2023 Minnetonka Chile Program

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Vibing in Valpo

Today we visited the city of Valparaiso! This city is 2 hours away from Santiago on the Chilean coast. It is known for its street art and color, something we definitely experienced. Everywhere you looked there was graffiti, murals, and works of art. We stoped at another one of Pablo Neruda’s houses: La Sebastiana. The house is absolutely beautiful and overlooks the city and ocean. The majority of the city rests on a hill so we walked up and down hundreds of steps. We took a tram-elevator hybrid up to lunch. Lunch was delicious and although it may have taken a while to come, the food was definitely worth the wait. After lunch, we walked around Barrio Alegre to admire all the street art. Here we stoped to get some ice cream and had some close encounters with the local wildlife (aka the scary pigeons). We also found a street corner that was very Spanish immersion teacher’s dream. There were steps that had the lyrics of a song we lean about junior year and a mural referencing Mafalda, a cartoon that we have also learned about in class. In “Valpo” as the locals call it, we also stoped at a pop up market in the middle of the town square. Here many of us found fun souvenirs to bring back to the States. After our drive back to Santiago we had dinner at a Peruvian restaurant. The food was again delicious and even if we weren’t all very hungry, we scrapped the last bites off our plate because it was so good. Everyone ended the night by getting organized for our day of travel tomorrow. We can’t wait to see the last bits of Santiago before we leave!

“The historical side of Santiago”

We started our day off with breakfast at the hotel. The chocolate croissants and fresh fruit are definitely the most popular choices! We then took the metro to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights to learn about the 1973 coup d’état and the military dictatorship of Agustin Pinochet. We then found an amazing restaurant “La Gárgola” in an old historical home. After a delicious meal, we visited a few more museums. The Musuem of Natural Sciences, Contemporary Arts, and Sound (with some special performances from students). This was followed up with a meal at La Peluquería Francesa, another historical restaurant with an amazing history and food. We then took the metro back to our hotel for free time. Popular choices were watching movies, swimming/exercising, and grabbing snacks. We got to bed early for our day trip to Valparaiso tomorrow!

Blog 1 & 2: Sanhattan

Yesterday we arrived in Santiago! With our own personal shuttle we arrived to the hotel and quickly turned around to go to the Sky Costanera. This is the tallest building in South America clocking in at 62 stories or 300 meters tall. We got an incredible view of night time Santiago and got some really good pictures. Today was our first full day in the city. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel before heading out to our activities of the day. We had our first experience on the metro. We might have definitely looked like tourists but we all made it there with only one emergency stop of the train ;) We walked through Parque Forestal where we saw a really cool statue. Did we mention that it was raining this entire day? The park is where the rain really kicked in. I think everyone got good use of their rain jackets and umbrellas after a week of beautiful weather in Consepción. From there we went to the Museo de Bellas Artes. The works inside were a mix of modern and classic styles and we had some fun recreating some of the statues. Next stop was the Pablo Neruda’s house, La Chascona. We walked around learning more about Pablo Neruda, the architecture of the house and the history of Chile. The little house really has experienced a lot! From a “glope militar” to the daily happenings of Neruda’s life, each room has a story to tell. We then crossed back across the Parque Forestal to find lunch. We went to the Mercado Central to get a taste of Chilean seafood. While at first it might have been overwhelming for some, the restaurant was delicious, we had some amazing conversations with the waiters, and we knew that all the seafood was really fresh because we walked past it all on ice on the way in. After lunch we AGAIN walked through the Parque Forestal. Our next destination was the “cerro” or hill with the virgin marry statue on top. We decided to walk up instead of takin the tram which gave us some amazing views of the city and a good leg workout. After stoping for ice cream, we ended up taking a gondola for the last half of the hike up. We arrived at the top just before everything closed. We literally walked through a cloud to get to the statue. Shouthout to the gondola workers who kept it running past close time because they doubted our ability to make it down on our own (we definitely could have done it)! We had a short but brisk walk back to the hotel where we regrouped and went to dinner at Elkika, a German restaurant by our hotel. WE can all test that the desserts there are really good because we ate them before we had our entrees. Overall we walked around 23,000 steps or 9.3 miles. Although we may be a little tired at the end of the night, we are pumped for our next day in Santiago! Stay tuned for more adventures!