Day 2 – Valparaiso

26 Mar

After a long lie, and a good breakfast, 8 of us left at 9am for our day trip to the seaside. No buckets and spades were provided.

We stopped at a vineyard on the way. The harvest was about to start. No time for a drink and everyone was complaining that it was too early anyway. Don’t understand that concept as the pubs were open at home!

First bus accident – Michael opened a bottle of water “con gas” – and promptly decorated both me and the seat with it. Hugo, the driver, passed the paper towels!

We drove on and ended up with a morning walking tour of Valparaiso – dog mines, ascensores (not funicular), Yugoslavian promenade, naval hq, dogs, new buildings inside old buildings, graffiti and more dogs.

The dogs are apparently territorial and will escort you as you walk around until they reach the boundaries of their territory.

The ascensores date from the mid 1800’s and are lifts that take people up the hills in minutes, saving on the equivalent 20 minute car journey. They are a form of public transport!

Saw the Lord Cochrane – statue and house. The first admiral of the Chilean Navy!

Valparaiso is built on 43 hills – it was 45, but they blew up two to let you get there on a motorway!

Chileans like shortening everything -“Valpo” it is. Santiago likes building new, whereas Valpo likes to keep things as they were!

Fernando also put me right on some Chilean misconceptions that I had – I thought they didn’t like the Argentinians, but they do – they even have a common army and air force. He wasn’t going to be drawn on the Falkland Islands situation though.

Back in the minibus and we drove on to have lunch in Viña de Mar – tried to go for a local speciality –  Pacific tuna & “smashed” potatoes, with Yvonne, Maxine, Penny & Paul. Michael tried to have a Chinese lunch, but it was closed and so had to suffer pizza instead. Roger and Jennifer tried to find a vegetarian restaurant.

Persuaded Fernando to take us to the ocean – I was quite Pacific about that.

Michael snored on the way back.

Shakespeare stop. (To go or not to go!) Met a dog. It wanted to stay. Jo invited it on the minibus and it wouldn’t leave. So sad that it literally had to be dragged off.

Finally found time to write a little bit of this blog!

Jo had warned us that it might be cold today as we were on the coast. I have now redefined cold for her as less than 10°C, not the 24°C, she was obviously thinking! Forecast was for 31°C today!

Stuffed and not really needing any more food, but I will fit some in before our early morning plane journey to Calama in the Atacama desert.

When we got off the bus, Paul, Yvonne, Maxine and I, hit the local ice cream shop and managed to order by number. Paying for it was another challenge entirely.

After that, we were too full to need a meal and so we wandered back to the hotel, passing done others who had refound the bar.

I packed my bag ready for leaving in the morning, but the hunger pangs hit, so I caved in and headed out. Found the river, not that it was very big at all, and took some photos of the night scene.

Early start tomorrow – only 4 hours sleep likely, as the alarm is set and it is now 10:30pm.

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