The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rapa Nui Blog, Part 2: Valparaíso

So at the end of my day in Santiago I headed for the coastal towns of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. I spent two nights here, in the beautiful new Sheraton Miramar in Viña del Mar. The towns are right next to each other and hug the coast, about 1.5 hours from Santiago on a beautiful drive through some of the Chilean wine country.

I didn’t see much of Viña del Mar, really, other than my hotel and a large floral clock (which, impressively, had a second hand). My primary destination was Valparaíso, a historic town and “UNESCO World Heritage Sight” that is said to be infinitely more beautiful than Santiago. It is absolutely true.

I arrived at the Miramar in time to watch the sun set from my balcony. The hotel is quite literally on the ocean, and check out that cool pool! (as always, you can click on any photo to enlarge):

I had room service that night, but I avoided the “Paultry” entrée in favor of something more hearty:

The hotel had glass elevators, right down to the doors; Willy Wonka would be proud. But it scared the hell out of me every time I turned the corner to the elevator bank and thought I was walking right into the shaft!:

Heading out, here is the nearest beach (Playa Caleta Abarca) to the hotel:

Of course Valparaíso is a sea-faring town, with a large naval presence. The Chileans won a decisive naval victory over the Peruvians in the 19th Century (the War of the Pacific) and still talk about it. It’s a little funny. But here is a pretty naval building:

There’s a monument nearby guarded by two naval officers. You can tell that they were getting a little bored of posing for tourists:

But the main attraction in Valparaíso is Valparaíso itself. The town is on steep hills that lead down to the sea. There are elevators called ascensors that take people up the hills. Many of these were built in the 19th century and are still in operation. So the best thing to do is to take various ascensors up the hills and then wander down through the old crooked streets among houses that are painted a riot of bright colors. So here are a few scenes:

I must say that the Chileans are very nice and charming, Here are a few people who hammed it up for my camera, so they get an honorable mention:

Mmm…candy… (paraguas de dulce):

Finally, back at my hotel for another sunset. There was a colony of pelicans nearby. It was amazing to watch these giant birds swoop just inches over the water as they looked for fish:

A few parting shots:

It’s nice to see goth kids let themselves go for a day at the beach:

I was a little disturbed when I got up at dawn on the day I left to discover that the pool—which I’d swam in the night before—became a seagull party at night:

Finally, the dogs…I have no idea why, but there were dogs sleeping all over Valparaíso! They just sleep all day in the middle of everything. They seem well kept so I assume they have homes…it’s just so strange that they all chose to sleep out in the open! So I call this little montage THE SLEEPING DOGS OF VALPARAISO:

Next stop, Patagonia…


  • Looks great, Dougie- Glad you're having a great time and making friends with the locals.

    ps- uhocyxnk: Russian Pawn Shop Owner

    By Blogger Colleen, at 8:54 AM  

  • tri77 (blog)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:12 PM  

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