Chilling out in Chile.....16-18 Nov
Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
46Trip End May 28, 2011
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Arrived in Valparaiso, which is about an hour from Santiago, early in the morning around 5am. Most people got off at the station a few miles from Val at the nearby beach resort, we were the only ones left on the bus. We had to get off with our backpacks in the middle of the street as the bus station was closed. We hadn't booked a hostal, so we had to take a taxi and just went down the list of Lonely Planet recommendations. The few we knocked on were all fully booked. We were tired and getting worried we would not find anywhere. Eventually we found one that had rooms – the Hostal Acuarela, 862 Templeman. The guy that lets us is in a youngish with dreads; he is pretty laid back and chilled out. He lets us stay in a double room for free to catch up on some sleep, we then have to move into a 6-bed dorm, sharing with other girls but at least it has its own bathroom, and I discover I am not the only traveller to bring along their hair straighteners
The guys who appear to run the hostal are really nice, there is a lovely vibe to the place, and even though they don’t speak much English they make us feel welcome. A very relaxed atmosphere compared to the awful hostal in Mendoza.
The weather was overcast, but by the time we had walked down to the Port area the sun had come out and it was lovely and warm. We went on a short boat ride around the harbour and were surprised to see lots of Seals up close – ah they are so cute. We had a yummy meal in a restaurant just down from the hostal called Pasta & Vino. We treated ourselves to good food and wine, well after a couple of long bus rides and that shitty hostal in Mendoza, once in a while the budget has to be forgotten. But really the prices are very comparable to the UK and Europe just a bit expensive when you are travelling and trying not to spend over $10 a day...it’s a challenge. Early night and joy of joys sleeping in a bunk bed!
Wednesday 17th November
Wow what a lovely breakfast
An Irish couple staying at the hostal said they were going on a walking tour of the city, we decided to join them. It cost under £10 for 5 hours. There isn’t really that much to see in Valparaiso, no famous buildings or landmarks but it has an abundance of character and really interesting public art, some may call it graffiti but colourful artworks adorn many a wall, which gives the city a unique vibrancy and feel that I’ve not seen before. In parts it reminded me of Paris, it had steep winding streets like La Paz and Cusco, and with a distinct hippy feel to and being by the sea it is also reminiscent of Brighton too. An American guy who had lived in Val for 2 years took us on the tour, and gave us a bit of a history lesson too. It’s had a chequered past. It was an important harbour at the turn of the 19th century, then there was slump, it’s been the victim of earthquakes and is pretty run down. But tourism may help play a part in improving its fortunes. I really like it.
Thursday 18th November
We have booked our next journey to Bariloche, Argentina for later today