Day 34. Valparaiso Marisco
Our original plan today consisted of getting up early to catch a bus tour to Valparaiso, a city an hour west of Santiago on the coast. Well, we woke up too late to ever make that appointment; however, we found out that the tours were on hold due to the recent earthquake and tsunami warnings. Regardless, we had until 11:30pm to do what we could before our next trip.
Although the tour buses weren’t going to the coast, there were still normal buses going as usual. We first asked one local where the bus station was so we could get to Valparaiso. He gave us his directions which brought us nowhere. We continued to ask other pedestrians causing us to walk and backtrack and walk more with no success. Finally, we got the directions we needed, hopped on the metro and walked right into the bus station.
We purchased our roundtrip bus tickets for 6,000 Chilean pesos (about $12). The bus left within 5 minutes of us buying the tickets. About an hour and half later we started dropping into the city. The city was very hilly and green with palm trees. The houses were built on the sides of the hills resembling steps.
We got a taxi to take us to the ocean. As far as I can tell, Valparaiso’s coast is the main commercial port for Chile while Vina Del Mar, a neighboring city just north of Valparaiso, is where the sandy beaches and vacation hotels are.
We got on the tram that took us from the shore to the top of the hill. While on top we were able to get some great views and photos of the city and Pacific Ocean. Walking a little ways, we found a restaurant that looked like it was barely hanging on to the hill. We chose to eat there and try their marisco (seafood).
We got back on the bus to return to Santiago to pick up our belongings. After we had our bags, we went to a different bus station for our next 17-hour overnight trip to Antofagasta. For this bus trip, we had premium class which met our seats folded into flat “beds”. As bus beds will never be as good as a normal twin size mattress, the premium seats were a decent upgrade for a long trip. Crazy story, the guy sitting next to me saw my blood card, and so he asked if we were Witnesses. It turned out he was too so we talked for a long time. Small world.Google+