Hills, Grafitti, Ups and Downs
Trip Start Oct 16, 2010
58Trip End Aug 01, 2011
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Rolling into Valparaiso and grabbing a cab is a very simple experience. We provided the address and Cerro of our hostel and were delivered right in front without complication. Upon arriving a couple of people walked down the street and greeted us, they were the hostel owners talking with other neighbors in the street. The hostel, Alecon Fine Hostel, was definitely one of the best hostels for tourists we have ever been. If you are coming into the city for a couple days and want to see and know everything there is to know and see you are absolutely crazy to go anywhere else. Every day, Alberto, the owner would serve us breakfast, discuss Chile, and then tell us the history of the city as he prepared a walking route for our day. It was top notch service.
After checking in we walked down the street trying to find someplace open at 9pm on a Tuesday night and ended up at Allegretto for fresh gnocchi. It was a very pleasant meal in what felt like an English Gastropub. Definitely a thumbs up. Afterwards we headed back to prepare for the next day's adventure and some early rest.
Valparaiso Day 2
After a nice breakfast at the hostel and having a nice walking tour prepared by Alberto, we set out to see the town. Alberto made many mentions of how to protect our belongings as apparently there is a large problem with pick pocketers in the touristy areas due to the constant unloading of cruise ships. He, like many other Chileans, seem to be walking a fine line between trying to keep everyone safe and scaring everyone as they blow the situation out of proporstion. Nonetheless we had been told by a couple in Panama that they were robbed in the city and we were given our proper scare. It really makes walking around the city a little less pleasant but I guess we made it out of there without a loss.
On our first day exploring we set out on the tourist’s path. We bobbed and weaved our way through numerous little walkways that sometimes are reminiscent of Venice with loads of amaing graffiti. The sites and miradors of the bay are simply breathtaking. We saw the Ascensor El Perel, Palacio de Justicia (the only statue without a blindfold and the scale is off to one side), Plaza Sotomayor, Paseo Yugoslavo, tons of black cats, and walls upon walls of incredible murals/artwork. It seems that anyone could be a successful photographer in this city. Just start snapping.
Earlier we had tried to use the ATM at the convenient store close to our hostel however it was not functioning so we decided to go use one in a grocery store off of a fairly busy square. It seemed like a good idea in the busy store but soon after we took out money a security guard walked up to us and asked us if we were foreigners. Then he told us that there was a man watching us take out money and that we should wait in the store for a while. No problem, since Raymie loves walking around new grocery stores. After about five minutes another security guard kept telling us to wait in the back while they were watching the man sitting outside the store. We gratiously continued waiting. After another five minutes we asked if we could go now and they told us to continue waiting in the store and then told us to buy some Chilean empanadas; the Best, he told us. After about 15 minutes they gave us the go and we left without troubles and ate our empanadas on the steps of a nearby church. The whole facade may have been a scam to get us to buy their empanadas but we appreciate that we think they were looking out for us.
After continuing our walk for another hour or so we came across a really interesting bar, La Playa Bar, with great "stuff" everywhere. It was so good that while we sat and had a beer there were numerous photagraphers and sketchers taking pictures of all the interesting photos and knick knacks.
After finishing up our walk up and down old Valparaiso (the advernturous ones that we are) we decided to jump in the metro and head to Vina del Mar to see what was happening on that end of town. A couple stops down from old Valparaiso, the Metro takes you to the enterance of the Vina area. We walked along the water admiring the waves and various castles until nature set in and we had to find a bathroom. How fortunate that the Enjoy Casino was just a beachy walk away. We hopped the fence and ran across an inlet beach to the casino side and slipped into the beautiful old building. This is a very beautiful casino so we decided to have a libation which in turn loosened up for a little Black Jack play. After overseeing the many tables available we selected a table in the non-smoking section and sat down for a shoe. After about five minutes of glutonous winning the shoe was over and we decided to color up our chips and take off with a $265 profit. That’s a good five minutes work I’d say.
Following our winning ways we sat at a park bench by the beach and basqued in our success. Walking into one of the nicer malls we grabbed an Oreo Cono from the McDonald’s helado kiosk before the rain set in. Our walk back became quite wet and unfortunately the rain limited our patience for finding the best place for dinner. We ended up on the second floor Frankfort Schop for fish. Yuck!
After the ugly meal we grabbed the metro back to our side of town, stopping in at Matiz on Calle Cumming for a happy hour. Nice atmosphere but we kind of ordered ugly sweet drinks to end our funny day of Valparaiso.
Valparaiso Day 3
After another cordial breakfast and conversation with Alberto we were put on an extended walking tour “how the real Valparaisons live.” This tour was an extensive trip around the top ring of the city overlooking the bay along Avenida Alemania. It is amazing how far it looks like you can walk because of the way the city sits on an incline in front of the water. We did the Alemania walk, Pablo Neruda Museum, Open Sky Museum, #8 trolley line, Miradors galore, the Mercado Central and Avenida Brazil. Once again we set ourselves up to fail in the eating department so we ended up getting some empanadas at a noname cafe by the park – they did the job. There was definitely lots of artisan visual stimulation before we ended up at Tu' Tucan for big brahma beers – a cool sidewalk café that reminded us of sitting in Ensenada, Mexico.
For the evening festivities we walked a few blocks from our hostel to La Vida en Verde. It is named this due to the owner’s die hard passion for the Santiago Wanderers futbol. There was a national match being played and the favorite, Universidad Catolotica, won. We had some absolutely amazing food and the Stella Artois on tap was amazing. Not to mention, the service was wonderful. We filmed an extended video of the bartender making Chileno Pisco Sours. What a treat this place was.
We snapped a few more graffiti shots as we wondered home and had a limping street dog come the entre way with us. The only thing that we had in our room was a brick of cheese so we gave it to the cute little animal once we arrived home. We wanted to take the adorable dog home but that was certainly not in the cards on this trip.
The next morning we headed to the bus station and off to Santiago. No need to book in advance as there is a constant stream of busses between the two cities