Valparaiso, Chile - Day Trip

Trip Start May 12, 2013
Trip End Jul 30, 2013

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What I did
Ascensor Artilleria Valparaiso
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Chile  , Valparaiso,
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Took the 9.25am bus to Valparaiso. Bus was alright, and we arrived at little past 11am. Outside the bus station was the National Congress building, which was moved from Santiago in a bid to diversify the country. Heard its not that successful though. To the left we saw the Wednesday fruits and vegetable market. And strolled from the start till the end. We were looking for ascensor Polanco, as advertised by my travel guide. Asked some locals who pointed us in the right street. When they saw us with cameras, they became animated (didn't know what they were saying in Spanish) and I could tell they were warning us about pickpockets and 'death' signs.

Heeding their advice, we placed our backpacks at the front and found the ascensor. It was a 150m tunnel followed by a lift which took us up to the hills. Not wanting to court trouble, we decided not to wander out of the viewpoint and took the lift back down after taking some shots. The ride cost 100pesos each way ($0.25).

We walked back out and south, looking for mirador blanco. We passed by several used and abandoned furniculars, and found our way to the viewpoint mirador.

We then walked into the shopping mall next to it, looking for food. But couldn't find much there. So we walked along the coast towards the UNESCO heritage area on the opposite side of town. We passed by several olden buildings and towards the middle of the route, we stopped by a cafe for their menu of the day.

First on the table was a bowl of bland soup, which didn't go so well with my friends. Then was a syrup like clear drink which tasted like a banana apple blend. The main course redeemed the cafe with a yummy plate of fish served with battered cauliflower and mashed potatoes. Real good. We had some wifi time and tea.

We then continued on towards the other side of town, where we passed by the central plaza de armas, and went towards the furnicular recommended by a lady at the bus station. Just then, I saw a Asian kid in the midst of Spanish school boys and girls, and decided to say hi. The guy got real excited and wanted to take a photo with us. The whole class soon followed. He is japanese, studying for a year at Santa Cruz. Gave us his fb contact and we waved goodbye. Took the real furnicular to the top of the hill (slanted lift) which was built more than 100 years ago. Cost 300pesos each way. At the top, we had good views of the city and slums. And we took a good walk round the hills. It was almost 3.30 and we decided to head back to the bus station for our trip back to Santiago. We walked to the nearest metro station where we got swarmed again by another group of school kids for photos. The metro was clean and spacious like any other big city, even better than Santiago's.

Valparaiso definitely has a nice charm to it. The whole town is surrounded by hills and the Furniculars were built to help locals get to higher ground in olden days. Also saw some roads which were inclined at greater than 45degrees. Kinda amazing how cars move along those roads. The colorful buildings on the hills gives the whole town it's majestic landscape. Advice from locals remind us of the poorer people staying up on the hills and we had to be careful not to wander too far out and not to flaunt valuables.

Made our way back on the same Condor Bus, and had great sunset views of the Andes along the way.

Took the metro to the station Santa Lucia and made our way to the same ATM to withdraw cash for patagonia. Grabbed our roadside dinner. I had a churrassco dynamico. Can't really tell the difference but it tasted decent anyway. Cost me 1500pesos though ($3.75).

Rested early for the night and got up at 7am to pack for patagonia! We left the hostel at 9.30 and took the metro to Los Heroes. Then a nice man helped us out by showing us where the airport bus was. Took us around 1.5 hours to get to the airport from the hostel.

Checked in and chilling out at dunkindonuts now. Looking forward to Patagonia

11.37am, 16 May, Santiago Airport
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