A Travellerspoint blog

Chile

Moais and Birdmen

Giant Heads

We have set up two days of touring. As everyone on the island - tourists that is - all go to the same place, we've joined a group to tour the Moais. So we are the second pickup the first day and then drive around to many other hotels picking up one or two people or small groups. Shows us there are a lot of hotels around and a lot looking far more interesting than ours and in better locations although ours isn't terrible.

Finally we are away to the first site and when we get there, the driver turns off the engine and Helen, our tour guide, stands in the open doorway and delivers a small lecture on the place we are visiting, first in English and then in Spanish. I have no idea if this is true when someone is in a country where the main language is English and they are waiting for the translation in their language but when I am waiting for the English translation, it always seems like they speak for 4 or 5 minutes in Spanish (or French, or Hungarian, or whatever) and then about a minute, if we're lucky, in English. Not sure if every other language has to take more words to say the same thing or if the translators just don't know the same explanation in English. I can say that it was getting very hot in the bus while we waiting for her to finish. She did this at each stop, alternating between speaking Spanish first and then English first. I so wanted to just get out of the bus and stand in the shade. Have to say that my blood has thinned out from living in England and the heat drives me crazy now (says the lady who is going to retire in Florida!).

We are finally out of the bus and going to see our first Moais. How exciting. Each location we will visit is part of their National Park System so we have a ticket that must be shown to get past the barriers. My hubby is in charge of the tickets. In the two days, we visited the main sites of the main Moais and birdmen. There are other sites as the island is ringed with them. Most of the sites are in ruins but the ones that are so prevalent in photos and the largest ones have been reconstructed. they are all amazing. Should we ever get back there, we'll rent a car and get a map and just head out to the places on our own and hit all of them.

The Moais were burial sites for important people, usually the rich and usually the chiefs of a tribe or family. One Moai for one burial. Moais face inward, away from the sea, as the important people had power or manna and facing towards their village would help give the people protection. The first ones weren't very large and then they started getting bigger and bigger and taller and taller. There are many theories on how they moved the stones from the quarry to wherever it was place but the largest ones are still in the quarry, never having been finished or never having been moved. The eyes were the last part of the statue that was put in place - after it had been put on it's pedestal or in it's hole in the ground. Putting in the eyes would imbue the Moai with the spirit of the person who was buried at its feet or underneath it and start the protection.

The top knot - or the red stone on some of the Moais - had a separate quarry. This is not a hat. It is a hair style with many of the Rapa Nui still wear today. My dive master had long enough hair to do a top knot but mostly he wore his hair in a man bun. Not many statues have top knots, only a small proportion of then. These Moais and these top knots weigh tons.

Birdmen came later than the Moais and involved finding an egg. The birdman competition involved repelling over a steep cliff on the island and swimming out to the third islet from the mainland (maybe 1000 yards) Then the men must find the first egg of the sooty tern which traveled there in the spring. He then had to swim back to the mainland, climb back up the cliff, and present the egg to the village in which case he would be rewarded with being in charge and also getting 7 women to be his wives. The wives-to-be spent the month before the competition living in an underground cave so their skin would get whiter. During the competition, anything goes so you might have the egg but your competitors would be trying to steal it from you. Trying to steal the egg might include you getting brained on the head with a rock or cudgel. Contestants in this contest were risking life and limb just to physically handle the challenge, not to mention trying to keep their fellow competitors from killing them. This competition went on into modern times before it was phased out. Now they do re-enactments.

Some of the sites we visited were ruins, as I mentioned. some had the remnants of village longhouses, some had the giant heads toppled over and almost covered by the dirt and grass, and a few were just some stones remaining. Of course, the most impressive sites are the reconstructed ones where you had many Moais standing at attention and giving their protection to the land.

We visited the quarry for the stone heads and there are hundreds there. Some are still attached to the rock walls. Others are scattered haphazardly over the hills and some have fallen or have been prepared for being moved down the hill and never got any further. It was magnificent to walk among these giant heads.

Only one location, our last, had 7 Moais that look towards Polynesia in honor of the ancestors that came to Easter Island and settled. They are the only Moais that look away from the land and out to sea. And there are no burials under these 7 Moais because they were not for protection and not for the manna that they could give.

