A Chile Winter: Cerro San Cristobal

Photo-blogging Chile with Maria Barragan-Santana. Watch for more of Maria’s photos as the summer (or winter, as it may be) goes on! Updates Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Though we could have taken a nice walk to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, we took a funicular — which dated back to 1925 — to the peak of the cerro (Spanish for hill), which towers 300m (2,820 ft) over the city of Santiago.

Click the above photo to explore Maria’s incredible panorama of Santiago!

At the peak, there is a beautiful 14-meter statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary atop an 8-meter pedestal overlooking the entire city. Inside the pedestal one can visit a small chapel, Santuario Inmaculada Concepción, from which Pope John Paul II blessed the city of Santiago in 1987.

I found a place at the foot of the stairs to the chapel that was filled with prayers and candles. Looking through the messages, I found a prayer that I learned when I was little, which begins: “Angel de mi guarda, mi dulce compania, no me desampares ni de noche ni de dia…”

At that moment, as I stood atop of the cerro feeling the warmth of the sun, surrounded by an atmosphere filled with prayers and blessings, before a spectacular view of the city, I was overcome with a complete sense of peace.