Back in Santiago but without the rest of the G-crew; they’d all left whilst we were in Easter Island. The last day of their tour they went to Valparaiso & Vina del Mar on the coast and had good reviews, so we organised our own tour of this area.
The hotel were very accommodating and the evening we returned from Easter Island we asked, and we were picked up at 8am the next day! We were picked up by a small minibus for 8 people which looked promising! Sadly, all it did was take us to the ‘big drop off point’ where we joined 26 other tourists on a big coach.
The guide was decent, the cities pretty, but after the high that was Easter Island, we were a tough crowd to please! Plus being one of a massive crowd wasn’t really doing it for us!
We started the tour in Vina del mar – about 1.5 hours away from Santiago. It’s a beach city. It’s fairly pretty, but it’s nothing amazing to write home about. Lots of Chileans like it for the beach and coast line, but compared to a number of other beach cities it’s fairly standard!
After spending a bit of time here, we moved on to Valparaiso which is all of 20 minutes away. This city used to be a major port for shipping distances between the Atlantic and Pacific so got a lot of trade. These days, the historical part of the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site,which is where we wandered around. The colourful graffiti everywhere is really nice to see, and part of the magic of the place
Sadly, the city isn’t doing great financially. Shipping (though still important) is less of a trade as other cities become good ports en route for sailors. This means the city has lots of tourists in the old part, but actually the place itself is crumbling somewhat. Houses are in disrepair and the city isn’t well looked after in some areas. Saying that – there’s a nice vibe about it, and we all agreed we’d rather live in Valparaiso than Vina.
A nice enough day – but ultimately a day that reminds you that you can’t have ‘wow’ days every day! We returned back to Santiago and went out in Bellavista for a beer and some dinner as Keryn was leaving us the next day to head to Punta Arenas. Sofia & I had a VERY lazy day once she’d left (at 5.15am!). We had been so Go-Go-Go the last few weeks that we both needed some down time. So all we did was relax, get up to date on wifi related activities (like this blog!), pop out to post some things home, and a quick spot of shopping. That was it. A nice, normal day (like at home) where you stay put – do little, and watch the world go by… Travelling (dare i say it!) is tiring and every now and then you need to recharge your batteries – otherwise i’m going to need a holiday when i get back from this trip 🙂
Next stop: Mendoza – the city that makes around 70% of Argentinian wine – we were both looking forward to this stop!