Sunday, November 11, 2012

Valparaiso (Long weekend part 1)

Last weekend we went to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, as we mentioned.  We took the bus from Santiago after moving on Thursday afternoon, because it was a long weekend.  We went to Valparaiso first, where we stayed for Thursday night and most of the day on Friday.  Valpo, as Chileans call it, is quite hilly.  At the top of one of the hills, we encountered this weird sidewalk situation.  The sidewalk was very tall, at least up to my knees, but the "road" was so narrow that no way could anything except a skinny motorcycle drive through it.  Not sure what is up with that.

We think these decorations were related to the Day of the Dead celebrations:

 We walked around and found a beautiful viewpoint (mirador) over the water:

Then we went to dinner and I had delicious gnocchi with, among other things, avocado:

Sam had salad and a local Chilean beer that turned out to be quite tasty:

Let's get a closeup of that salad:

Our hostel was relatively nice, but breakfast was especially nice.  There was breakfast set out when we woke up, including chunks of fruit on toothpicks!  Much nicer than in our hostel in Mendoza, when we had to ask for breakfast and the hostel guy grudgingly went and got us some bread with nothing to put on it.  Here we had butter and jam:

There were so many power lines in Valpo, and they were all very messy:

Pretty buildings adjacent to one of the parks:

This weird sculpture reminded me of the tripods in the book The White Mountains.  Plus there's a great view of one of the hills in the background:

Along that main street, there was also a flea market sort of thing going on.  People say things like you can get anything there, but that's not really the best way to describe it.  You can get a really strange variety of stuff there, but most of the vendors are selling clothes or cheap junk or food.  Some of the more interesting things I saw were tail lights for cars:

and bathroom components, including toilets:

More pretty-colored buildings:

When we were there, there was also a graffiti festival going on.  Graffiti is a pretty big deal in Valpo, in the art sense, not in the vandalism sense.  We met a Swedish girl in our hostel and wandered around with her for the morning.  Here she is with Sam outside of one of the ascensores that take you up the hill.

There is a long tunnel you have to walk through, and it feels kind of dank.  I thought this was going to be more like a funicular, but when we got to the end it was actually just a regular elevator.  Here's the tunnel:

When you get to the top, you are actually in a tower and have this amazing view:

You can see all the pretty houses on the hill:

And this weird building with a square missing in the middle, plus notice that church in front of it, very pretty:

And when you look down, you can see a horizontal mural:

The point of taking the acensor up the hill was to then wander down the hill where all the graffiti artists were working as part of the festival.  Here is one working on something that looks like the tower we had just gotten out of:

You can see the actual tower in the background of this picture:

Here's the first woman artist we saw.  Most of the artists were men, but there were a few women:

Here's a better view of her thing.  I wish we had been there to see her do the eyelashes, they were so precise!

The one in the middle of this picture was probably my favorite.  

And here's a picture of me under what I termed the "quad-pod":

Not sure if this is the same church that we saw from the tower:

Some really pretty flowers that were for sale at a street stand:

The end for now!  Part 2 will be the next 2 days in Vina del Mar.

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