We spent a night in Vina Del Mar after Santiago. We stayed a night in a budget hotel rather than a hostel and it was great! We had an en suite with towels which is always amazing after using stinking travel ones for ages! It was quite a nice place and we got brekkie served to us the next day!
We all liked Vina, its got a fairly ok beach in which people were swimming when we went and cool old spanish style houses dot the hill tops. There´s quite a big gap between the rich and poor areas which is quite noticable and, like in Santiago there are stary dogs everywhere which follow you around! One followed us for ages, stopping outside shops to wait! We just spent a day wandering around and tried a traditonal Chilian dish for lunch in a little cafe.
About 10 minutes along the coast on a bus is Valparaiso so we headed there for a couple of nights. Undoubtedly the most unique city in Chile, and one of the most unusual in all Latin America. Its an old port town with a large navy quarter.From the flat city centre you can look up at a very different city. Huge hills rise above the town on which are chaotic colourful houses set on a maze of cobbled streets. We accidently ended up in the hills as we missed our stop on the bus, it was really cool up there and the views were amazing so we were glad we missed it! A couple of locals who spoke no English were really helpful and somehow they managed to get us on the right bus to where we wanted to be.
When we eventually arrived at the hostel we checked in before wandering around the naval quarter, spotting some sailors! We had 2 american guys in our hostel so we went for dinner with them one evening before heading back to the hostel where a group of us sat ariud the table and were taught a new card game. Everywhere in Chile seems to sell these hotdog things covered in loads of sauce which we decided to try seeing as they seem popular among the locals! We genally spent our time here wandering round the town and its market stalls.