“Amazing” Valparaiso!

Ok, we didn’t go to Valparaiso, Chile ONLY because they went there on Season 16 of The Amazing Race.  We also visited Valpo because it’s a close bus-ride from Santiago, because it’s a port city with a great night life and because… they went there on The Amazing Race.

I’m sorry!  But, The Amazing Race is my all-time favourite TV show.  In fact, it’s the only show I really care about watching regularly.  And when The Amazing Race went to Valpo, it looked so pretty and sunny and colourful that I just knew we had to go too.

Colourful steps in the Allegre Concepcion neighbourhood of Valparaiso

And, what do you know?  Valpo is just as pretty and sunny and colourful as it looks on TV!  We had a brilliant time wandering around looking at all the bright graffiti and street art and exploring the artsy little shops and galleries.  The weather was warm but not hot, the sun shone all day and on our first day in Valpo we were feeling pretty “amazing” ourselves!

Graffiti is culture... this is certainly true on the streets of Valpo!

Beautiful painting on the side of an old building

We were not feeling nearly so perky on our second day in Valpo as a result of a big night out with Peter, our new Danish friend, and a drink called vino con fruitilla, a way-too-easy-to-drink mix of red wine and strawberry puree.  Ouch.

With Peter at El Canario, a brilliant bar with live music and dangerous vino con fruitilla to drink!

Despite our sore heads, we hopped on the local bus to go see Pablo Neruda’s house in the hills above Valpo.  But, after sitting on the bus for over an hour, driving through a cloud of tear gas aimed at student protesters (tear gas HURTS, just in case you were wondering) and cruising along the highway, we accidentally found ourselves getting off the bus in Vina del Mar, the next town down the coast.  Oops!

Lovely views of the Pacific Ocean from the coastal walk in Vina del Mar

Vina del Mar was bright and shiny and we stayed long enough to walk along the coast, eat an enormous sandwich to ease the hangover and meet some 10 year old students who thought that because we are American we must know Justin Bieber (I just had to Google Justin Bieber to make sure I was spelling his name right… how embarrassing!)

Chilean hangover cure!

Back in Valpo we enjoyed a much quieter second night and a final day spent sitting in the sun and taking pictures around this lovely city.

Hi Mom!!

On the bus back to Santiago the next day I realised that we hadn’t really gone to see any of the places that the racers went to on The Amazing Race.  But, that was ok.  We made Valpo our own and had an “amazing” time!

Colourful houses in the hills above Valparaiso

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