An Amazing Weekend

We had an interesting weekend.  It started with Fiesta Huasa which is a party that happens in September every year that celebrates Chilean history and culture.  My mom said it is part of Fiestas Patrias which is part of the Chilean Independence Celebration.  It is kind of like one of the festivals in Piedmont Park except different.

There were games that you might find at a festival in the United States such as sack races or games where you try and get the ring on the bottle.

Jack and I doing Sack Races

There were also games that were not common in the United States.  One game had a circle of what looked like bunny houses with numbers on them.  In the middle of the circle was something that looked like a cage.  A man in a festive colored poncho sold tickets with all the numbers of the bunny houses.  After he sold all the numbers, he would open the cage and a scared little guinea pig would come out, look around, and skitter into one of the little bunny houses.  We didn’t win, but I didn’t really care.  The prizes were barbies and dinosaur figurines. (You have to watch the video below.  It is Hilarious!)

Guinea Pig Game

Selling Tickets for Guinea Pig Game

Next we ate some food for lunch.  They had a booth for hotdogs, a booth for anticucho, a booth for empanadas.  Jack said he was in the hotdog line and they asked if he wanted avocado (palta) on his hotdog.  I had no idea that hotdog toppings would be any different in Chile.

Food Menu at Fiesta Huasa

Horses are a big part of Fiesta Huasa,. The Vice Principal of Nido was riding a horse as part of a parade, he fell off his horse and his horse fell on his leg.  I saw him a day later with a cast. (Don’t worry, he is okay.)  He and his family also just moved here from Oregon.  His wife is Jack’s teacher.

The Horses at Fiesta Huasa

During Fiesta Huasa, I noticed that I was one of the only people wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  Many girls were wearing flouncy dresses that didn’t think even existed anymore.  There were also women and men in equally elaborate outfits doing traditional Chilean dances on a stage.

Girls in their traditional Chilean party dresses.

A tradition in Chile around this time of year is to fly kites.  It looked like there were thousands of kites in the air during the fiesta.

Kites for sale at Fiesta Huasa

On Sunday, my mom found this little church with a Mass in english.  She suggested that we go on a short hike after church.  The church happens to be located next to the largest park in Chile and one of the largest in the world.  Parque Metropolitano de Santiago is also where the zoo and the madonna are located.

Directional Sign in Parque Metropolitano

We began the hike thinking we were only going to go to a lookout post we could see on the horizon.  We ended up just taking a break there because we realized we could walk all the way to the zoo.  We were not sure how long it would take but it looked like it was about seven kilometers.  We knew we couldn’t walk 14 kilometers (7 there, 7 back) so we decided we would take a taxi back to our car after the hike.

Map of Parque Metropolitano

A park ranger on his caballo

Top of San Cristobol

Our plan was to walk to the Madonna at San Cristobal  and take the funicular down the mountain.  After three hours of hiking we arrived at the top of the mountain only to find the funicular was closed.

Sign posted saying that the funicular is closed

So, after three hours of hiking, we found out we had another hour and a half hike to go – this time down the mountain that we had just climbed.

At first it seemed okay.  The path was really steep so I was glad we were going down instead of up. We kept saying to each other that our legs felt like jello but there was really nothing we could do about it since we had to get down the mountain. Eventually we got to the bottom.

Once out of the hiking trail area, we landed in Barrio Bellavista and we found a great pizza place in Patio Bellavista called Pizzeria Constitution and sat outside.  We celebrated the end of our weekend (and our incredibly long hike) with the best pizza in Santiago.