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Entries about hills

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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