On Monday, after my weekend in Baños Morales, I took an admin day, to catch up on the blog and do some banking. On Tuesday I got the bus from Santiago to Valparaiso.
They say you either love or hate Valpo. I loved it. The city is set on numerous hills dropping down onto a sweeping bay, and well deserves it´s World Heritage Status.
There is really very little to see here, but the city spread over the hillsides, with multicoloured homes made of corrugated metal, and accessed by 100 year old, and older, funicular carriages, is a delight.
It´s a working port, and home to the Chilean Navy. As a port city it has it´s rough sides too. What was great about it though is that it is an attractive historic city that still very clearly lived in and alive.
Valpo grew serving the Spanish ships running up and down the west coast, this continued after Chilean independence, being a major stopover point between Europe and the developing west coast of America. A major earthquake in 1906 and the opening of the Panama canal, saw it´s fortunes decline.
It is a great place to walk and wander about, taking the occasional "ascensores" up to the hills above the port. It had a real bohemenian feel; there´s some great street grafiti art, and many galleries etc.
I also loved the food. I found a place that sold seafood soup for lunch (Paila Mariner), deliciously made with every available type of mollusc. So good was it I went twice to the same restaurant on both my days there.
Had a text to say I´m not included enough pics of me. So here I am with what I´ll call my new Armada De chile haircut (and suntan). Yes I have been to the barbers. Of course we chatted away, him asking where I´m going on holiday, me replying well Chile and the rest of South America (actually I sat there in complete silence as the cut throat razor whirled around like in some circus act).