Photo: Pedro Villavicencio.
Santiago has quite a lot to offer, but it’s hard to get to know Chile, precisely, when you’re within the city. For a close-by look into more of the huaso (Chilean cowboy) culture, as well as a chance to buy low-priced, high-quality greda (earthenware or terracotta) items, from sugar bowls to flowerpots, a day trip to close-by Pomaire may be in order.
Pomaire is a town just 67 km from Santiago which specializes in terracotta ware. If you’ve eaten pastel de choclo (a meat casserole topped with grated corn), you’ve seen work from Pomaire. Soups in Chile are often served in the terra cotta bowls as well, and pebre (the spicy salsa accompanies bread before a meal) often comes in them as well.
Chileans and tourists alike come to this town to browse the pots (and toys), buy foods associated with the country side (farm fresh eggs, chestnuts in syrup, etc), and to have a leisurely lunch at one of the country-style restaurants with their red checked tablecloths, tables groaning under the weight of the food and old-school waiters who’ve been waiting tables there since the beginning of time (or so it would seem). You can also sometimes catch pottery-throwing demonstrations, and don’t miss the cut-out candle holders that look lovely with a votive inside.
Go to Terminal San Borja (at metro Estación Central), walk to the back (near the Homecenter) and take the long ramp upstairs. From here, take a bus to Pomaire, which will run you about 1500 pesos. To take the bus back, walk to the edge of town and take a bus that says Santiago. It’s that simple. If there are no buses leaving soon to Pomaire (though they leave several times a day), you can take one to Melipilla and take a colectivo (shared taxi) to Pomaire, or just settle in and wait until the next bus leaves.