But the trip that we made was so worth it. That night (Thursday before last), a group of friends and I took a long overnight bus ride to the city of Valparaíso. We arrived at about 6:30 in the morning, groggily went to our hostel and dropped our bags, then gradually woke up by walking up a hill to a cute and wonderfull café. We spent much of the rest of the day trekking up even more hills, because that’s all the city is made of. All the houses are so full of bright color, there are murals on every other wall, and surprising nooks and alleyways are hidden around every other corner. And when you get closer to the top of a hill (because it’s impossible to actually get to the top), the view of the sea of bright houses below - and of course of the sea itself - makes you forget how sweaty you are from the hike up. We all walked to a house of Pablo Neruda, a five story building on a cliff made to look like the front of a ship, with a view more incredible than any I’d ever seen. In fact the best view in the house was from his bedroom on the top floor, so that the first thing he’d see when he woke up in the morning was a bird’s-eye-view of the world below him. After the tour we attempted to climb some more, shedding a few layers along the way. But we stopped because there was honestly no end in site. Then down and down we went, later in the afternoon going all the way down to the beach, where we froze in the water, laid out in bathing suits, played guitar and sang lovely non-spanish songs. We did a lot of hanging out in our adorable hostel simply sitting and talking in the courtyard, playing card games (bullshit, to be exact), and sipping wine. Eventually we headed out to eat a classic Chilean dish, “Chorillana,” because we heard the best place for it was here. Well this is what it consisted of:
1. An extremely large plate full of, first and foremost, grease.
2. French fries
3. Grilled onions
5. Meat (I passed on the meat)
Sounds delicious, no? Well it actually did taste okay, at the time, but it certainly found its way to a pile of throwup at the end of the night. I didn’t chuck it up (although I certainly wanted to because it made my stomach churn all night), but a few others did. It is my belief, however, that it was that dish, along with no sleep and crowded quarters on the bus, which got me sick (which I still am a bit).
The following day we all slept late and made our way to Viña del Mar, a much more touristy city directly next to Valpa. We walked around and took lots of pictures, ate sushi in a place that took two hours to serve us and got massive gobs of ice cream. We all sat on the rocks by the water to watch the sunset, eating our ice cream and flying kites a few of us had just bought. Overall Viña is indeed a city of hotels, and I think I much prefer the more colorful and rough reality that is Valparaíso. The next day consisted of more laziness and a bit of walking, and finally culminated in another sleepless busride into Monday morning.
Lucky for all of us, we had our first day of class begin an hour after we arrived….
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