Time to get off the couch and head to Valparaiso.
It’s extremely easy to get there from Santiago – around 2 hours door to door. We jumped on the metro to Los Pajaritos with our trusty Bip cards (Chile’s Oyster card), then a bus (TurBus 3000 Chilean pesos ~£3.60) to Valparaiso’s central station. From there, a collectivo (270 pesos) took us to Plaza Sotomayor.
Luckily it was a beautiful, sunny day in Valparaiso. We had a couple hours before our LAST walking tour of our trip. So we hiked up the hilly streets to find a snack, admiring all the amazing street art and eclectic mix of buildings. The empanda place was called Taller de pasteles and they were tasty, more like artesanal steak bridies!
Then to find hostel Casa Fisher, which proved quite tricky. Up and down steps and colourful back alleys. Pasaje Gálvez is a graffiti full street that is above the hostel.
Obviously we started to crave a beer (especially since it was so sunny!), so we necked some Escudo tinnys before the walking tour at a place called Salagubang.
Time for the walking tour! The Tours4Tips guides wear ‘Where’s Wally’ outfits, it’s hilarious and our guide was called Yasna.
This bohemian seaside town was never officially founded, it got its name from Juan de Saavedra who arrived from Valparaiso de Arriba in Spain in 1536. The town boomed during the gold rush of 1848 in the States. The Panama Canal didn’t exist so everybody heading to California stopped at Valparaiso. It used to be the biggest port of South America.
At the port, you can take a ‘lancha’ (a small boat) and take a wee half an hour tour (for 3000 pesos) and see the town from a different angle.
The boom only lasted around 100 years until the canal opened, but in that time the variety of settlers that passed through meant that the mix of architecture is impressive. You look left and it looks like a building in Madrid, right and you’re in Paris, look up and there’s a seaside house straight out of Brighton.
Sadly, Valparisio decayed for a long time until it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. Since then, the town has built itself up again and lives off tourism. It also has 42 hills! They all have names and residents are very protective of their own hill, each believing their’s is the best!
We learnt that Valparisio was the first place in Latin America to achieve various things such as: a treasury, a post office, a photostudio, a Protestant church, and a fire station. The town is actually very fire prone e.g. the biggest was in 2014. It took over 9 hills and 2 weeks to put out 2000 homes out. Firefighters are volunteers and due to cowboy electricity, small paths, and strong winds it can be hard work!
During the tour we were taken from the plaza to the port, then up a funicular to overlook the city. Yasna pointed out some famous graffiti artists’ work, especially along Cerro Concepción. Many large, cool murals were created during Valparaiso’s 2013 graffiti festival.
Towards the end of the tour we were rewarded with chocolatey treats called Alfajores from the creator himself, Don Sergio! (We we given them for free, but they normally cost just 250 pesos).
After a rest at our hostel, it was dinner time! Cumming street has loads of great restaurants, bars, and clubs, so we went there to a restaurant called Altamira. We wanted to try Chorrillana, a traditional Chilean dish (and it didn’t disappoint, just look how happy I am in the photo below).
For dessert, we swung by a bar called Mi Casa and had pisco sours. The place was decorated with lingerie, I definitely spotted some of Tiff’s up there!
Back to the hostel with very full stomachs and straight to bed. However, that never goes to plan for me, after getting caught in conversation with a Uruguayan in the hostel I ended up heading out for a drink with some Valpo locals.
We headed to Liberty Bar for some beers and terremotos and live music. The people watching was phenomenal! At one point a scuffle outside caused the bar lady to march to the door with a wooden bamboo bat followed by her entourage. Not the usual way bouncers deal with things! My evening ended with eating a huge burger with avocado (the summer bod is definitely on the way out).
Up fairly early before a hangover had the chance to set in. Fuelled by the hostel breakfast we set off on our own personal walking tour, up windy streets and avoiding dead-ends by meeting locals. We’re very good at it!
The tour started at the ‘open air museum’, a series of murals in a concentrated area. The art is beautiful, but it wasn’t as big an area as expected. However, from there we stumbled across our favourite street art, along a small alley called Atahualpa.
Then it started to rain, boo! So, we headed back down and took shelter in Entre Cerros café. A quaint little place where the waiter can be found with his pet budgie on his shoulder!
One last snack at Delicia Express before heading to Santiago. They have over 80 varieties of Empanadas and I’ve no doubt all of them are delicious. Freshly made in front of you with your ingredients of choice, we actually preferred these to the previous place! A yummy end to a cool couple of days.