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Published: September 18th 2014
Today I went through a mountain! I also went under a river, and this tunnel is several miles long under the city. The other one took us under one of the mountains to get from Santiago to Valparaiso. I understand not having to climb through the mountains has shortened the trip considerably. It was very impressive.
I LOVED Valparaiso. It is an impossible city created up and down the hills that surround the bay. Colorful, a little shabby in areas, and with incredible views, the houses are built on streets so steep that some feel almost vertical, and a lot of them so narrow that two cars don't fit at the same time. If you get to the beginning of one street and another car is coming the other way already, you stop and wait until it passes you to get going. These streets wind up and down these hills in a mad design of steep angles, it seemed like. The houses are every color imaginable, one next to the other, and built up, not deep, one room on top of the other. It is an incredible view to see them practically hanging on the sides of these hills. I
was told that the City was referred to once as the "City of Flags" because of the drying laundry hanging from the back of the houses. There are no backyards. The houses windows open up to air and a steep drop.
We visited La Sebastiana, another one of Pablo Neruda's houses. La Sebastiana was impressive. Fabulous views, five story tall, with rooms that narrowed as they went up. Killer stairways very steep and narrow between floors, but totally charming.
I rode on a "funicular" which are very old cable cars that go up and down the hills. I tried not to look down because you can see through the cracks on the wooden planks floor! I enjoyed every second. Sadly, it seems that many of them are no longer in service, and the streetcars are also following the same fate. They don't have parts to fix them and there are less and less of them around. I told Patricia they should contact New Orleans, since it seems that we have built our own replacement parts shops.
On the way we saw a working copper mine outside the city. I also found out that because of Santiago growing
so fast and so much, a law was passed to allow construction on the Cordillera. 😞
Yes, they can buildl up to 1,000 meter up the sides of the Cordillera. I do hope it stops there.
By the way, for my wine loving friends, I drove through an entire valley that consisted of one vineyard after another, Casablanca. Because it is a cool valley, kept so by the fogs coming from the coast, they only produce white wines in this particular valley. Most are small vineyards, and from what I hear they produce some of the best chardonnays around. I passed one vineyard, Intrepida, sitting on top of a hill that I would love to visit at some point. That was one of the ones with restaurants and fancy tasting rooms.
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