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Valparaiso (13-16/10/2018)

Mendoza (Argentina) to Valparaiso (Chile) over the Andes - 8 hours  (not 6hr16min!) by bus including about an hour for Chilean customs formalities.

Mendoza (Argentina) to Valparaiso (Chile) over the Andes - 8 hours (not 6hr16min!) by bus including about an hour for Chilean customs formalities.

(All photos of the scenery were taken through the bus windows! Quite clear considering ...)

Mendoza to Valparaiso over the Andes

We left Mendoza (Argentina) on the bus for Chile at 0930 under blue skies and sun, and about 29° - a pleasant change after the cold and wet evening before, plus it meant there was snow on the mountains we could see from the bus station.  The journey took us across the Andes from Argentina to Chile - it has to be one of the most impressive journeys ever!   The scenery was absolutely amazing with the snow-capped mountains, the river valleys, and the different colours of the rocks against the blue sky!!  And then suddenly, after about 3 hours (of the hopefully only 8-hour journey) the weather changed, and we could see a storm ahead - and the next minute we were in the middle of a snow blizzard - incredible!  We could hardly see the Chile border control - but of course all had to get out and go through passport control and and their rigorous customs processes (all luggage off the bus and passed through scanners, sniffer dog...) - it took ages (about an hour) - in the freezing cold!  By the time we got back on the bus, the snow had settled and we were practically in a whiteout - and the road was descending by hair-pin bends!! We descended slowly and finally the sun returned for the rest of the journey and we arrived on time in Valparaiso.

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes15

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes15

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - with old railway bridge

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - with old railway bridge


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - oops, weather does not look too good up front!

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - oops, weather does not look too good up front!


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorating

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorating


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated!

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - weather deteriorated!


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Sierra Finches (or similar?) at Chilean border

Sierra Finches (or similar?) at Chilean border

Sierra Finch (or similar?) at Chilean border

Sierra Finch (or similar?) at Chilean border

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - Los Penitentes Chilean border (in snow)

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm


Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm- hairpin bends - no barriers!

Mendoza to Chile across the Andes - after Chilean border in snow storm- hairpin bends - no barriers!


Mendoza to Valparaiso - down from the mountains in Chile - they are planting vines right up into the hills

Mendoza to Valparaiso - down from the mountains in Chile - they are planting vines right up into the hills

Valparaiso

Valparaiso (pop.300000) sprawls over a crescent of forty two hills that rear up out of the Pacific Ocean. It became a key port in the days when there was no Panama canal and the boats between Europe and the west coast of America had to round Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. The opening of the Panama canal and a variety of other factors lead to its decline. However, since being declared a world heritage site its fortunes are reviving and attracting investment and much work is being done to renovate the historical centre and buildings, and build new galleries - and a lot of the centre of town really looks as though it needs it! The city is still an important naval base and is now the cultural capital of Chile.

Sunrise 0630 Sunset 2030 Temps Min 13 °C Max 24 °C sunny

Yellow House and Cerro Artilleria

Our accommodation was right the other side of town from the bus-station, up in the hills in Cerro Artilleria. We were happy to take a taxi (about 10 euros) which dropped us on the road nearby, and after some searching and help from a local, we found the Yellow House. It was quite a mixture of a place to stay - funny bedroom with 3 beds and little room for anything else, the only shared bathroom this trip (happily no-one else was staying on our floor), spectacular views from our bedroom, fair 'included' breakfast and a little expensive for what it was (but Valparaiso seems more expensive for accommodation). Pleasant young German student working there who helped us with info and was good fun and interesting to chat to.

Very close to the Yellow House, the Ascensor Artilleria is one of many funiculars taking people up to the cerros (hills). From the top there is a superb panoramic view along the coast from the container port and harbour directly below to Vina del Mar and the dunes at Concon, as well of the hills behind.

Of course, the position means that going out anywhere required negotiating a steep path/steps or taking the Ascensor. Once at the bottom there is a choice of continuing on foot the 10-15 minutes into the centre (through a bit of a risky area at night), and the historic trolley bus service, or collectivos (small buses) for longer journeys.

Yellow House (entrance)

Yellow House (entrance)

The Yellow House - Breakfast

The Yellow House - Breakfast

Yellow House dining room windows

Yellow House dining room windows

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Yellow House - view from bedroom window

Ascensor up to Cerro Artilleria

Ascensor up to Cerro Artilleria

Ascensor down from Cerro Artilleria

Ascensor down from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria


View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria

View from Cerro Artilleria


Steps down for Serro Artilleria

Steps down for Serro Artilleria

Steps down from Cerro Artilleria

Steps down from Cerro Artilleria

view from Cerro Artilleria at night

view from Cerro Artilleria at night

Downtown and trolley bus ride

Much of the central area of the town is pretty run down with many derelict buildings, but the main Sotomayer square with the Admiralty building and adjoining the small harbour area, is attractive. Further north, Plaza Victoria is also a pleasant square with trees. Otherwise, it is necessary to get up into the hills to enjoy the best of Valpo.

Taking the trolley bus on a round trip is a good way to get an introduction to the Valparaiso, particularly as the trolley buses are an important part of Valparaiso's heritage. More than half of the fleet dates from the early 1950's - the old ones being of Swiss origin. As the service runs from just below our Ascensor right through to the bus station at the other end of town, we used it to do our initial scenic tour and for getting around generally. Its cheap too at about 30 eurocents a journey!