We also learned that there is no harbor on Easter Island. There is one beach which we visited but even there, you must be careful as the waves crash into shore. Container boats bringing cars, trucks, construction materias, etc. sit offshore until the wind and waves die down enough to send barges out to the ships to unload. The airport is the best way in and out of Easter Island and we noticed it has a very, very long runway. It was built also as an emergency runway for the Space Shuttle. So the island has interesting history and culture at every turn. I've abbreviated everything to cover a couple of days at once. As stated earlier in the blog, Easter Island was the reason for this trip and everything else was just added on gravy. Supposedly it is one of the most remote islands in the world so not cheap to get there but well worth the trip and so very glad we took it. Of course, we now have a small Moai at our house, facing inward for protection, although nothing is buried underneath it. Fantastic place - Easter Island.

Posted by carpefeline 17:00 Archived in Chile Tagged island chile heads volcanic giant easter protection moais polynesia feline carpe burials birdmen sooty tern manna Comments (0)

Scuba Diving on Easter Island on Easter Sunday

diving

How cool is that! Not something that I had planned but it just worked out that way. We had been driving back to Santiago for our flight, which is about 6 hours long, and gotten into Easter Island yesterday. Our guide took us for a short drive through Hanga Roa before taking us to our hotel which was one block up and across the street from the airport. Not the best of locations because it was a little over a mile into town - not that it was a large town but nothing but breakfast at our hotel.

We had one extra day on this trip and added it to Easter Island because I wanted to dive. There is a large Moai statue that has been sunk into the waters off Hanga Roa. No, it's not a real one but one made out of concrete and cement just to put in the water for the divers. So that was my purpose, to go see the underwater Moai. I had attempted to contact several diving companies on the island before hand and had never received a reply so I had my tour company set up the diving. There had been a lot of back and forths between us as she didn't want me to end up going with beginners and be bored but I don't like to swim so I didn't want to go with super advanced divers and have to swim a lot. So it was set up and my hubby, who is also a diver but on restriction at the moment, would get to go to the museum. I thought it would be a wash but in the end, he had a much better time than me.

I had not brought any of my dive gear with me because of weight issues with the airplanes and luggage. always a mistake as rental dive gear never works out well for me. I am dropped off at the dive shop where my divemaster is waiting, a small RapuNui man with hair in a top knot as is their tradition. He doesn't speak a whole lot of English but we can understand each other for the most part because we are talking diving. he is busy gathering gear for me. I had to try of a couple of wet suits to find one that fits and then while he is loading tanks into his truck, I am searching through the stacks for fins and a mask that will work. No snorkels anywhere and I always use a snorkel. Oh well. Usually I am very good on air consumption so shouldn't need to snorkel necessarily. Unfortunately, he did not stock dive lights though and I had brought my dive camera but not a light. That means I won't get any good photos. Bummer. No underwater Moai and no good photos.

He asks me how much weight I will need and I look in my dive log and tell him. He puts the weight in the truck. I am starting to put on the wet suit and he tells me to wait. I ask him where we will dive and say I want to see the Moai. He says no, and points at the sea which is bashing itself against the rocks where we are and says the Moai is right out there and cannot go out there today, too rough. well, I do agree with that but huge bummer. That was the reason I was diving!

Then it suddenly hit me that no one else was here so I asked him if I was the only diver - why yes I am. wow. personalized service for sure. So the truck is finally loaded with our gear and we hop in and he drives into town, around a couple of corners and pulls into a driveway and I'm looking all over for a boat and the water but we've come to a house. He hops out and goes and talks to the lady hanging clothes on the line and then back from the house and down to the main street of town. He is halfway down the street when he stops and talks to someone coming the other direction. I have no idea what he is doing. I do know he is not speaking Spanish. He and his friends are speaking their native tongue - RapaNui language.

We turn around and go back to the house were we had just left and pull into the driveway again. The man he was talking to on the street is there and pulling out a gas tank and putting it in the truck. Oh yes, well, fuel is definitely good. But then we go back to the main street and he pulls into a store that is open (remember, it is Easter Sunday) and comes out with bottled water and some cookies which I don't eat (only because I didn't like the kind he bought). Oh well, more for him. Then finally we are away to past the airport, past our hotel, past several places where I can see Moais in the distance, and finally we are on the other side of the island and pulling down a small dirt road to a small marina where there are four boats in a shelter from the waves. He backs up his truck to unload the gear and tanks (we have two tanks each). I start to put on my wet suit and again, he tells me to wait.

