A two hour bus ride from Santiago brought us to Valparaiso. It certainly doesn’t translate to paradise valley! Our first impressions weren’t that great. It was Sunday and the area we were staying in was like one big car boot sale 😂. On every pavement there were locals with blankets laid out selling all sorts of crap!
We dropped our bags off at the hostel (not brilliant but for £20 a night you can’t complain) and headed into the streets to get lunch. As far as I could see we were the only tourists..just the way we like it.
We stopped at a cafe that was very busy, not the most up market of places but when it’s full of locals you know the food must be good. No one spoke English so we had to order in Spanish. Tina had Pastel de Choco. It’s a traditional Chilean dish with meat, chopped boiled egg, chicken, raisins (ugh) and topped with mashed sweetcorn. Sounds rank but tastes lovely. It looks like a cottage pie. Kev got steak and rice. It wasn’t what he thought he was ordering but he enjoyed it…he really needs to learn more Spanish 😂.
This was where we ate….plastic tables and chairs, no frills but good food.
After lunch we walked down to the waterfront. Valparaiso is a working port and also a stop off point for cruise ships. A lot of the passengers seemed to be American.
Behind the port are hundreds of houses built up into the hills. They look very much like the favellas of Rio de Janeiro. The streets are really steep and remind us of San Francisco.
We meandered to the waters edge and Kev asked Tina which way she wanted to go…”I’m going to stay here and watch the seals” she said. “Which seals?” Kev asked. ….she was only joking it was actually buoys bobbling up and down on the water. Kev said “oh you mean those seals?” As he points to the right….omg!! How weird was that. About 15 seals basking on what looked like a stone 4 poster bed in the sea.
We sat down on the rocks to watch them and a gorgeous stray dog just came and sat at the side of us. We have been doing a lot of dog sitting this year and seem to have a connection with them. Wherever we go we attract dogs. 😀
We sat and had a drink listening to the waves lapping against the rocks before heading to the supermarket to get provisions.
There was a band playing near the beach and Kev said to Tina “Go on, shake your ass”. Tina loves dancing to music. “No” she said “I’ve too many wobbly bits now” 🐷🐖. “So what?” He says “You fit right in here”. 😯 He quickly realised what he’d said and added ” that’s IF you had any wobbly bits?!” 😉
We spent £19 in the supermarket and had enough food for 3 evening meals, a jar of coffee and 3 breakfasts (eggs and fruit). Tonight’s delight was thick Angus beef sausages with savoury rice and chopped salad. Seems strange eating salad, and walking around in shorts and t shirts when people at home are battening down the hatches and putting the heating on due to the Baltic weather ❄⛄. In the UK it was getting dark at 4pm, here it’s getting dark around 9.30pm 🤔.
After a decent nights sleep in our large grubby bedroom room (I kid you not!) We decided to walk into town.
We’d been walking about 10 min when Kev shouted “shit!”. Tina wondered what the hell was happening…until she turned round and Kev’s head was literally dolloped with bird shit! Haha 🕊😫. It’s supposed to lucky isn’t it? Maybe not if you’re the person it lands on and you don’t have anything to wipe it off with…oops 😂.
We took the funicular up to a mid way point in the hills. There are 15 funiculars and 45 steep hills in Valparaiso so you can imagine how high the slopes are. I wouldn’t want to learn to drive a car there. Can you imagine what trying to get the clutch bite??
The buildings and walls are covered with street art and you can’t get bored walking around for hours up and down the streets. There are local buses whizzing up and down constantly. I dont think there can be a speed limit as they drive like lunatics. You either walk in the searing heat or risk your life on a bus….we walked. You see much more when walking and the views were amazing.
Ginger and Paddington enjoyed their trip out today and were forever asking for photos to be taken of them!
As we set off walking down the hill Kev put his arm around Tina and said “Come on Tubby, sorry I mean darling”. Tina sometimes wonders how he’s still alive with things he says to her!!
We didn’t want to walk back to our apartment, it was too far so we got the trolley bus. They are quite antiquated, this being due to the fact they were imported from USA between 1946 and 1952 and they include the world’s oldest trolley buses still in service. Ginger and Paddington enjoyed their trip on them too!
We finished the evening off by watching the seals again. The sun was beating down, it was lovely and warm and was 7.30pm. Perfect end to the evening.
Random subject but the system with toilet paper in the toilets over here isn’t good. In fact it can be embarrassing. When you go into a department store or cafe/restaurant and use their baños (toilets) the toilet paper is outside the cubicle and you have to decide how much you’re going to need/use before you go in! You don’t want to publicise what you intend to do in the loos but you can’t help looking when someone reels off loads of paper and you think “haha I know what you’re going in to do 😷😲”
The worse thing though is getting in the loo, sitting down, and then realising you’ve forgotten to take some loo paper in with you! 😮
Anyway back to what we’re up to. Today (Tuesday) Kev has gone to a football match in Santiago which takes over an hour on the bus. Whilst he was trying to book the ticket online for the game it was asking what nationality he was. One of the options was “old and grey with a beard” 😂.
