Big City Tales

On a Clear Day in Santiago | March 27, 2013

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 The view from the Cerro San Cristobal Cable Car.

Nestled high in Chile’s central valley and set against the backdrop of the towering Andes mountain range, on a clear day the city of Santiago is a sight to behold.

Modern skyscrapers, neo-classical cathedrals and art deco hotels make up the city’s eclectic architectural style that pops at every turn against the vivid blue hues of the southern hemisphere sky and stark white snow-capped mountains.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago is hard to miss on picture-perfect days, as are other historic landmarks and, of course, the ever-present Andes that loom ever so large to the city’s north.

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The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago is one of the city’s top historical and cultural destinations.

The irony and sad reality is that clear days are hard to come by in Santiago–particularly during the winter months–and said majestic mountains and the city’s evolution to a major urban centre have actually contributed to a smog problem.

The good news is that the city’s air quality is improving and there are three other seasons where blue skies can, and thankfully do, appear on a regular basis.

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The majestic Andes mountain range looms large.

Yes, when winter passes, and the smog clears and cloud cover lifts, the landscape of Santiago comes to life. And it’s not just the Andes capturing all the attention.

By day, green spaces in the inner city such as Parque Forestal located along the Mapocho River attract legions of nature and art lovers clamoring to the park for a walk or museum tour. Just outside the city, sprawling vineyards are easily accessible; while the aforementioned mountains also provide ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits such as climbing, skiing and kayaking.

At night, the soothing sounds of jazz chords can be heard from clubs in the Bellavista district, and lasers and floodlights occasionally fill the sky around the Gran Torre Santiago, the city’s and Latin America’s tallest skyscraper.

As the old song goes: “On a clear day (you can see forever),” and when the conditions are ideal in Santiago, this sentiment rings oh so true!

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The Gran Torre Santiago is Latin America’s tallest skyscraper.

 

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