View from a small hill in the "town" of Nos, which is 20 miles to the SE of Santiago. This photo also shows what the "Valley of the Mapocho" (aka Santaigo) must a have looked like 500 years ago.
Q: How does a noisy, big and polluted city of 5 million people disappear?!
A: All you need is a little rain and wind. When you can see the Andes that surround it, the city almost literally vanishes. From the vantage point within the city the Andes are impressive, but not overwhelming. After all Santiago is a BIG city. Step away from the city and you realize how insignificant man's work really is compared to nature. Litterally and ant standing next to an elephant.
For those of you that have never been there Santiago sits at and elevation of approximately 2,000 feet. The tallest buildings in the city are about 40 some stories tall (big, but not huge - it's a very seismic country). The lowest little dark hill on the lower left corner is Cerro San Cristobal, from where several photos in this gallery were taken. This little, but steep hill still almost in the center of Santiago and is only about 2,700 feet high. It is easily accessible by foot or car - but feels high when you are there though. The darker small mountain in the foreground - which when I was little thought, as many kids incorrectly do, was a volcano, is calle Cerro Manquehue. Much bigger and hard to get to climb is still only 5,000 feet tall and, for all intents and purposes almost in the city now. The snowed peaks in the background are still very close to the city and are probably in the neighborhood of 16,000 feet high. The tallest mountains are off the image to the right and top out at over 22,000 feet and are only about 25 miles from downtown Santiago.