great place for souvenirs.  It is more expensive, but the quality is also much better.  They had pottery, jewellery (lots of lapis lazuli), leatherwork, paintings, woodwork and anything else you can think of.  We bought a lovely little nativity scene (yes Mum, there are hundreds of them here now we´re not looking for one!) and a piece of lapis lazuli for a necklace.  Ate our picnic lunch in a leafy courtyard, then caught the bus back to Providencia to visit the Sernatur office for some more tourist info about the areas we are going in Patagonia.  The man here also booked our tour of the Santa Carolina winery for Wednesday.  Home to relax (after an ice-cream, of course).

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Museum of National History, Plaza …
Museum of National History, Plaza…
Dominican Friary, Plaza los Domini…
Dominican Friary, Plaza los Domin…
Interior view of the artisans cent…
Interior view of the artisans cen…
Paris street, view from Londres, S…
Paris street, view from Londres, …
photo by: Bluetraveler