Valparaiso

Having enjoyed a couple of days of chilling in Chile it was time to go exploring further afield. So, we caught a coach to the coastal town of Valparaiso. Famous for its high up cobbled streets, street art and bo-ho vibes we were looking forward to it.

After a 90 minute coach ride we jumped down into the heat that was Valparaiso. It was truly sweltering. So much so we didn’t make a proper plan or indeed check the times of the returning coaches we simply grabbed a map and headed for the water.

Initial impressions weren’t that impressive, a man made sea break was hardly picturesque. However we soon realised that we were in for a Wildlife Show. A concrete platform opposite us was full of sealions who alternated between sunbathing, barking at each other (which sounded just like burping) and diving into the ocean. I’m not saying they were playing to an audience but it was almost as if they were looking at us to check we could see them!

Pulling ourselves away from this we headed off to see what else Valparasio had to offer. We were on a mission to find the Funiculars which would take us up to the cobbled streets we were all so keen to see.

And this is where our lack of planning began to show. Sitting down for a much needed ice cream we studied the map and, brimming with confidence, set off in the direction of said funicular. Or so we thought.  Turns out our map reading skills were pretty shabby and we were still miles away. Wilting at the thought of more walking through such intense heat, we hailed a tram and sank thankfully onto the boiling seats. The trams here are oldy worldy and are a must!

 

Leaving the tram, our quest still seemed doomed to failure. The funiculars did not  want to be found. We searched high and low and were even told by one local on no account should we go up one particular road. “Not safe for you” she said while miming getting a black eye. We followed her advice and went the other way.

Kass and Helen spotted a steep stairway and suggested we try this. It was certainly heading in the right direction – up! And, there appeared to be some artwork half way up. I very nearly sat down in protest on the kerb. The number of steps was really quite overwhelming and I wanted to sit in a shady hammock with a long cool drink.

Taking a breath, I started to climb and thank goodness I’d allowed myself to be convinced because at the top of this sky scraper staircase was the cobbled, quaint streets we’d been searching for.

Artists at work mingled with yoga studios, galleries, boutiques, health food shops, cafes and chocolatiers. It was truly charming. There were so many beautiful places to eat with truly stunning views down into the harbour below. Unfortunately our lack of planning meant we had to forgo such a treat to make sure we could catch a coach back to Santiago.

How I wish we’d have booked a night’s stay at this lovely town. If you are planning to visit Chile, please take my advice and spend some time in Valparaiso, you certainly won’t regret it.

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