Phoebe has stolen our thunder, but I shall try to find something to add. Fabulous to be away from the wind and snow. Gentle warm sunshine yesterday as we walked around Santiago. Managed to mime sufficiently well to buy a bip card - I think it's like an oyster card and seems to be working well. Our spanish was stretched when we tried to ask ' if each trip is approx 570 pesos in off peak and 650 pesos in peak, what happens on a bank holiday and how many trips can we make - is it cumulative or not?' Think waving arms, desperate facial expressions and lots of graciases..
Street entertainers everywhere which make wandering more fun. The remants from the student riots (they are unhappy about education provision) are everywhere - schools boarded up, piles of desks, and HUGE banners stretched across all sorts of buildings. But we have come across no trouble.
The cathedral was spectacular in a catholic over-the-top kind of a way. Lots of glitz and paint and fake (what is it with fake flowers and catholic churches?) flowers. Although actually they had augmented them and decorated beautifully with fresh lilies and gladioli for the festival.
The museum was, as we had been told, fascinating. It focuses on history pre -european influence. Ceramics which were alternately whimsical and primitive, and delicate and fine. Lots of beautiful artefacts to accompany the dead into the next world. Fun bottles in the shape of animals, whistles in the shape of birds and lizards.. The textiles were cleverly displayed, alongside the tools that were used, and some explanation and diagrams of how to weave/sew to achieve the particular result. Very fine intricate work - weaving in some cases with paddles only an inch or so across.
A room full of huge wooden statues (think wooden easter island statues) which were used as 'mourners' at funerals - moved around to stand at your funeral to ensure everything was done properly, and the spirits would not be unhappy.
Wandered home through artisan markets and via the house of Pablo Neruda - Chile's famous poet.
Off to a local restaurant last night - busy busy and fun.
Sleep ! G x