Page 8 of Spurins Travel Blog Posts


South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 19th 2019

We awake to the inevitable sounds of rain and cockerels. It’s been an uneventful night, apart from the old man waking to find a cat on his chest. Today we are returning to civilisation, which is an exciting prospect, although I have developed a cough and chest infection and am terrified someone will notice and deny me boarding. We check out of our hostel. The bill is quoted in dollars then converted to pesos at a very creative exchange rate. The old man stands his ground and eventually she backs down and agrees to use the official exchange rate. It’s another long day of travelling; a 5 hour flight backwards through time zones, then a bus and a tube, finally reaching our apartment in Santiago at 8 pm. It’s such a relief to be somewhere clean ... read more
Waiting in the rain at Easter Island airport
What’s under here?

South America » Chile » Easter Island February 18th 2019

It’s our final day on Easter Island and our first nice day. Until now, our time here had combined the worst weather of our trip with the worst accommodation; outside has been wet and windy and miserable while inside has been damp and mouldy and miserable. But today the sun is shining and we ‘borrow’ (£50) the landlady’s jeep for an outing. We’re doing the south-east circuit (basically, the runway runs almost the width of the island and the road circles the island in a figure 8 around the runway). Our circuit consists of: Ana Kai Tanga (a cave with petroglyphs), Rano Kau (a crater containing a reed covered lake), Orongo (a ceremonial village), Vinapu (some fallen Moai), Puna Pau (a quarry where Moai topknots were carved), Ahu Akivi (7 Moai facing the sea) and Ana ... read more
Ana Kai Tanga
Ana Kai Tanga
Rano Kau

South America » Chile » Easter Island » Hanga Roa February 17th 2019

We wake up to to find out that the old man’s father has died. It’s not unexpected, but still sad news. Outside it’s still raining. It’s as if the heavens have decided to join the old man in his tears. We opt for a quiet day with a walk along the coast. We walk 8 miles in total, stopping first at the museum to learn about the history of the island and its Moais then on to Ana Kakenga; a cave in a lava tube with two ‘windows’ overlooking the ocean. The entrance is tiny. I may be descended from a long line of miners, but I don’t do enclosed spaces so the old man goes in while I stay on the surface. On the way back, it finally stops raining and we catch our first ... read more
Tahai
Cruise ship 5th plinth
Cruise ship waiting off graveyard

South America » Chile » Easter Island February 16th 2019

We had a good night’s sleep, waking briefly at midnight for the firework display. Easter Island is very expensive because almost everything (apart from fish and chicken) is imported from thousands of miles away. But they certainly didn’t skimp on the fireworks. At 6.45 the resident cockerels decide it’s dawn. Today that’s fine because we haven’t adjusted to the time zone. Tomorrow, however I will probably hatch plans to murder cockerels. We plan to hire the hostel car to follow the ‘north east circuit’. This takes the island’s only paved road past various archaeological sites, finishing at a beach. The weather forecast is hideous but tomorrow a cruise ship is due at this tiny island with minimal infrastructure, so we are torn between a storm and hordes of entitled pensioners. We opt for the storm and ... read more
Tongariki
Tongariki
Fallen Moai

South America » Chile February 15th 2019

Today we’re flying 2350 miles west to Easter Island; a tiny dot in the South Pacific. I have a phobia of remote locations, so I’m not sure why I agreed to fly to the most remote airport in the world. It’s an early start, compounded by the fact that the shuttle bus only runs hourly. We check in for our flight. Easter Island belongs to Chile, so we proceed to the domestic departure gate but are sent away and told to go to the 2nd floor. The old man tells me I’ve misunderstood and we head to the other end of the hall to the international departure gate. Again, we’re sent to the 2nd floor. Again, the old man tells me I’ve misunderstood. After some dispute, we descend to the 2nd floor, past a range of ... read more
Arriving at Easter Island
Arriving at Easter Island
Tahai Moai

