While not officially on the agenda, we decided to take the long bus ride from Mendoza through the Andes to arrive in Valparaíso. It is such a different experience than neighbor Argentina!
Heading through customs and immigration, they micro-reviewed our luggage, hijacking our cheese and fruit. As a huge exporter it makes sense, I guess, but our honey from Uganda (the best honey I’ve ever had!) was no threat to their industry. Alas it is gone.
We did pass by ski areas that are crazy high, and look like they never get snow. The stark beauty was impressive.
We arrived at our hotel just after a glowing review in The NY Times - very interesting place. Made of shipping containers it had a nice vibe and stellar views over Valparaíso harbor, and they make their own wine! (I think everyone in Chile makes wine 😊)
What makes Valpo so special is the surreal amount of high quality street art. We walked for days and never ceased to be amazed by the city canvas. A walking tour was a must to understand some of the meaning and players behind the behind the works.
We also were able to visit poet Pablo Neruda house, La Sebastiana, an impressive one high on the hills with a view of the city and harbor. A beautiful place and a fascinating story - we bought several of his books and have thoroughly enjoyed his work.
Otherwise it seems like the city has some sadness - maybe just the comparison between the uber-friendliness of Argentina vs. the more reserved Chileans? The time of the year? It is hard to say…we did take a day trip to Viña del Mar, a bit up the coast from Valparaíso - apparently the vacation spot for wealthy Santiagans. It seemed a bit more upbeat but still subdued, despite a fabulous lunch experience…