Of course, he goes over and gets the smallest boat from the line and brings it over to our side of the marina and starts loading it which includes putting in the gas tank and priming the engine and making sure it works. Now, I can put on my wet suit. All ready to go diving and we go putt putting out of the small marina and we are climbing the rollers. There are some big-ass waves out here but they are long waves so even though they are 4-5' tall, there is a large trough between each wave so we don't have a problem moving between them and we get far enough away from shore that it seems they are smaller. Easter Island does not have a reef so the waves just pound away at the shore all around the island. So the closer to shore, the closer the waves get to each other, I think. Not a wave dynamic person.

We are out far enough and my divemaster puts on his mask and upends himself over the side of the boat. If I were just to see him from a distance, would have though for sure he was barfing. In actuality, he was looking for where he wanted to anchor the boat. So he wasn't on the spot yet so he kept going a few feet and then look into the water again, another few feet, look again. Finally found his spot and dropped anchor and we got ready to dive. had to put on my weight belt first which is another reason why I prefer my gear as my weights are in my B.C. which I like better but oh well. I'm all ready to go and wait for him. Of course, it takes him about a minute to put on all his gear and then we do a back flip over the side and into the water. YIKES but it is cold. Then my wet suit warms up and I am OK. There is a bit of a current so I am hanging onto the boat. He comes around and we go to the anchor line and he makes the motion for descend.

041617122757 two outrigger kayakers

041617122757 two outrigger kayakers

041617120858 view of backside of easter island from the sea

041617120858 view of backside of easter island from the sea

041617120706 view of backside of easter island from the sea

041617120706 view of backside of easter island from the sea

041617120652 waves crashing on shore

041617120652 waves crashing on shore

041617113800 Diving Easter Island  fish

041617113800 Diving Easter Island fish

041617112554 lobster Diving Easter Island

041617112554 lobster Diving Easter Island

041617110024 views of easter island from the boat

041617110024 views of easter island from the boat

041617105850 waves crashing the shore

041617105850 waves crashing the shore


Dang nab it. I told him how much weight I needed but he didn't believe me. I am quite fluffy and marshmallow like or cork like and bob up and down in the water really well. SO, of course, I didn't have enough weight and for once, the divemaster had not brought any extra weights with him so I was struggling a bit to get all the air out of my BC so I could descend. I was going to kip over and just dive because that will usually give me enough of a kick to get down and then the pressure helps but the divemaster came over and grabbed me by the hand and just dragged me down. Nice that such little people can be so strong!

We are down but I am getting battered about by the surge. We are down about 30' and there is still a surge. Divemaster motions to me to hold onto one of the large lava rocks there and he has to go move the anchor which is tangled in something. I am having to hold on with both hands to keep from being swept off by the surge. I did come back with some nice new huge bruises on my legs and arms. He comes back and motions me to follow and I'm really having a hard time doing that. Finally he grabs me by the hand and pulls me around this pile of rocks and deeper where the surge isn't quite as strong. We are deeper and he goes searching for some large rocks which he stuffs into my BC pockets. whew, now I am weighted enough to be able to control my buoyancy with putting air into and out of my B.C.

We swim around for awhile and there are some nice fish, a really nice lobster, and some trumpet fish and a few little fish but not a whole lot. No coral, no anemones, no sponges, just mostly rocks. Time to head back to the boat and he indicates I should follow. We have swam much further away from the boat that I would have liked and we are in a surge again. So I swim hard to stay in place then let the surge take me towards the boat. This is a lot of work and I hate to work at my diving. It takes us maybe 15 minutes to get close enough to the boat that I can see the anchor line. I go to it to do my 3 minutes safety stop and now we are in the waves so I am bounding up and down the line. There is a limit to where you are supposed to stay for your safety stop and I am barely managing to stay in it as the waves and surge are throwing me all over the place. My poor dive computer is shooting up into the yellow and almost red and then down again to safety level. Not enjoying this at all but our 3 minutes are finally up and I got up the line towards the boat.
Once on the surface, I have to be careful that the waves don't smack my head into the boat and there is not a ladder. Divemaster does the graceful lift up and over the edge and is in the boat. He quickly strips off his gear and then I start handing him mine, weights first, then tank and BC and fins and then he just hauls me over the edge like a landed floppy fish. so inglorious. I hate getting on a boat like this but I am on the boat and out of the surge and waves. I sit there and think for a few minutes and then tell him it is OK to go back to the marina as I am done diving. that wasn't really a whole lot of fun and we really didn't see a whole lot so one dive is good.

