Vina del Mar

Trip Start Mar 12, 2005
Trip End Apr 09, 2005

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, April 3, 2005


We arrived in Vina after a short two hour drive from Santiago. Jorge & Pili's apartment here is fantastic, with great views of the ocean, indoor & outdoor heated pool, sauna, BBQ on the balcony, etc.

We had "battle of the stick" in the pool, plus & walked on the beach.

Having slept really well to the sound of the waves echoing up from the bay below the apartment, we were ready to explore. Nicholas & I had an early morning walk to Renaca (one hour return trip), along the beach to enjoy a hot chocolate at "McCafe". Here McDonalds is split into the usual part & a cafe where they have waitress service & a range of products not seen in the UK. Good but quite expensive.

The remainder of Thursday was spent exploring Renacca, which is a nice resort town. However, in the summer months (January & Feburary) it is heaving with people & busier than I would like - the rest of the year it is almost always nice & quiet.

We also did some shopping at the Mall in Vina. The prices are generally about 1/2 that of the UK, for the same item.

Ran about 5 km first thing in the morning - great to see & hear the sound of the waves as you run. Later a frustrating morning trying to battle through the Valpariso traffic (roads being rebuilt & a huge number of speeding buses) to get to the house of Pablo Neruda. After a couple of hours we gave up & headed back to the pool.

Jorge, Pili, Joacquin & Laura arrived in the evening. We enjoyed a late BBQ washed down by a lot of wine & whisky.

Again Nicholas was up early so, after a walk along the beach, we discovered a new place for hot chocolate, "Bravisimo" - excellent. Back in time for breakfast with the others, then a very enjoyable brief trip to Valpariso.

I was almost arrested by the police, for supposedly running a red light. Jorge attempted to ease the situation by flashing his Chilean army officer's ID card, but unusually this seemed to make the police officer more determined to book me. Fortunately Pili came to my rescue, pleading that if I had gone through a red light it was because there was a truck in front that blocked my view. Her female charms worked & we were allowed to continue.

A late BBQ lunch (4 pm) then a siesta, swimming & ready for another meal. We could not really do justice to the seafood, although it was a good & inexpensive restaurant.

I ran another 5 km, first thing in the morning - another beautiful sunny day. Laura & Nicholas endured another round of "battle of the stick" in the pool. After lunch, Jorge & family headed back to Santiago & we took it easy.

Drove along the coast up to Zapallar. A beautiful seaside walk. We had a fantastic lunch at the Churingito restaurant, better than Rick Stienīs Seafood Rest in Padstow - views also better & 5 x cheaper.

Nicholas & I swam in the sea. A dog almost stole my hat.

Breakfast at the Hot chocolate place then on to Isla Negra, Pablo Nerudaīs house - wonderful. A really good lunch at the "Vina Mar". This is a new vineyard by the same owners as Vina Tarapaca.

We came back to huge waves in Vina del Mar. Nicholas writes about this .....

the first wave was huge and caught my Mum and Dad. Unfortunately my dad was rolling up my trousers, so they did not get wet, so we missed a giant wave that soaked us.


We packed up & headed back to Santiago, via Penaflor. In the evening Carlos Parot and Patricia invited us and some friends over for dinner. An excellent evening.


Claudio invited us over for a great lunchtime BBQ. Nicholas played on the flight simulator & we saw pictures of Emilio (Claudio's pet Penguin, from many years before).

A final evening with the Canessa family, who had made our stay so enjoyable.


To the airport and departure for home.... A long great holiday over.
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