South America Day 37 - Valparaíso

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February 14th 2019
Published: February 14th 2019
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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 the bus station. This time we only have to wait 2 minutes for our bus and return to Santiago watching the Baywatch movie. The plot is so simple that even I can follow it with my very basic Spanish.

Then we catch the airport bus to pick up the shuttle to our hotel. It’s not a shuttle in the way we imagine a shuttle to be. We walk up and down bus rank with no success, then go to the information desk. They ring the hotel, and the ‘shuttle’ is despatched to collect us.

We check into our hotel but our bank card is declined, it’s a nervous moment as it’s our last card. Luckily it works second time, which is a huge relief. They ask what time we want to book the shuttle for in the morning. We say 7.30. It’s a trick question as they only run on the hour.

The hotel is on an industrial estate with no shops or restaurants nearby. It has capitalised on this with very expensive food and drink. According to Google Maps there is a supermarket a 10 minute walk away. We do two rotations (in 35 degree heat) of the alleged location. Some people from a nearby office ask what we’re looking for and confirm the bleeding obvious – there is no supermarket nearby. Undeterred, the old man insists on a 3rd rotation.

We give up and return to the hotel but he will not accept defeat and pay hotel prices for beer and sets forth again. It’s been 10 hours since breakfast so I’m getting rather hungry. I decide to go for a swim to take my mind off the fact. Eventually, the old man returns and we have a romantic Valentine’s Day meal of bread, cheese spread and reconstituted ham. Then an early night as we have to be up at 6 am for our flight to Hanga Roa.

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