A Travellerspoint blog

Did I Mention Steep Hills

An actual day all to ourselves with no tour and no schedule. Can't complain since I set up this whole trip but we have been getting tours almost every day so this is a nice one to have a "do whatever we want day". We attempt to eat breakfast out on the deck but the breeze whipping up from the sea is a bit too chilly so we move inside. Some others are much braver or thicker skinned than us and do eat outside. Wonderful hotel, wonderful breakfast.

We are going to go to Pablo Neruda's house. He was a poet laureate of Chile with a house in the hills of Valparaiso. It looked like a straight shot on the map to walk but somehow we usually manage to get lost so we took a taxi - having been advised what we should pay for it and all. Pablo's house is in the mid-level. He's about halfway up the hills so a lovely view over the bay and houses lower and yet many houses and neighborhoods further up the hills. Our guide yesterday had told us that the poorer people live further up the hills and rarely come down to the bottom. wow, just the opposite in most cities in the states where further up the hill means better views and higher prices. Neither here nor there as when Pablo bought his house, it had been empty for about 10 years so he got a deal. It was a lovely 4 story house but I suspect it had a few levels below the ground floor as we never saw a kitchen. We were not allowed to take photos inside which was a shame because he had some nice collections of antiques as well as some odd art pieces. None of the rooms were very large but they all looked very comfortable and so soothing to the soul as each room had large windows for overlooking the bay.

Leaving the house, not sure where exactly we wanted to go but there was a church we could see so we headed downhill towards it. Just a block down from Pablo's house, we passed a park that held a couple of bronze statues of him and also a couple of kittens begging for food. oh, they were so cute and loud and vocal. We got to the church which was locked up tighter than a drum so on down the hill because the map showed there was a funicular. When we got to where the funicular was supposed to be - nothing. Not even a boarded up door. Another tourist was looking for it also without any luck so it had just disappeared under the brush and bushes. OK, drat, back up the very steep hill.

Looking at the map, we saw we could skirt our way across the steep hills sideways, working our way up slowly, until we were back on the road we had started and then head back towards the hotel and some of the tourist areas because we had seen a Mexican restaurant and we wanted to try that. We will go to almost any lengths for Mexican food or for pizza. And there were a few lookouts as well we would pass and some parks. So up the steep hill.

Following the map wasn't too bad although we had to be careful as some of the cross streets we wanted to take were more like paths between streets. And almost every cross street would go down a bit and then we'd have more steep hill to climb again. whew. Did I mention that Valparaiso has very steep hills!!! We did find our way to the Mexican restaurant though and it was open and we had a very good lunch. By the time we got there though, it was already getting close to 2 p.m. and we had dinner reservations at 7:30. eat fast and then walk a lot so there's room for more food.

We continue skirting the hill and then we get to the place where we will either have to do a whole lot of stairs up these steep hills OR go down to almost the bottom of the hill and then back up on the correct street. We did see this coming but it never registers how tired you will be when you get to that last bit of steep hill climbing. So we chose the stairs precisely because we were tired and it was less walking, overall, and maybe marginally more steep as we would be doing stairs but still, less walking.

Finally we find our street and our hotel and have about enough time to go swimming but we made the mistake of lying down on the beds before putting on our swim suits and that was the end of that idea. Am pretty sure we walked over 10 miles today and maybe only 2 of it was on something that could be considered flat. OH, we did find a funicular to ride up and we did find a home brew shop where we tried some of their beers so good for us. (My hubby is a brew master. Has been brewing his own beer for over 40 years).

Off for dinner and the map seems very confusing suddenly but we give it a go and after a few wrong turns, we arrive at our restaurant for dinner. We had stopped here yesterday with our guide who helped us make the reservation for tonight for 7:30 and yet they seemed so confused to see us and didn't seem to have us in the books at all even using all the names we could come up with that they might be under. When we'd made the reservation, they even assigned us a table but when we got there tonight, they tried to give us a different table, one closer to the exit without a view. We just sat down where they had told us yesterday we would sit and there we stayed and I don't think they knew quite how to handle it. Well, they handled it like most restaurants - took another 20 minutes before we got menus. I don't seem to have near the patience I used to have for being in restaurants so I was about to leave when we got our menus. My hubby says I've never had much patience in restaurants and he should know. In the end, the food and wine were good, the view pretty good, the service not commendable for being such a fancy place and hard to get into, and then, as always in foreign countries, we became invisible when we wanted the bill/check and wanted to leave. Part of that is our US experience where restaurants are always handing you the bill before you've finished eating your main course so I always find it a bit hard to just sit there when I'd done eating and wait.

Being how it was dark now and we'd gotten lost on our way here, we asked them to get us a taxi. I wandered in and out of a few shops while waiting when a car pulls up and parks in the "NO PARKING" zone and a man hops out and heads into the restaurant. He is back outside in a minute and walks up to us and says he's our taxi. I believe he must have been someones friend or relative. Keeping the business in the family as much as possible but it was a set price to take us back to our hotel so we didn't get a ride all over Valparaiso while he jacked up the price so that was fine.

All that walking and a nice dinner and good wine, didn't take us long to fall asleep. Tomorrow to Easter Island. The entire trip started as a jaunt to Easter Island and everything else just got added on to the trip. Hence is why we have been flying hither, thither, and yon all over Chile and Argentina. Not sure when we will get back so just trying to do as much as possible.

Posted by carpefeline 17:00 Archived in Chile Tagged churches hills murals chile graffiti valparaiso feline funiculars capre

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