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 14th 2019

Our last morning in Valparaiso and we decide to walk to the Parque Cultural; according to Lonely Planet it’s the city’s No 2 attraction and, I quote; “has a little bit of everything the thinking traveler could ask for. There are excellent murals in the old exercise yards, rotating arts exhibits, live theater and dance and… other intellectually stimulating events.” Meanwhile, back in the real world, after a steep 30 minute walk we find ourselves in a yard surrounded by concrete and filled with stray dogs. We return (via a shortcut through the cemetery, which isn’t a shortcut because we get lost and end up back where we started) up the Cerro’s 285 stairs for the last time. The park was rubbish but at least we got a good workout. We check out and head for ... read more
Valparaiso murals
Valparaiso murals
Valparaiso

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 13th 2019

I wanted to love quirky little hotel Winebox but to be honest, shipping containers aren’t very soundproof so we had a restless night of traffic, barking dogs and plumbing noises, compounded by the continued fallout from the Fritz & Franz pigeon poo lunch. However, they redeem themselves at breakfast with fruit salad, smashed avocado, poached egg and fresh orange juice. I’d almost forgotten what fruit juice tasted like! We spend the morning in Valparaiso with no specific plan (we consulted 3 maps and they were all completely different) other than a combination of murals and funicular railways. We walk down our hill (Cerro Florida) then take the Ascensor Espiritu Santo up the next hill (Cerro Bellavista) to the Museo a Cielo Abierto, an area my guidebook says is adorned with colourful murals. Unfortunately, the museum and ... read more
Stairs down Cerro Florida
Cerro Bellavista
Ascensor Espiritu Santo

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 12th 2019

Today we head to the Pacific coast. Our original plan to spend a few days driving up the coast in our fantasy hire car has been changed to two nights in the port of Valparaiso. We receive a message from the hotel warning of a gang that targets hire cars, puncturing a tyre then robbing you which you change the wheel. We tell them not to worry, we were robbed before we reached the hiring of the car stage. It’s a trek to Valparaiso by public transport (taxi, tube, tube, bus, taxi). Also, we haven’t booked bus tickets in advance to avoid using our last bank card unnecessarily. So when we reach the bus station, the first two buses are full and we have to wait 40 minutes. It isn’t a disaster but further fallout from ... read more
Valparaiso murals
Valparaiso murals
Valparaiso murals

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 11th 2019

La Calma de Rita is a strange place, balanced precariously between rustic charm and just plain dirty. Our Romany caravan in quaint and the bed was really comfortable but I could do without the mouldy shower curtain. After breakfast, a similarly strange mix of tasty freshly baked bread and nothing else I’d care to eat, we head for Pirque. Our plan to tour several wineries in our fantasy hire car has been pared down to just one, but it’s the biggie; Concha y Toro, the 5th biggest wine producer in the world. We book the basic tour which includes a glimpse of the founder Don Melchor’s villa and gardens. Then on to a small vineyard, each row containing a different type of grapes. We’re invited to wander round, trying the different varieties. I’m surprised how different ... read more
Concha y Toro
Concha y Toro
Concha y Toro villa

South America » Chile » Santiago Region February 10th 2019

Our time in Argentina is over, today we fly to Chile. Our departure is bittersweet; we’ve had a great time with the exception of the thefts and their continuing fallout. Next we have 5 days in the Santiago region. Plan A involved a leisurely drive in our hire car through the wineries of the Maipú valley and then up the coast. Without a car we have simplified this to 2 days in Maipú and 2 days in Valparaiso. We fly to Santiago then have to travel 33 miles from the airport to our hotel in Pirque. This involves a shuttle into town, then 2 tubes and a taxi. It’s only a 90 minute flight, from one side of the Andes to the other. I’m not looking forward to it - previous encounters with the Andes have ... read more
Flight over the Andes
Flight over the Andes
Flight over the Andes




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