Santiago: Places to Explore

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Pomaire

You can easily spend a morning or afternoon wandering around the quaint village of Pomaire, a former settlement of indigenous people comprising nothing more than a few streets of single-story adobe dwellings. On weekends Pomaire teems with people who come to wander around, shop, and lunch in one of the picadas specializing in empanadas and other typical Chilean foods.

Pomaire is famous for its brown greda, or earthenware pottery, which you'll likely come across in one form or another throughout Chile. Order pastel de choclo and it will nearly always be served in a round, simple clay dish—they're heavy and retain the heat, so the food is brought to the table piping hot.

The village bulges with bowls, pots, and plates of every shape and size, not to mention other objects such as piggy banks, plant pots, vases, and figurines. An average bowl will set you back no more than 300 to 400 pesos; an oven dish might cost between 2,000 and 3,000 pesos. Most of the shops at the top of the main street sell the work of others; walk further down the street or into the side streets and you'll find the workshops from which they buy. Prices are cheaper there.

Pomaire's adobe buildings suffered badly in the February 2010 earthquake. Many of the mud ovens that artisans use to bake their pottery were also destroyed, along with a lot of their stock. But, within a few weeks, the village was almost back to normal, with most of the shops and restaurants open again. Full reconstruction will, however, take some months but, meanwhile, the artisans are more than happy to tell visitors all about the Great 2010 Earthquake.

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