Valparaiso & Vina del Mar
Mishee's Spanish is really coming on, and getting us by, however I am still struggling to remember 1 - 10! Leaving Santiago couldn't have been easier, we got the Metro to the bus station and waited only five minutes and got on a bus to Valparaiso (travellers don't bother booking in advance, no need). This is considered the cultural capital of Chile, its 120km North West of Santiago, and whilst its a little rough around the edges it has a very bohemian charm.
We checked into a randomly found guest house near the bus station, really cute family run business with a very old feel, for 10,000 pesos around $20 US. Chile is not proving to be as cheap as we thought thus far! First impressions weren't great for Mish and I but Valpo grew on us big time as we walked right around the city. It was another gorgeous day with a nice sea breeze. We couldn't stop taking photos of the old architecture and cute streets around the city and I had the best coffee of my life, for some reason the coffee kicks ass in Chile.
We are still struggling to find out the Chilean cuisine, apart from hot dogs!! We had some good Chorrillana which is a heart choking platter of fried potatoes, grilled onions fried egg and steak, really good actually! We then popped back to the digs for a Spanish lesson and conked out for the night, bit boring but we are finding Chile much more expensive than expected.
The next morning we woke nice and early and awoke to the sound of horns outside our window. We took a malaria tablet and both had a funny turn and went to book our bus ticket to Argentina for the following day. Then we somehow managed to grab a bus to the neighboring city of Vina Del Mar, these buses are crazy, they pull over anywhere! We were really lucky to grab the right one straight away! Vina Del Mar was a lot greener and is known as the garden city for its many parks and gardens, this city beach resort has more of a modern feel than Valpo and you could tell there was a lot of money here with posh apartments, mansions on the hills and sweet cars like Audi R8's driving around.
We got dropped off from our death bus and headed to the beach. We chilled out on the beach for a few hours, quite a nice beach here but the only downside is you have to pay £1 to use the toilet, it seems to be like that for all public toilets in Chile. So we avoided drinking too much water for the rest of the day! Every Peso counts!
We had some lasagne for lunch and had to eat it with our fingers as we didn't know what fork was in Spanish, seriously, who gives out lasagne without forks!! We then headed back to Valpo, had a siesta, and went out to watch a political rally down the road where there was cool Chilean live music and lots of flag waving and horns pomping! Would have liked to know what was going on but was cool to watch, there were police everywhere.
Nothing but good to say about these 2 cities, very different, actually the only bad thing is the amount of stray dogs, its horrid, there are hundreds lying around all over the place, very sad to see.
Off to Mendoza, Argentina tomorrow, good times,
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