Valparaiso, Vina Del Mar
Trip Start Feb 10, 2008
28Trip End Aug 14, 2008
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We had eaten lunch at a British-owned restaurant called the Hotel Brighton(!); we sat out on their patio high in the hills looking over the whole of Valparaiso and it was wonderful. In Chile lunch is the main meal of the day and one can find set meals which are good value for money. Also saves having to decipher a long menu in Spanish. We drank a Pisco Sour with a starter of smoked salmon and capers, followed by local fish baked with a sort of ratatouille and rice, fresh fruit or crème caramel for dessert then good fresh coffee and all for around US$30 for 2. The view alone was worth it and the old waiter and I had great fun conversing. He spoke a little English but I am trying to practise my Spanish.
We visited one of the 3 Chilean houses of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel prize-winning poet and that was very 'arty' and interesting. Thinking of 'arty' things we came across an interesting paved area in one of the downtown squares. It is hard to describe but blow up the photo and look at it.
There is a new metro system between Valparaiso and Vina del Mar(the Las Vegas of the area)to the north so travelling around was easy. Vina is modern and high-rise. Further north along the coast is Renaca(the Venice Beach equivalent) full of beautiful young things jogging, exercising on the outdoor machines or just 'parading'. We are staying at the next town of Concon which is still highrises set into the hills but quieter especially now that the children are back in school. There are local fishing villages on either side of us with fish restaurants in walking distance.
The day we had lunch in Valparaiso we wanted a snack for dinner and as we were driving around we saw a roadside 'Tortilla' stall complete with oven.
We are still OK so 'no worries'.
I am now writing this at the airport hotel in Santiago, having just had a refreshing swim in their lap pool after a session on the stationary bike in the gym. Have to try to work off the effects of the good life. We had a good drive in from the coast stopping for lunch at Vina Morande. Yes, another winery. It was idyllic; a very modern glass and stone building among the vines and surrounded by hills.
We have had a few comments about a certain trend in our travels but all that is about to change, for a few weeks anyway, as we fly south tomorrow to Patagonia where it is too cold for grape vines. What are we doing? We lovers of hot climates are now digging out our thermal undies and rain jackets from the depths of our luggage.
Another chapter of our travels begins.