Zapallar & Environs and on to Santiago
Trip Start Jan 06, 2008
28Trip End Mar 31, 2008
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Where I stayed
We carried on to Valparaiso but not before the most exciting event of the day! We saw sea lions! We had stopped to take a look at a rocky outcrop against which the waves were crashing impressively. I heard a honking sound and looking more closely we could see a colony of sea lions just off the beach in Vina del Mar. Out came the cameras and we managed to get some good pictures
Valparaiso is somewhat like Miss Haversham in Great Expectations. Her glory days were before the Panama Canal was opened. It was the main stopping point for ships bound for San Francisco after they had rounded Cape Horn in the gold rush days. It is evident from the buildings that great wealth was amassed but sadly that was a long time ago and the city is in need of a new suitor to recapture some of its old glory. It is built like San Francisco on steep hills and its solution was to build funiculars (called ascensores) which take you up the hills to the residential areas. We took one which was built in 1883 and looked it but it was still working.
Today we drove back to Santiago in the company of two young (23) Australian girls who were completing a 7 week tour of South America. They were pleasant and cheerful companions for the day. We are now back at the Hotel Orly where we stayed when we first arrived. Santiago is a big, busy, thriving city of 4.5 million people with the traffic to go with it. There is a splendid modern subway system here which runs on rubber wheels al la Montreal. We have used it several times. It is easy to use and cheap (85 cents). This is easily the hottest place we have been in so far with daytime temperatures reaching 95 degrees but the humidity is low.
Tomorrow we have to be up early (4:30) to go to the airport to fly to Calama in the Atacama desert. We are actually going to San Pedro de Atacama and we will be picked up and driven there. More later....