Tag Archives: Chile

Chile Day 3: Strangers, Off the Bus!

Today’s plan was to visit the neighboring city of Viña del Mar. It’s a beach town to Valparaiso’s port city.

We had a great breakfast at the hotel. We were getting ready to request an Uber to get to Vina del Mar. Our hotel manager instead said it would be a great local experience to take the bus. All we had to do was walk down to the main street and get on a bus that said Viña del Mar. Always up for an adventure, we decided to try it. Walking down to town, more street art.

We couldn’t quite figure out where the bus stop was, but we ended right near a tourist information center. We went in there, and rare for this trip, the woman spoke English. We were in the right place, she told us to get on any bus right out front (there was no stop) and pay 500 pesos each. That meant each of us cost all of 75 cents. Bus came, we told the driver where we wanted to get off, and off we went. DSC_0724

We drove along the coast and before we knew it, the driver yelled out in English, “Strangers, off the bus!” In a nice way. It was our stop, and we jumped off, right at the flower clock that was our landmark. IMG_3145

We walked along the water, with great vistas. DSC_0736DSC_0739DSC_0748

You could see back to Valparaiso, the big ship was one we were near during our boat ride yesterday.DSC_0734

We stopped into a casino and lost maybe $2 in slots before exploring the town. We walked by one shop that was roasting seeds of some sort. The worker spoke with us in English, told us the sesame seeds were toasted and eaten as cereal for breakfast, and gave us samples to try. Everyone has been so friendly.

The town square had the theater and a hotel and a statue.DSC_0753IMG_3149

We ate lunch in a cute pizza place we found via TripAdvisor. We then walked to the beach. I had never stepped foot into the Pacific Ocean, so figured we were close enough that I had to. IMG_3153

We had a coffee and a beer at a restaurant overlooking the beach. We spoke with Ben via Google Hangout, we are already starting to miss him and he and Courtney haven’t left yet.

We decided one bus ride was enough adventure, plus didn’t want to have to walk up the hill back to the hotel, so we Uber’ed for $7.50. A brief recharging and we were off for a pre-dinner drink. Ellen has fallen in love with pisco sours again. Such a great view of the hills and lights. IMG_3158

Dinner was at the hippest restaurant in town, or so we read. Pasta e Vino lived up to it’s bill. I had a mozzarella salad and then spaghetti with pesto. Ellen had pistachio stuffed pasta with lamb meat.

Ellen faced the kitchen, which had a wardrobe covering the door and was continually impressed with the food magically appearing out of the wardrobe. It was a great meal. Finishing did mean we had to walk up the hill back to our hotel, but well worth it and we enjoy a walk after dinner anyway.

Lowkey but thoroughly enjoyable day.

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Chile Day 2: Valparaiso

We got a good night’s sleep, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then we were off. We got an Uber to take us to the bus station. 20 minute drive, $6.50 fare. And that was expensive compared to our next mode of transportation!

We bought tickets on Turbus to Valparaiso.  For an hour-and-a-half bus ride for 2 people? $7.50! You can’t beat that.IMG_3134

The bus ride took us through Chile’s Casablanca wine region. No stopping, but pretty scenery.

Valparaiso was South America’s biggest port until the Panama Canal was built. It is built on a group of hills that gives great views of the water…and challenges anyone trying to walk uphill! We again took an Uber from the bus station to the hotel. Uber is FANTASTIC in a foreign country. You don’t have to communicate your destination, you don’t have to negotiate the fare and worry about being ripped off and you don’t have to mess with currency or change. 15 minute ride, $4.50 right to our hotel. We are staying at Voga, boutique hotel of just 4 rooms. It is quiet and peaceful.

We were soon off to explore. It’s a difficult city to navigate, as you can’t easily get from one place to another without walking downhill and then back up. That just gave us a chance to take a funicular ride for 15 cents each!  

We went to the Museum of Bellas Artes in a beautiful old mansion. DSC_0642

We rode the funicular back down, and walked through Plaza Sotomayer.

Next was the dock, where we somehow figured out how to get a private charter with one other passenger out into the harbor. Great views of the city, ships and unexpectantly, seals! DSC_0647DSC_0661DSC_0674DSC_0676DSC_0693

Another ride up the mountain, a stop for coffee and beer, more walking, and some shopping for Ellen. We needed to use up a little more time before dinner, so we stopped for a pisco sour. We then walked to dinner at Restaurant La Concepcion. Ellen had crab ravioli, I had brisket followed by a chocolate molten cake. Our waitress chatted a little with us, and we had a wonderful dining experience.

Then, we had only 3/10 of a mile to walk back to the hotel. But it was solid uphill, so it took a little bit of time. We made it, and worked off some of dinner along the way!

Perhaps even more than in Santiago, there was building street art. Here’s just a few samples to leave you with tonight. DSC_0627DSC_0633DSC_0701DSC_0704


Chile Day 1: Easy Acclimating

We highly recommend long flights that keep you in the same time zone. Makes everything so easy physically.

We had two delayed flights that didn’t cost us very much time. Flying out of Dulles, we were delayed because of storms in Atlanta. It just shortened our layover. We boarded on time to Santiago, but the wing had a part that had to be replaced. We sat, it was hot and we took off over an hour late. But a 9 hour overnight flight was perfect for sleeping, and we landed only 20 minutes later than scheduled.

To make things easier on arrival, we had our hotel arrange for a car to meet us. Immigration was easy, with a short line and pleasant official. Our suitcases came off quickly and Customs went fast too. So off we were less than an hour after landing.

Our hotel, The Aubrey, is in the Bellavista neighborhood, close enough to walk to most everything but elegant and set in the bottom of a mountainous park. They greeted Ellen, who had made the reservation, by name even before we introduced ourselves. What a way to make you feel welcome! Even though we arrived at 10am, they invited us to breakfast.

We then set off walking. First stop, of course, was to get SIM cards. We were looking for Movistar, but came across Claro first. Even though the woman working there spoke no English, we worked out the card, how much to put on it and what plan we needed. It entailed stepping out to a kiosk on the street to put money on the SIM, but by the time I got back, she had both phones working. $4.50 each for 2GB if data.

We then started exploring. We were near Plaza de Armas, so we walked around the square and went into the church.  

We the walked a few blocks to a mall. Lunch was at the food court, where we luckily could order by promo meal. 

We found a futbol store, and got my souvenir, a Chile National team soccer jersey.

We wandered along, and found the Central Market. 

The streets have so many murals and graffiti art, sometimes hard to know which is which. But so colorful. 

We returned to the hotel, long enough to have afternoon tea, relax a bit and have a Chilean pisco sour. Almost as good as Perú!

Dinner was just a short walk away at El Meson Nerudiano, a seafood restaurant. Our waiter, Alejandro, engaged us in conversation about food and Trump and our travels. Made the meal even better than the excellent food.

No jet lag allowed us to fully enjoy the day, while a low pressure schedule meant we could just admire the city and the people. Great start!