Blogs from Valparaíso Region, Chile, South America


South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso March 21st 2015

We flew from Puerto Monte, Chile to Santiago Chile. We rent a car at the airport and drive two hours to Valparaiso. We are expecting a charming town but are surprised to see a large seaport city. We arrived in Valparaiso a day earlier then planned. We called our hotel and asked if they had a vacancy, it was Friday night and they were full. They called around and booked us into a hotel nearby. By the time we drove to Valparaiso we had a hotel room. Our hotel is located in Cerro Concepcion, we have a hard time finding our hotel with the limited number of streets that go up the hill and all of the one way streets. Parking is also a problem but the hotel owner lets us park in front of their ... read more
The City Burns
A view of the Bay
Looking over the top of the Church.

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso March 18th 2015

Valparaiso or Valpo as it is affectionatly called is one of Chile's principal ports and naval bases. Its port has played a key role in many naval explorations and most recently, during the California Gold rush, creating substantial wealth for the early settlers of the area. Unfortunately with the completion of the Panama canal the fortunes of Valpo started to erode. Now Valpo is a lively and vibrant city, we were both insipred by its ramshackled beauty and its mishmash patchwork of brightly coloured houses built over 45 hills. During the boom area city planners either didn't exist or they were ignored as roadways run randomly everywhere - a grid system it is definately not. We felt that this just enhanced its appeal, spending many hours strolling through the labyrinth of alleyways catching glimpses of the ... read more
Naval Base

Supposed to dock at 5.30a.m. but ended up getting the ship on port around 8.00a.m., broken crane had to be removed/repaired - docked in working port - bused to port terminal around 2 miles. Been here around 2006 when we went to Santiago the first time. Very cute place - with all the unique houses scaling the surrounding hills, from the ship you can see numerous fununculars. Teamed up with 5 other couples, three from the world cruise 2012, and off we headed for a fun day. Very lucky we are with Carlos - Spanish/Chinese decent - living in San Fran - knows the lingo - so caught the local bus up to the plaza - first stop a pharmacy so people could stock up on prescription drugs etc - then took a walk through the ... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 7th 2015

After visiting Argentina and Chile I’m getting the distinct impression that every country in South America has its own problems. One concerning factor for me is the strained relationship Latin American countries have with each other. In Europe we all speak different languages but when we are united by threat we talk and decide the best course of action to beat the threat. Look at the ‘Je suis Charlie’ incident in France, and how quickly the French, British and German leaders got together. You don’t get Angela Merkel saying ‘Oi Cameron don’t speak to me, you declared war on us back in the 1940s.’ or president Hollande saying ‘Oi Angela we don’t want your help, at least not after what your government did, using part of our country to exterminate Jews back in WW2’ No, us ... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 7th 2015

I left the hostel as soon as possible after breakfast, relieved to be in one piece and have all my luggage with me. It was easy and cheap to get back to Santiago, only about one and a half hours by bus. The very interesting conversation that I had with the taxi driver in Valparaiso gave me thinking material for the entire bus journey. He told me all about the very unexpected and destructive earthquake in 2010 which had its epicentre in Concepcion and then created a tsunami which killed 300 people mainly in the South of Chile. It was unexpected because they hadn’t had a big earhquake in 50 years or so. He explained that earthquakes can’t be predicted but tsunamis can. When an earthquake happens in the ocean, it is expected that a tsunami ... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 7th 2015

Argentina on the other hand seems to be on the pulse and knows everybody’s business. It seems that any incidents going on in Europe immediately trigger events in Argentina, for example not long after the ‘Je suis Charlie’ attacks, the French embassy in Buenos Aires was full of people coming together in mourning. Argentina seems to be the bridge between Europe and South America. Of course its descendents are European, not from indigenous tribes like in the other South American countries.... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 6th 2015

PABLO NERUDA’S ROLE IN SOCIALISM Today I visited Pablo Neruda’s second home, called La Sebastiana. I discovered far more about Neruda’s political life and I take back my previous comment that he was a dilettante. Dilettantes dabble in different hobbies but often don’t finish what they start but Neruda took on some very important political roles. The house itself really reflects this. However, for me it isn’t as elaborate as his house La Chascona in Santiago. In 1936 he lived in Madrid and Barcelona and during the Spanish Civil war he rescued Spaniards from the regime by bringing them to Chile using the Winnipeg boat. There is a portrait of Lord Cochrane, a British seafarer who worked at rescuing Spaniards from Chile. To show Neruda’s gratitude to the sailor, he put Cochrane’s picture in his dining ... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 6th 2015

THE HOUSE LA SEBASTIANA The house is located on Florida Hill. The architect who built it was called Sebastian Collado, a Spanish man. He had built it for his family but died before finishing the work and the house was abandoned for 10 years. At the time, Neruda was looking for a place to buy in Valparaiso so he bought it together with his two friends Marie Martner and her husband Francisco Velasco, who were also responsible for designing parts of the house. The house was inaugurated in 1961 and it was called La Sebastiana in honour to its first owner Sebastian. Like his other house in Santiago which was also damaged, this house was looted after the military coup in 1973 but thanks to Telefonica de Espana, it was restored and opened to the public ... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 6th 2015

I got lucky finding a nice, local restaurant with a decent price for Menu del Dia. I had bread with pizca?, bean soup for starter, salmon and salad for main and a scoop of chocolate ice cream for dessert, all accompanied with a tutti frutti fresh juice. Menu Del Dia here works a bit like Menu del Dia in Spain but here they don’t give you any options- they set the menu, you sit at the table and eat what is given to you. Luckily I like most food so I eat everything. I love trying out new food, looking at what waiters are bringing other people, seeing if their portions are bigger and smaller than mine, savouring every taste, watching the local news on the TV whilst eating, or thinking about the food, how its ... read more

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 5th 2015

We were shown on the Plaza Sotomayor/Independencia - the Navy Headquarters of Chile built in 1910, the Queen Victoria hotel decked out with furniture brought from England, a famous statue commemorating the 21stMay when Chile went to war with Peru and Bolivia, the outcome being Peru losing its national territories to Chile and Bolivia losing its coastline to Chile. The monument is guarded by a navy man and an eternal flame is placed in front of the monument. The statue has Esmerelda on the top, the man who lead the war. We saw the Barburizza palace built by a rich Yugoslavian immigrant on Paseo Yugoslav. The building was built by the public and is now the Bellas Artes museum. Valparaiso was the site of the first bank in Latin America? and the first protestant churches, built ... read more

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