“Valparaiso, how absurd you are,
you haven’t combed your hair,
you’ve never had time to get dressed,
life has always surprised you.”
This is how Neruda described this colourful port town. The legislative capital of Chile and a UNESCO world heritage site, it supplied wheat to the adventurers of the California gold rush and was the first South American port of call for ships passing around Cape Horn. At one point home mainly to sailors, ship builders and prostitutes, this town has edge. We took a walking tour to enjoy the colourful buildings and street art. Ready?
Some revolutionary b&w’s:
Of course all this walking gave us an appetite and we settled in for a gorgeous el fresco lunch with a view of the ocean. My sesame-crusted seared tuna with polenta and passionfruit tasted as good as it looked.
Vina del Mar
Although the “Vineyard by the Sea” is right next door to Valparaiso, this resort town for wealthy Santiaguinos could not be more different. Where Valparaiso feels like walking into a colouring book, Vina del Mar is luxurious shades of white. We had a lovely drive and stopped at the beach whose waves were big enough to attract surfers and some of our group dipped their toes in the chilly ocean. With its condos and hotels along the shore, a casino, a long beach and a lovely promenade, it reminded me of San Sebastian in northern Spain.
Rapa Nui (Easter Island), is famous for its 7 identical Moai statuary which exactly face sunset during the Spring Equinox and have their backs to the sunrise during the Autumn Equinox. Although 3,500 kms off shore, Easter Island is a Chilean holding. Considered part of the Valparaiso Region, the Museo Fonck in Vina del Mar houses a small but authentic Moai statue.
Best from the west coast,