He starts the motor and stops several times on the way in to shore to look over the side again and says he sees some sharks. Where were they when we were underwater?? Then back to the shore where I am useless as every time I try to help him unload something he tells me no, I don't have to do it. wow. he does ask me to take off the wet suit and I think he wanted me to take off more so I didn't get his truck seat wet but there wasn't anyway to do that so I just sat on my towel.

As I am waiting while he unloads and packs up, three ocean outrigger kayaks turn up in the small marina from their morning paddle about in the ocean. And then we are ready to go back to town where he will drop me off at the hotel since we drive right by it. I know my husband will be back from his tour. So in the end, he had a much better morning than me and saw some good stuff. I did get to dive Easter Island but no Moai, bad photos, fighting seasickness, and lots of bruises. And yes, diving is worth it overall.

The entire time we were on Easter Island, it was rather windy, so windy that the container ships were sitting offshore waiting for the wind to abate before they could off load their shipments. When I talked to one of the other dive shops, they said no one was diving! yep, what I thought. It was really too windy and wavy to be out there diving but I did get to do it, just didn't like it much.

Posted by carpefeline 17:00 Archived in Chile Tagged diving waves island chile lobster gear scuba underwater easter moais current feline carpe surge Comments (0)

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 Comments (0)

Santiago and Valparaiso

Our guide and driver fetched us this morning for a drive around Santiago and dropping off downtown to wander the streets and look at the buildings and such. Santiago is another capital city and we enjoyed being there but one day was enough for us. Our guide pointed out various parks and restaurants to us, as if we could remember them or how to get to them later. We walked through the main parts of the city, saw the Cathedral, map of the early city in bronze, some statues (both of heroes and modern art), the President's Palace, the museums, the juice sellers, the shoe shine men, bicycle rental, and shopping streets, and a protest. Towards the end of our tour, we were close to our hotel and she showed us how to get to the night life area. We'll go over there for dinner, we think. Then finally up the hill that overlooks the city and she turned us "loose" in the park to look at the plants. hmmm. a bit odd and off as we had 15 minutes to wander a whole park and look at it's botanical wonders. ah well. it was hot so not a problem.

Back to our hotel and goodbye to the guide and we set off immediately for some lunch. To get lunch, we walked back to the downtown area which wasn't far from us and then just wandered around for a bit. Touts were trying to entice people into small arcades and malls to get people to eat at their restaurants and it was lunchtime so some places had lines out the doors. We wandered into one small arcade and saw a small hole in the wall restaurant selling chicken and rice. They didn't speak a lick of English but just started serving us as it was a set meal. Might well have been one of the best meals we had on the entire trip and it was certainly one of the cheapest. If you don't die at "holes in the walls", then you will have excellent food.

041217223443 Santiago

041217223443 Santiago

041217223333 Santiago

041217223333 Santiago

041217223319 Santiago

041217223319 Santiago

041217222656 Santiago

041217222656 Santiago

041217222633 Santiago

041217222633 Santiago

041217222551 Santiago

041217222551 Santiago

041217222523 Santiago

041217222523 Santiago

041217222106 Santiago

041217222106 Santiago

041217222012 Santiago

041217222012 Santiago

041217221248 Santiago

041217221248 Santiago


Then we went to the cultural museum which was quite good. Spent quite a bit of time in there wandering the floors and displays. I actually read most of the signs which most of the time, I'm sitting on the bench close to the exit of a room while my hubby reads all of the signs. Then back out on the street, past the Presidential Palace again, past the protest area but the protesters are gone, past the shoe shine men and to our hotel. We had used this place for a laundry stop and it had already been returned so packing up again for a short trip to Valparaiso tomorrow for a couple of days. Yep, too much travelling, not enough time in some places, too much time in others.

NOTE: for the photos. The dog photo is a street dogs of which they have many. Some group or several people go around the give the dogs coats to wear. not sure the dogs like them because it can get really hot there but there you have it. Street dogs with yellow and camo coats.

Out for dinner and we tried to find the restaurant that she had recommended but we could not so ended up going into a mall of restaurants and tourist shops but also many locals were there and found a pizza place. We always try pizza in every country we visit. We weren't impressed with the pizza in Buenos Aires but the pizza in Santiago was good. Yum. Thought we'd get a dessert but the ice cream place was closed so we went around the corner to get a McDonald's ice cream cone but it was packed with a longer line than anywhere else. Walked back to the hotel and spied an ice cream place just down the street so we got some that was probably much, much better than McDonald's.

