CHILE--THE NORTHERN PART


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South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Viña del Mar
February 3rd 2012
Published: February 3rd 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

TAKE A BOW!TAKE A BOW!TAKE A BOW!

A fiesta in Antofagasta
We have been looking forward to our visit to Chile with great enthusiasm as it is our first time. I always think of this country as a “downunder” version of California. Terry Breen put a map of Chile against a U.S. west coast map, and at 2653 miles, Chile stretched from the tip of Baja to the Gulf of Alaska. Down here it is called the "shoestring country" because it is so long and narrow. This thin ribbon of a country is only about 110 miles wide. Chile is a land of extremes from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, from Pablo Neruda to Augusto Pinochet and from the Mediterranean warmth in the north to the frigid glaciers of the south. Chile has the driest desert in the world and some of the wettest weather in its fjords. It is considered the most stable and prosperous country in South America. The first noticeable difference between Chile and its neighbors to the north is that Chile is much more European than either Ecuador or Peru. In past years, Chile had a very ambitious immigration program. I read that people of Italian heritage comprise about 47% of the population. Many Germans also immigrated around 1850s. There are pictures of European immigrants crossing the pampas in covered wagons much like the migration that took place in the western U.S.

Our first stop was in Antofagasta. This industrial city with the not so romantic name was the base camp for prospectors who came to mine the nearby minerals. The setting is attractive as the city backs up to the mountainous coastal range. For us it was a place to get haircuts, pedicures and manicures. We walked the town from top to bottom and decided to have a pizza for lunch seeing as how there is such an Italian presence in Chile.Bad choice…we should have stuck with something more local… you know, like guinea pig.

Valparaiso is a large seaside city built on 45 hills and is the gateway to Casablanca Valley. This is the Napa Valley of Chile. Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, Valparaiso was a thriving port for all of the ships going around Cape Horn. Then it became a sleepy village until wine and tourism renewed the vigor of this pretty city. Our guide said that in Valparaiso the houses hang from the hills just like San
BIG BENBIG BENBIG BEN

In the town square of Antofagasta
Francisco. Instead of cable cars climbing halfway to the stars there are 15 ascensores which are funiculars reaching up the hillsides. We heard about some of the passengers who were on one ascensore which broke down so they had to descend the steep hill on foot. We took a tour of Casablanca Valley and went to Casa del Bosque winery for a tasting. We felt like we were right back in Northern California. We are now out of the desert region of South America and in the land of forests and palm trees and weather that is much more conducive to viticulture. The priests brought the vines to Chile back in the 1500s and vineyards have been flourishing ever since. Recently there was a wine tasting in France and the Chilean wines took all of the top honors. The wine industry in South America has certainly come of age. We went to Vina del Mar on the way back to the ship. This is the sister city of Sausalito…so we felt right at home. There is a plaque in downtown Sausalito honoring that relationship and a football stadium in Vina del Mar named Sausalito.

We had a Cruise Specialists sail-away party outdoors as we left Valpo, as the locals call it. We really lucked out with the weather as it had been quite foggy and windy all day. It cleared just as we were leaving port and everyone was able to enjoy the view of the city and its 45 hills from the aft deck as we made our way back out to sea.


Additional photos below
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SAIL AWAYSAIL AWAY
SAIL AWAY

Antofagastans waving "Adios"
DEDEDEDE
DEDE

A special maitre'd
CASA del BOSQUECASA del BOSQUE
CASA del BOSQUE

A taste of Chile.
PINOT NOIRPINOT NOIR
PINOT NOIR

Just like back in Napa Valley
HILLSIDE HOMESHILLSIDE HOMES
HILLSIDE HOMES

We left our hearts in San Francisco
ESMERALDAESMERALDA
ESMERALDA

Chilean training ship often visits San Francisco
ARTHUR & MARIONARTHUR & MARION
ARTHUR & MARION

At our Valpo Sail Away Party
CHILEAN WARSHIPCHILEAN WARSHIP
CHILEAN WARSHIP

We cruised right thru the fleet.
I NOYMANI NOYMAN
I NOYMAN

A great waiter from Bali


8th February 2012

Awesome!
I love seeing the pics and reading your blogs... I miss you guys! Say hi to I Nyoman; loved seeing that pic. It brought back great memories...xoxoxo
8th February 2012

RR
WOULD LOVE TO BE ON BOARD ALTHOUGH I WOULD HAVE MISSED LEVI MORRISON WEBERS ARRIVAL 9LB 7 OZ--WOW WHAT A KID STILL SPRING-WEATHER WEIRD
8th February 2012

Wonderful Photos
Oh, wish I was there! Looks like y'all are having a great time. Wine swing? Indeed! Party On....
9th February 2012

Northern Chile
What fun to read your "take" on Northern Chile. Well, am one up on you with regards to Chile; visited there for the third time three years ago. Your commentary brought back memories, and it contained lots of good info. The first time I was there was in '58 (that's 1958 NOT 1858!) At the time, there was quite a distinct Germanic flavor, especially in the South. Your commentary brought back to mind the influx of Italians, especially to Patagonia in the 1800's. There is a great little book about Chile - something like "A Long, Thin, Country" written by a woman. Sent off my "take" of the S.Amer. West coast few days ago. Great sleep enhanser. Adios!
6th March 2012

Napa (wine) is for Auto Parts; Paso is for Wine (Norman Vineyards in Paso Robles
Very interesting that Chile Wines were so "upfront." And the fact that Chile went to the coast of Alaska in measurements. Yesterday morning at 5:30AM, we had two earthquakes in SF - one was 4.0 and the second was 3.7 - did you send those from Chile? A fellow told me he was watching the Channel 7 news and the reporters dived under their desks because the lights were falling over and the cameras looked like they were going to hit them. A bit scary. Sunday the weather was 80 degrees - March? What is this all about? Winds are heavy today (Tuesday the 6th) but the sun is out and shining. What a nice photo of you two and others. You look pretty darn happy and not stranded on Mana. Jack, Raul & Kimba, Glen and Christy spent Friday through Monday on the slopes of Tahoe skiing like crazy - they had 5' of snow there. Glen and Christy went to Minden to talk with a Realtor who had showed their home again. We're hoping they can sell it for a reasonable price as they are now in residence in Marina Plaza. These pictures thou two take are wonderful and both Carol and I enjoy viewing them. Be good and stay out of jail. :)

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