Swiss built 1950's trolley bus

Swiss built 1950's trolley bus

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town


Trolley bus interior - quite plush seats!

Trolley bus interior - quite plush seats!

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town


Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Trolley bus around Valparaiso town

Plaza Sotomayer and harbour

Next to the Plaza Sotomayor, the small harbour area has some picturesque boats which are used for short tours around the harbour. There are also a number of souvenir shops and a helpful/useful tourist office.

After hanging around for some time, resisting attempts of the go-betweens to extract inflated prices for 'personal' tours, we took the short harbour tour - there were good views from the sea back into the hills behind, two or three naval boats and a large container ship being loaded, and the opportunity to get close to several basking sealions.

Plaza Sotomayor

Plaza Sotomayor

Statue in Plaza Sotomayer

Statue in Plaza Sotomayer

Harbour

Harbour

Harbour tour

Harbour tour

Harbour tour - view of Valpairaiso hills

Harbour tour - view of Valpairaiso hills

Harbour tour - container ship

Harbour tour - container ship

Harbour tour - Sealion (Female posing!)

Harbour tour - Sealion (Female posing!)

Harbour tour - Sealion (Male reflecting!)

Harbour tour - Sealion (Male reflecting!)

Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion

These barrios are in the hills behind the centre of Valpo are very attractive areas to walk around with fine architecture, buildings covered in colourful murals, etc

large_DSC05136.JPGReina Victoria funicular

Reina Victoria funicular

Reina Victoria funicular

Reina Victoria funicular

Cerro Concepcion

Cerro Concepcion

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion  cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Around the Alegre and Concepcion cerros

Local cuisine!

Found a very good (if rather run-down looking) empanada restaurant for lunch - Alan enjoyed the 'pina' empanada which we decided was Argentina's answer to a Cornish pasty, and I had the cheese and olives version - delicious!

A favourite dish of the Chileans is the Chorrillana - generally served for 2 it is basically comprised of chips, strips of meat, good quantities of onion and eggs! In the end we succumbed, and tried one on the last night at a classic old joint, bizarrely called Casino Social JJ Cruz, at the end of a seedy looking alley. That was the only dish they offer - but they did also make a good Pisco Sour (Chile's favourite cocktail drink) for the apero.

Famosa Empenada restaurant!

Famosa Empenada restaurant!

Empanadas

Empanadas

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Chorrillana - cholesterol special!

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Chorrillana - cholesterol special!

Casino Social JJ Cruz

Casino Social JJ Cruz

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Cat keeping eye on customers!

Casino Social JJ Cruz - Cat keeping eye on customers!

La Sebastiana

La Sebastiana was the home of Pablo Neruda, a very famous (in Chile) poet and diplomat. He chose it because it was quite unique and has a spectacular view over the whole of Valparaiso. He then did it up and furnished it to his own taste. We found out that we could get there from next to the bottom of our Ascensor by collectivo bus, using a route which takes a very bendy, sinuous route in the hills all the way. Collectivo drivers drive the whole time at breakneck speed so it was not a trip for taking leisurely photos out of the window!

Unfortunately, the house is currently covered in scaffolding and the 4th level bedroom is closed - so, as we had visited it 10 years ago when we first visited Valpo, we debated whether to bother this time. Anyway, we did go ahead and they provided us with audioguides (which we think are a new development since our previous visit) - and we enjoyed the visit - he was an interesting and talented man.

(Photos of the interior are not allowed)

Collectivo (bus) to La Sebastiana

Collectivo (bus) to La Sebastiana

La Sebastiana and scaffolding!

La Sebastiana and scaffolding!

La Sebastiana as it should look!,<br />- photo from our visit in 2008!

La Sebastiana as it should look!,
- photo from our visit in 2008!


La Sebastiana - View from top (5th) floor study

La Sebastiana - View from top (5th) floor study

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 1

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 1

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 2

Panoramic view from La Sebastiana 2

Area near La Sebastiana

Area near La Sebastiana

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Walking down from La Sebastiana, we arrived in the attractive Cello Bellavista area, where 27 well-known artists created many murals over quite a large area which is known as the 'Open Air Museum'. There is a map to help trace it from the tourist office.

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio - small supermercado!

Bellavista Barrio - small supermercado!

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Bellavista Barrio and 'Open Air Museum'

Vina del Mar outing

On our last afternoon, we took the metro north to the seaside resort of Vina del Mar. It is completely different from Valpo - very modern and seems more like a US town. There's a long stretch of beach to visit heading north from the town. The sea is VERY cold!

Vina del Mar at O'Higgins square

Vina del Mar at O'Higgins square

Vina del Mar behind beach

Vina del Mar behind beach

Vina del Mar main beach

Vina del Mar main beach

large_DSC05257.JPGVina del Mar - testing the water

Vina del Mar - testing the water

Vina del Mar - testing the water - glacial!

Vina del Mar - testing the water - glacial!

Vina del Mar - view north towards dunes at Concon

Vina del Mar - view north towards dunes at Concon

Pelicans at Portales (metro stop on way back from Vina del Mar)

Pelicans at Portales (metro stop on way back from Vina del Mar)

Posted by Lindseyalan73 15:17 Archived in Chile

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