Santiago de Chile, Valparaiso and Viña del Mar
13.04.2007 - 20.04.2007 25 °C
Ok, next country on the go. The longest country of the world and i presume the thinest (4000km long, 180 km wide) - hope i didn´t make this up completely, we only intend to stay for a short while as it is more expensive here and we were told that the food is crap. Well, in Santiago we stayed in SA best hostel, voted for in 2006 and the location was good, could have been the Soho of Chile. We enjoyed strolling around the city, going for great Thai food and were proven wrong and you can actually find other food than burgers and chips and though more expensive than Argentina, still good value for money.
Santiago de Chile: not sure whether you want to know this, but they have 250,000 dogs producing 40tonnes of dog shit every day (indeed i am fascinated by dogs in South America). Apart from that they have some great hill/mountains in the middle of town. So, great 2 days.
BTW - got conned by fake students on our first day in Santiago, somehow they got us with this weird sounding story that since Pinochet students are really poor people and to finance their studies they come together to distribute poems to tourists. Their US $200 pay a month work as students does´t fund the uni.....bla bla bla, we didn´t give them too much money, but hey...you are warned of them in every tourist leaflet, but it just clicked too late for us.
Valparaiso: Port town. approx. 1 hrs from Santiago and the first impression we have is that of a pretty poor place we don´t particularly like, probably as we were still waiting for good weather, but once the sun came out, we head for the beach in Viña, check apparently the best seafood in the country and have some nice strolls on the Cerro Allegro and Cerro Conception. After 4 days we definitely fell in love with this place...The hostel we stay in was owned and refurbished by the author of the Chilean Footprint autor who helped us to get into the vibe of this place. (London guy who even new Haydons Road...how small is the world).
We go for some runs and try not to be too ignorant and wanting to learn stuff about the countries we visit, we go to the house (now a musuem) of Pablo Neruda who is one of only 2 chilean Noble Prize Winners. Great stuff to stroll through somebodies house who is actually famous. I tell you, great views he got from the study !!!!
Viña del Mar is literally next door to Valparaiso. Buses and a posh tube system connect the two and Viña is like the Chelsea of London whereas Valparaiso is the Camden part..., but it is Valparaiso with its quirky bohemian arty touch which is far more interesting with its hills, murals and cable cars....