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A Little Boho

we appreciated the vandalism

sunny

As Valparaiso is only about an hour or so away from Santiago several buses depart for the coastal town each day. We arrived early afternoon and had booked a room in a hostel. This isn't something we ever really did in Asia but it is different in South America. Room prices tend to be set and therefore it is much more worthwhile to search for the best price available on the net and book ahead.

We followed the instructions the hostel had given and took a local bus up one of the hills which surround the town. Valparaiso is sprawled across a number of cerros (hills) with the town centre spread out between their base and the ocean. Our hostel was inoffensively scruffy round the edges, which was masked well by the hippy vibe and laid back, friendly attitude of the young couple that ran it. They provided us with a map and pointed us in the right direction.

The town itself is known for being a bit of a hippy hang out and as with the hostel this seemed to manifest itself in a slightly disorganised way. Everything was a little worn out and thread bare but there was charm and atmosphere at the same time. It was clear that the community were keen on openly expressing themselves and there was lots of graffiti around the place.
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A fair amount was worth a prolonged look and wasn't just the unimaginative vandalism of spray painted tags.
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We walked down to a an area where there were good views out over the city and harbour. There were a few stalls set up selling various tourist items and we decided we'd have a proper look at these later.

Next we took the funicular down the hill, walked through the Plaza Sotomayor which sits at the heart of the city and is dominated by the former Government House, now used as the seat of the admiralty.
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Weekends in South America don't transform the high streets in to my idea of shopping hell, quite to the contrary things were ghostly quiet when we went in search of a late lunch. We ended up in a small cafe where we got a good value set meal. Afterwards we decided to call it a day as things were so quiet and the day was almost over anyway. We caught the bus back up the hill.

The following morning we had breakfast at the hostel, it is standard here for it to be included in the price of the room which is great for us. It's nice to start the day with a full tummy and not have to hunt down a good place to eat. We walked back to the craft stalls and continued the tradition we'd begun in India by purchasing a magnet each. Next we walked down the hill and had a look round the harbour. It isn't exactly attractive, Monaco certainly doesn't have anything to worry about! It is a working port and there were big cargo ships being loaded up with containers. As things stood we were both a little flummoxed as to why Valparaiso had been so highly rated. Although it had a kind of artistic atmosphere, this didn't seem to be preventing it from slowly eroding and some parts which were clearly once pretty now seemed to be the designated local alcoholic zones.

We took a smaller funicular up one of the other hills and leisurely walked through the narrow, steep streets.
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There were some sweet little buildings and more creative wall art to gaze at. We slowly made our way back down and decided to head in the direction of the bus station.
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Our plan was to catch a bus South the next day to Chile's Lake District and the town of Puerto Varas. We had lunch, bought our ticket for the following evening and then caught the bus back up the the hostel.

The next day we packed up and arranged to leave our bags at the hostel until it was time for us to catch our bus. We then walked down in to the centre and slowly made our way to the cinema that we'd clocked the day before. After making sure that the film was in English we settled down to watch District 9 which really wasn't what either of us had been expecting. However after the initial surprise we both really enjoyed this slightly bizarre take on an alien invasion. A large part of our enjoyment coming from the main character sounding more Scouser than South African.

After the film we wandered back to the hostel, picked up our bags and took a bus down to the bus station. A quick bite to eat and it was time to board our bus South. The buses in Chile and Argentina do cost quite a bit but are so much better than the majority of those we travelled on in Asia. Hopefully we would get some rest on the journey towards the lakes.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 14:54 Archived in Chile Tagged round_the_world

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