Trip Start Aug 10, 2007
Trip End Dec 27, 2007

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, September 30, 2007

We packed our backpacks with towels, costumes and snacks and headed off to visit the beach of Valparaiso (as the taxi driver described it to is).  Unfortunately it is not a beach, but rather a port, so no no need for towels!

Jules was irritated as she was looking forward to a swim.  Instead we wondered the streets of Val and even saw a display of live Chilean music and dancing in a square in the city centre.  The Chileans have a National dance whereby they wave white bandannas over their heads as they dance.  We watched for a while and then continued strolling around the city.

We tried some local Chilean food, Jules had an Empanda, which is a local kind of pie and I had a Chilean hot-dog.  The hot-dog is a "normal" hot-dog, with avocado, tomato and cheese on top of it, delicious.

We spent the day in Val and then headed home for another Chilean traditional meal.  For dinner I had a traditional roast beef with rice (which is a huge chunk of roast beef, a pile of rice mixed in with black beans), while Jules had a steak sandwich (which is a huge pile of sliced beef, onion, lettuce and tomato on home made flat bread).  It was very good and we enjoyed our meal before heading home and lying listening to Disco until about 4,5 in the morning!

Below is some info on Val from Wikipedia:

"Valparaíso is Chile's most important seaport and an increasingly vital cultural center. The city is located in central Chile, where it is capital of the Region of Valparaíso. Although Santiago is Chile's official capital, Valparaiso houses the National Congress. Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valparaíso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy. Valparaíso is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often considered to be one of Latin America's most intriguing urban areas. Valparaiso like most of Chile is vulnerable to earthquakes. The last major earthquake to strike the city directly was in 1906 which devastated the city and killed nearly 20,000 people.
In 2003, the Chilean Congress declared Valparaíso to be "Chile's Cultural Capital" and home for the nation's new cultural ministry. Although technically only Chile's 6th largest city, with an urban area population of 263,499 (275,982 in municipality[1]), the Greater Valparaíso metropolitan area, including the neighboring resort city of Viña del Mar, is the second largest in the country (803,683 inhabitants).
Valparaíso played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan. Always a magnet for European immigrants, Valparaíso mushroomed during its golden age, when the city was known by international sailors as "Little San Francisco" or "The Jewel of the Pacific."
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