The Monkey has visited Chile twice, in 1998 and again in 2005. His first visit was brief, reaching the mountaintop border at the Paso de los Libertadores in the high Andes by foot from Argentina’s Uspallata Pass area. Unfortunately, due to extremely high winds that promised to push the Monkey off the edge to certain death, he couldn’t risk a photograph. For his second visit to Chile, El Mono decided to try flying over the Andes from Argentina instead. He spent time in Santiago, Valparaíso, and once again up in the Andes.
Chile is geographically diverse, stretching some 4,600 kilometers from its desert north to its subarctic south, with some of the Andes’ most ragged peaks forming most of its eastern border, and the equally dramatic western coast abutting the wild South Pacific. And although Chile’s longitudinal length is over 4,600 kilometers (making Chile the longest north-south country in the world), the slender country’s latitudinal width averages only 160 kilometers!
The Monkey has only seen a little bit of what Chile has to offer, but he expects to be back. For now, as he prepares the full entries, please enjoy this Chile teaser.
Santiago, Chile’s sprawling capital, combines the colonial and the contemporary in intriguing ways. Here, the 16th Century Iglesia San Francisco confronts a glass-walled rascacielos (skyscraper) along the Alameda, Santiago’s main boulevard.
The Monkey visits La Chascona, the Santiago home of Chilean literary luminary Pablo Neruda. Climbing a hillside in the chic Bellavista barrio, Neruda’s lovely home consists of several buildings linked by stone steps and terraces. It is now a museum containing many artifacts owned by the poet and his wife, Matilde.
With its eccentric architecture and furnishings so reflective of its inhabitants, La Chascona reminded the Monkey just a bit of Salvador and Gala Dali’s home in Port Lligat.
El Mono visits La Moneda, the seat of the Chilean presidency. The palace was at the center of the 1973 military coup that dislodged the elected socialist government of Salvador Allende and replaced it with the quasi-fascist, U.S.-supported Pinochet regime.
Chile’s main port is Valparaíso, dramatically squeezed between a crescent-shaped Pacific bay and steep surrounding cliffs and hillsides that vertically split the city in two. A network of 15 ascensores (funicular railways), most dating from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, connect the upper and lower cities. Here, the Monkey takes in the postcard view from the top of the Ascensor Artillería back toward the bay and city center. Too bad the Monkey’s photographer didn’t bring a wide angle lens…
This Monkey adventure has been viewed 902 times since the 2010 website relaunch.