In the morning, we are retrieved around 10 for the drive to Valparaiso. We only have a driver and our route will take us back past the airport, through the Casablanca area which is rich in vineyards and wineries. Poor hubby sleeps through most of it. Something about moving cars just lulls him to sleep. Valparaiso is a port city and over a few hills but not far from Santiago and is often where Santiagans go for a weekend retreat. Valparaiso is all hills, quite steep hills, many steep hills, and then the bay and port.

Most of Valparaiso is also one way streets because they are narrow and steep. So our driver winds his way up the hills and out of the port section and down various one way streets until he comes to a small dead end street and our boutique hotel is at the end of this street. This was one of the nicest places we stayed. Casa Higuruas was an old mansion that has been turned into a beautiful hotel with incredible views of the city and the hills and the bay. I think where were 4 or 5 floors. The reception is on the floor where you drive up then one or two floors above that for the guest rooms and then two floors below it for the living room, dining room, and spa and further down for the small swimming pool. Just lovely.

Since we were there a bit early, we didn't have a room ready yet so we sat in the living room and looked around and caught up with emails. It occurred to me at this point that on our return from Easter Island next week, we have one night stay in Santiago before we leave early the next morning for home. It also occurred to me that it was going to be incredibly stupid and tiring to fly into Santiago - drive into the city for one night at the same hotel that we just left and didn't like - then get picked up about 5 a.m. for the drive back to the airport for our flight home. I started contacting our SouthAmerica.travel agent for a change of venue. Surely Santiago has an airport hotel and it would make so much more sense to stay there for the overnight and plane change.

Our room is ready quickly and we discover there is an elevator/lift but it will only fit luggage or 2 people, not both. We walk up the stairs and the porter hauls our luggage up the stairs. I would have sent it in the elevator. Our room is lovely with a view of the city which is very, very colorful. Part of what makes people visit Valparaiso is the murals/graffiti. At some point, people started doing graffiti on building walls and then it became the "thing" to do. A lot of it is gang signs and taggers but there is some incredible artwork on the walls of buildings too. Valparaiso is a very conflicted city with amazing buildings and such next to dumps and deserted and derelict areas.

041417191706 ascensior or funicular

041417191706 ascensior or funicular

041417173747 mural or graffitti on side of building

041417173747 mural or graffitti on side of building

041417173323 ascensior or funicular

041417173323 ascensior or funicular

041417164110 graffitti

041417164110 graffitti

041417163112 view of higher city - we're about halfway up hill

041417163112 view of higher city - we're about halfway up hill

Lunch in the hotel and then our guide comes for our tour. Another facet of Valparaiso are the funiculars. At one point there were over 30 I think she said. Some are quite short but steep and they are all rather cheap, just a few hundred pesos to ride - the equivalent of less than $1 U.S., sometimes less than 50 cents. But like many things, a lot of funiculars have fallen into disrepair and been deserted and boarded over. The city leaders have realised now that these funiculars are also popular with the tourists so there are plans to re-open many of them and fix them up to use again. I am sure that the citizens of the city will appreciate this because those hills are sooooo steep.

Our guide takes us round to many of the murals that are by famous artists, she points out the different neighbourhoods, and takes us by some of the famous buildings - unfortunately now many in disrepair - and we ride up one funicular to an beautiful overlook of the city where the Esmeralda has come into port, a large sailing vessel on which each Chilean Naval Officer must take a training cruise. off in the distance is an aircraft carrier too. We have a lively discussion on whether it is or not but there's no ship with that kind of silhouette so i'm right. Then we drive to the neighbouring city which is where the rich people moved after it got too crowded in Valparaiso, Vina del Mar. Yep, many lovely homes and neighborhoods but also a sea lion "rock" with dozens of sea lions just right off the main drive.

Finally back in time to walk around our neighborhood and find a good place to eat dinner, besides the hotel although our hotel here had quite good food without being as froo-froo as some of the other places we have stayed.

Posted by carpefeline 17:00 Archived in Chile Tagged hills murals chile del santiago mar graffiti vineyards valparaiso casablanca steep viña feline carpe funiculars Comments (0)

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