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Published: January 11th 2014
Valparaiso, or Valpo as locals call it, is just 120km away from Santiago, but the atmosphere between the two cities couldn’t be much more different. While Santiago is a busy big city, Valparaiso, even though not small either with its 400.000 inhabitants and a busy port, seems more like a tranquil harbor town. Most that is interesting about Valparaiso is set on several hills around the town center: they are filled with colorful houses, cafés and artisan shops. It’s obvious that Valparaiso is quite a creative and artistic place: you just have to look at the amount of arty shops, skillful graffiti, and things like concrete stairs painted in bright colors you can find all over the place (who said stairs always have to be grey anyway…). The houses were often much like in Iceland or Faroe Islands, made of corrugated steel and painted in bright colors with white window sills. It’s all very cute, and no wonder Valparaiso is a UNESCO world heritage city.
Our mindset at this point appears to be such that we are already pretty much waiting to get to Easter Island and onward to the South Pacific. It’s not that we are not interested in
Chile, on the contrary, we are quite sorry we won’t have enough time to make it to the Patagonia region in the south, but for some reason we have been quite lazy sightseers recently; sleeping late, getting out to the city only in the afternoon, taking long lunch and coffee breaks. Luckily, Valparaiso was the perfect city for that. There it was easy just to walk around for days in slow pace taking a picture here and there, but without any big sightseeing agenda. We did take the free walking tour again on the second morning, though. We have done those in five cities already, which has led to making comparisons like yep, Valparaiso was definitely better than La Paz, but not as good as Medellin (which has turned out unbeatable so far). On another day we took the subway to the neighboring beach town Viña del Mar, where we walked along the beach and browsed the big shopping malls. I replaced my jeans and sweater with new ones (from Mango and Zara of course, why look somewhere new..), and we are also now fully equipped for the South Pacific with a new snorkel. Let’s see what kind of quality
that supermarket snorkel turns out to be, but it’s good to have something at least, as already Easter Island should have pretty good snorkeling opportunities – we just have to hope it’s not too cold for snorkeling.
We also went to the movies to see The Hobbit, as we were lucky enough to find a showing which was not dubbed in Spanish. Going to the movies is one of the things that can make you feel more like you are “living the normal life” in the middle of the long travels, because it’s exactly the same everywhere in the world, with the popcorn and soda and all that. Other than the movies, we mainly spent our evenings at our accommodation playing with the cutest kitten ever: she was orange and a bit striped, so I named her ciger (mix between cat and tiger). On the first day she was afraid and wouldn’t let me pet her, but ever since she kept coming into our room, and just couldn’t get enough of cuddling and chasing things we made her play with. <3 Our accommodation was the home of an artist and his girlfriend, and quite a weird one, all crumbling
with walls without any paint or wallpaper, just a small stream of luke warm water for shower, nothing there was very cozy or home-like. But, it was peaceful and quiet enough, so we are not too unhappy, we will anyway soon return to Santiago to enjoy the luxurious apartment of Rodrigo and Christian, where we stayed already during New Year.
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