Valparaiso Vina del Mar and ?

Santiago Travel Blog

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Heroes of Iquique Monument, Prat Square, Valparaiso

I’m tired tonight.  Had a very interesting day.  Before going out I lost yesterday’s blog into the ether so will use Word first, then copy and paste. 


Last night Jose said that he was going to Valparaiso today for Mothers Day and would I like a lift there.  Valparaiso was the one place that I knew that I wanted to visit outside Santiago so I was very pleased.  We left around 9:30 and dropped Luis off and then started for Valparaiso.  In Santiago there were people selling flowers everywhere and huge signs about Mothers Day, which is very important here.  There were two tollbooths on the way, each 2.

Heroes of Iquique Monument, Prat Square, Valparaiso
100 AUD4.75.  As there is no other road to V, you have no choice.  I offered to pay, but Jose wouldn’t let me.  We went in a tunnel through a mountain, which would have cost a lot of money. 


Jose dropped me off portside with his maps, notes of where to go etc.  First I walked around Prat Square where there is a monument (Heroes of the Naval Battle of Iquique) to sailors killed in some of the battles of the Pacific War of 1879.  Arturo Prat was a naval commander who was killed in the war.  The casualties of two of the battles are buried under the monument.  Usually you can go down into the vault but it was closed for maintenance.  In the Pacific War, Peru and Bolivia fought Chile, and Chile won.  Consequentially Peru lost some of its southern territory, including Iquique, and Bolivia lost its access to the sea.

Fire Station, Prat Square, Valparaiso


The fire station, Chilean Naval Building and Queen Victoria Hotel all front Prat square.


Then I walked around a bit and it was a very sad and dilapidated area and frequented by people who appeared to be very poor.  I didn’t feel very safe.  (I realized later that this was the area that Jose had said that I should avoid)   I went in a different direction and up an ascensor (funicular) to the Naval Museum area, which has one of the best views of Valparaiso. Return trip 500p AUD1.15.  Later I went back down the ascensor, up another one, (100p AUD.23) and then wandered back down through the residential area to the flat. Except for a small area on the flat near the coast, Valparaiso is very hilly. 


I planned to take a bus to Vina del Mar.

Queen Victor Hotel - Green Cross Pharmacy on ground floor. Prat Square, Valparaiso
  Just missed the bus marked Vina del Mar and waited for well over ½ an hour, but while there were many, many buses, they had different addresses on them.  Eventually I talked to the young guy who was ticking off the buses and found out that I could have caught any of the buses.  (Like nearly everyone, he didn’t speak English)  I didn’t mind waiting at the bus stop, as everything is an opportunity to experience something new.  I caught a bus to Vina, (370p AUD.85) which is about 10 minutes away.  I thought I knew when I got to Vina, however hardly anyone got off the bus, so I waited for the bus driver to announce that we had arrived, or for lots of people to get off the bus.  Then I realized that I must have missed the stop, so settled back to enjoy the ride. We went through residential areas, which were generally very poor, and the whole ride was a fascinating experience. The driver had loud music playing; mainly modern music like we play in Oz.  The bus itself was pretty shabby with torn covers on seats.  At one point a young guy got on the bus, selling sweets.
View from Naval Museum, Valparaiso
  At other points passengers got on where there were clearly marked signs saying that passengers could not get on or off the bus in that area. I’m not sure how long I was on the bus for, but it must have been the best part of an hour.  When finally we got to the end of the ride and the last couple of people got off, I asked the driver if he was going back to Valparaiso, figuring that I could just get off at Vina on the way back.  He was somewhat amazed at my question (didn’t speak English of course) and no, he wasn’t, but he pointed out the bus terminal to me.  I went there and had a rather confusing conversation with the lady at the ticket office, finally finding out that it was a train station.  Caught the train back to Vina 1.000p AUD2.31.  Impeccable train; except for the type of housing that we passed, I could have been on a new train in Oz.  People generally appeared more affluent than those on the bus.


Got off at Vina, but only looked around the shops a bit as it was getting late.

Going down ascensor, Naval Museum hill, Valparaiso
  Actually think that my unexpected bus ride was probably more interesting.  Caught train back to Valparaiso (700p AUD1.62), roughly twice the price of the bus, which explains the different clientele.  Bought chicken and avocado sandwich and diet soft drink (1.540p AUD3.56).  Caught 6:30 Tur Bus from V to Santiago.  (?p).  Got off at wrong stop (of course) but not a problem.  Caught Metro to station near Jose’s.


Some observations: 

Jose is a great host and very helpful.  Unit is very close to metro and city area.  Like many apartments and houses, has high fence around it and 24 hour security at front desk.  Jose has wifi which has been excellent for me.  Pickup from airport by Taxi Aeroriente (13,000 pesos), can be arranged by Jose.

View back to Naval Museum ascensor, Valparaiso


Dogs still make me sad L.  Weather has been excellent.  Sunny t-shirt weather during day but cold at night.  I was wished happy Mothers Day by more than one person.  Buses charge 130p for students and 150p for private school students.  I like Chilean red wine. 


Things I’m glad that I brought:  Laptop, facewasher, little led light for next to bed, clothesline with suction caps.





aussie_judy says:
Judy here - glad you made it OK. Have followed blog so far, although your site didn;t like me to start with. Look forward to the next installment!!!
Posted on: May 11, 2008
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Heroes of Iquique Monument, Prat S…
Heroes of Iquique Monument, Prat …
Heroes of Iquique Monument, Prat S…
Heroes of Iquique Monument, Prat …
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Fire Station, Prat Square, Valpar…
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Queen Victor Hotel - Green Cross …
View from Naval Museum, Valparaiso
View from Naval Museum, Valparaiso
Going down ascensor, Naval Museum …
Going down ascensor, Naval Museum…
View back to Naval Museum ascensor…
View back to Naval Museum ascenso…
Chilean Navy, Prat Square, Valpara…
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Hills of Valparaiso
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photo by: Bluetraveler