Kev has bought a football shirt to wear to the match on Friday for Colo Colo (Santiago team). Tina told him he should wear his own team’s shirt (Leeds United). “Are you joking? ” he says..”If you wear a British football team’s shirts they’d slit your throat whilst laughing at you, especially in Argentina!” (We are going there after Chile)..”Have I to see if I can get a British football team shirt for you?” Tina enquired 😂😜
He’s still learning Spanish and STILL can’t pronounce Valparaiso correctly. God knows how he’ll get get back as he needs to ask for a return bus ticket and can’t even say “one ticket” correctly 😂. We went to the bus station and Tina let him try order the ticket (she prompted him first as to what to say). He went up to the counter and said “habla Inglese? ” (“do you speak English?”) the guy said “no”. Kev looks at Tina with a blank look…. 🤔
In Italy he speaks French, in Spanish speaking countries he switches between Italian, French and Spanish…sometimes all 3 languages in the same sentence!!! He makes me laugh 😁.
It turned out the game had been cancelled! He only found this out after travelling over an hour on the bus to Santiago. He had to turn around and come back…at least he managed to get back. 😂
The following morning Tina woke up with a really bad back. Not sure how she’d done it but it was painful. She took some pain killers and they headed on out. She was wincing with pain as she was walking. About 10 minutes later Kev said “how’s your back?” She just started to say that the pain killers were kicking in so feeling better, when he jumped in and said “FAT” that’s how your back is, fat!” He then kissed her and said he loved her to bits., whilst peeing himself laughing.
He’s doing quite well with his Spanish. We’ve been given some language recordings to listen to by Michele Thomas. They are an easy way of learning a language and I must say it does work. No writing, no homework, no trying to remember. Kev is coming along well with it. Because it’s audio you can hear the guys voice in your head telling you how to pronounce things. For example he tells you to pronounce “impossible” as “imposseeble” and to really push on the ending “ble”. To Tina’s annoyance he walks around randomly saying “ble, ble, ble” he’s not right in his head! 😄
Tina told him to speak to her only in Spanish for the next half hour. It went quiet for 5 minutes the he said “Porque usted mas grande? ” which basically translates to “why are you so big?”!! Oh he has was so pleased with himself…”woo hoo” he said “Now I can abuse you in Spanish too” 😃.
We visited Viña Del Mar, which was only 6 miles up the coast but a million miles from where we’re staying! It was so picturesque and more up market than Valparaiso.
The waves were crashing against the rocks and they were so strong they swept a few people off their feet on the beach. I know we shouldn’t find it funny but watching a woman, who was about 60 years old, going close to the shore line and “taunting” the waves, whilst her husband stands filming her, we couldn’t help it. A huge wave came up and knocked her off her feet dragged her up the beach and then dragged her back in the sea. Her husband ran into the sea to help her, whilst holding his camera up high, only to be dragged in too!! 😂 Someone went in to help them both. They were OK, but the guy was more bothered about his camera I think! Haha.
Our last day in Valparaiso and we took the bus to Quintay (pronounced kin tie). It’s a gorgeous little fishing village with a horse shoe shaped bay. It was once a whaling station in the 1950’s but now Chile has declared all their water to be like a whale sanctuary, Quintay whaling station is just a museum.
There must be sharks in the water also as a local diver came out of the sea with this sharks head!
It was overcast on arrival and the sun didn’t come out until 3.30pm. This seems to be usual occurrence. The forecast says sunny at 11am, mother nature decides to make us wait until mid afternoon to shine her golden rays on us. 😎☉
The little bay is home to sea otters that happily swim amongst the rocks.
The locals houses are quite dilapidated and made from wood. They aren’t very big, especially not for a family.
We missed the bus back so decided to get a collectivo, which is basically a taxi that you share with other people. This cost us 40p more than the bus and took less time. On the way back we spotted a kestrel at the side of the road, deer grazing near a lake and huge cows laying on the grass near the deer. I hope this is at sign of things to come, wildlife wise, as Chile has the most Blue Wales that migrate from December to March. …..now that would be a treat to see one of those. They are bigger than a double decker bus!!
On Friday we went back to Santiago for one night….to watch a football game, Colo Colo v Santiago Wanderers in the Sopa Cup. Tina doesn’t normally like football but loves the atmosphere of South American football. They are so passionate about the sport, and chant, cheer and sing throughout the whole game.
On entering the ground you are searched. I don’t know what they are searching for because inside the ground they were smoking weed, lighting flares and had huge flag poles!
The visiting team was from Valparaiso and they were soon fighting with the home team fans and also the police! The police have full riot gear on but they were outnumbered so they soon retreated to their designated box within the stand.
The fans are segregated in different areas of the ground by metal fences, that are topped with spikes. This doesn’t stop them climbing on top of them to cheer their team on. There were no stewards around to stop them as they were too busy trying to keep the away fans calm.😂
The home team won the game and also the cup. The crowd went crazy.
For some reason I can’t upload the videos of the fans fighting on her so will do so on our Travelling Full Time page on Facebook.
Kev loved every minute of the game and was pleased when Tina spotted a guy selling football badges. Another little memento for him to make him smile. Tina got her moment to make her smile when she asked for asked photo with the police on the way out 😉.
Saturday we have a 10 hour bus journey to a wonderful little place called Villarricca in an area that is called the “Lake District”. Luckily the buses are comfortable…..the next blog should hopefully have some breathtaking photos in of lakes and mountains.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Much appreciated.
Tina and kev