Santiago and Valparaiso


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Published: April 10th 2013
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……….back to reality

The flight arrived back into Santiago at 12.30am (there is a 2 hour time difference) so we got a taxi into the city and got into the apartment we had booked about 1 in the morning. It was booked with a different company and this time it was all ok and the place was lovely.

4/4/13 Pavement pounding in Santiago

Walked a million miles, through a park, onto Pablo Neruda’s house in a little side street, then onto the Funicular, which was shut until 1 so carried on walking and did a circuit of the university area. Lots of students all grabbing burgers from small stalls so we ended up with one for lunch too.

Went back and up the Funicular to the hill top where you were supposed to have great views all over the city and to a certain extent you did but the layer of smog made everything hazy and you could hardly see the Andes which surround the city. On the way up we got talking to 4 Canadian women who were delighted we spoke English (I know the feeling), they were on a 4 week vacation and were flying out to Easter Island tomorrow and wanted to know all about it.

At the top of the hill is a large statue of the Virgin Mary, which apparently is visible from all corners of the city, bit like Rio (not). Back down again and more marching and tube rides and we came to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights which was very moving, the filmed testimonies of men and women who had been tortured under Pinochet’s reign was hard to hear and see but brought home how awful that period in Chile’s history was and to think bloody Thatcher welcomed the murderous swine with open arms, the bitch.

To read of the more than 3,000 people who were tortured, killed and disappeared following the military coup in 1973 and the stories of children who were also taken, interrogated and tortured was simply awful.

The final part of the museum covered the Vote No campaign and the end of the Pinochet regime. Once again it’s hard to credit that this all happened so recently.

5/4/13 Onto Valpariso

There’s this really nice little seaside place only an hour and a half from Santiago says Howard, do
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Pablo Neruda's house
you fancy going there instead of just staying in the big city, so of course I said yes. So a walk, tube and bus journey later and we are in Valpariso bus station, in the midst of yet another big grubby city. I couldn’t get over how large the place was, it kind of sprawled all over the hills and right along the big bay for miles. I could see a couple of sandy looking beaches right far off in the distance, we stayed in the Port. To be fair we did stay in the Ibis (pronounced Eeeeebeeees) so we had a super comfy bed.

One of the main features of this city/town is the little funiculars that go up the hillsides all over the place, so we set off to find one……it was closed for maintenance, we then tried to find somewhere to eat our sarnies and ended up on the steps of some official looking building right next to El Presidente’s parking cone!

Well we walked for miles through the town – shops, derelict old buildings, few nice buildings, couple of tatty parks, memorial to Lord Cochrane and an archway to do with England, lots of
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Funicular
dog poo, saw a blockade by the port, had a migraine and got back to the eeeebeeessss.

Ventured out again for tea to a place Howard had read about, another walk and then up a dead end alley covered with graffiti. Right at the end of which was a door covered in graffiti, we went in and entered one of the weirdest places I have been.

The place was called Casino Social J Cruz and described itself as a restaurant museum. It was a big room filled with tables and chairs, with the walls lined with glass fronted shelves stuffed with the oddest collection of things – from porcelain plates to Easter Island heads and all things in between, there were old bombs hanging from the ceiling, a huge old cash register and everywhere were photos of people who had eaten there and pieces of paper with messages on.

They only served Chorrillana which was a large plate of chips covered with boiled beef, onions and scrambled egg and each helping served two. It was accompanied by two guys on guitars and was an altogether very unusual but very good experience.

6/4/13 More Valporiso then back to Santiago

A good night’s sleep and managed to snaffle some rolls for lunch from the breakfast buffet – which included fruit salad which was great.

We walked past the Port blockade and reached the Ascensor (funicular) which took us up to the Naval Maritime Museum. This was more interesting than I expected as there was quite a bit in English, mainly I suspect due to Lord (Admiral) Cochrane’s involvement, seems he was retired from the Royal Navy and acquired to take charge of the fledgling Chilean Navy in the wars against the Spanish fleet. They won lots of battles and bits of weaponry and uniforms and so on were on display.

One of the most interesting things was there was the pod that was used to rescue the Chilean miners when they were trapped under ground a few years ago, Howard climbed into it to have his picture taken!

Back down at sea level we walked on….found another asensor and went up another part of the hills area. Here were all the houses of the wealthy (in former times) and they were huge! The streets were all little cobbles running here and there and mainly
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Virgin Mary
even further up. We wandered through lots of these little alleyways, got views over the port and town and then dodging the dog poo and admiring the masses of graffiti wound our way down again.

We took the little train that ran along the sea front a couple of stops to get near to the bus station and then walked several blocks to reach it. The lady in the train station didn’t want us to buy tickets as she said the bus was much cheaper but at just over £1 we opted for the easier alternative.

We bought our bus tickets with 2 minutes to go before it left, had a quick dash to find it and bang on time it left.

Back in Santiago and it was another tube, another walk and we found tonights apartment. Then went out to see the Palace – blocked off as the park area in front of it was under renovation. Walked another 8 blocks through a very dodgy looking area to reach the Barrio Brasil where the entire population seemed to be lounging in the park, then walked swiftly back again before it got dark.


Additional photos below
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Admiral Prat
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Lord Cochrane and British arch
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Port blockade
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Traditional Chilean meal
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The strange world of J Cruz M
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Acensor
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Chilean Miners' rescue pod
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Naval Museum
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The rich gaffs up on the hill


13th April 2013
Valporaisa

Howard....
looks deranged! was he very hungry? haha.... but actually I could eat that! looks tasty :D xx
18th April 2013
Valporaisa

Ha ha, it's actually a meal for two
13th April 2013
Valporaisa

Tanned!
Good lord, how brown are you??? you look really tanned. When you described this place it reminded me of the pub in Alice Springs, quite bizarre! xx
18th April 2013
Valporaisa

As usual Howard is ten times browner! Yes a bit like that pub but tiny and packed solid with curiosities
13th April 2013

Valparaiso
I really like the look of this place. It's incredibly quirky. Love how higgledy piggledy everything looks, from the streets to the buildings. And some lovely views, nice! xx

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