Boho dog land and Santiago.. hot stuff in Chile !
Puerto Montt Travel Blog› entry 17 of 31 › view all entries
Hola chicos, short update this time as we have just arrived in Buenos Aires and our hostel room is not ready yet so I have some time to get more up to date whilst sitting here being smelly ( just got off a night bus .. again !!) so where were we.. ah yes...Chile...
So, we arrived in Valparaiso after a really bad nights journey on the night bus, I woke about 4am with a dodgy stomach, and even though the buses have toilets, the conductors make a point of going through the carriage to let you know " NO SOLIDS !!" well, i was pretty sure that with the state of my bowels, nothing solid was going to pass, but at any rate i did not want to risk it, so was waiting to get to the bus terminal ! Well, we got in about 5.30 am, in the dark, with NOTHING open, everything was locked up and nowhere for us ( or more specfically, ME to "go !) as it was bloody cold we waited in the closed bus terminal until the sun came up as we did not fancy walking across town in the dark with our packs ( may as well have a big neon sign saying " tired , Naieve tourist here.. please rob me !") then as still nothing was open we decided to move off and find our recommended hostel ( hostel colours). So we set off and were shortly accompanied by the ubiquitious stray dog trotting along with us, he was soon joined by about 5 of his mates who also came along with us acting as out "doggy escort" for the entire 2-3 km trek to the hostel. Best of all was that they would bark and chase off any other pedestrians on the road at that time, but loved us :-) Doggy Bodyguards ! but we eventually lost them to a man with a kebab, and so headed on up the hill to the bohemian district in which we were staying. As I mentioined before, we had a hostel booked and an address, but could we find it, and after about 2 hrs of walking and searching, my lower intestines were about to liquidize and we were getting mightly pissed off ! Luckily, a nice lady leaned out of a window and asked us if we needed a room, so we quickly accepted and checked in to a lovely old building with wooden floors, high ceilings right in the middle of the bohemian quarter and surrounded by fancy bars, cafes and boutiques ! ( and it had a loo !!! yay ) - incidentally, we did eventually find our planned hostel, there were no signs, but we found a open doorway to a house, if you went in and up one flight of stairs, there was another door and this was the hostel.. obvious really..
So all sorted out and settled in we went to explore bohemian Valparaiso ! Its a great town ( if you can ignore the dog shit literally coating the pavements like some kind of faecal guilding) full of ranshackle old buildings, cobbled streets that go no where, fantastic views etc.. it was great to walk around, and in the evening we caught the end of a street festival ( bit poor really) but was fun to watch a dance troop do belly dancing and some acrobats do their thing on the "unprotected hard concrete", but as much as I tried to distract them, there were no fatalities.. sigh. This is pretty much what we did for a couple of days, cafe culture, street culture , aimless wandering and enjoying the sacenery. There is a big "outdoor museum" here on one of the hilltops ( accessed by the famous funicular railway systems!) that we saw involving lots of walking to see huge street murels ( I guess thats how its spelt, otherwise we would be looking at huge old ladies called Muriel in the streets , and that would be just silly). The only problem encounted really was that a lot of stuff is closed in Chile on a monday so finding food was not the simplest ( also this is not a cheap town) but a pizza and microbrewery did us proud ! Highlights of the day.. H saw a whole bunch of sailors in uniform at the docks, and I got told off for looking at the guidebook in the street by a well meaning but stern lady who said we looked like tourists with the guide out and would get robbed ! - i thought NO SHIT WE LOOK LIKE TOURISTS ! i am 2 foot taller than anyone else on the street and H has paler skin than an albino !! I don't think the book makes a blind bit of difference !!
Anyhoo, the next day we were on a bus out of there to visit the capital city.. SANTIAGO.. the whales vagina.....after an uneventful journey, and a inauspicious arrival ( no stunning vista here like for La Paz) we trotted up the sweltering streets to find our hostel, which, luckily for us turned out to be one of the best Hostels we have had the whole trip, cheap as chips, relaxed and with all the amenites one would need ( internet, kitchen etc..). It was an american run place, but he was away and had left it in charge of a long term resident called Smiley from Amsterdam.. so as you can guess, it was pretty chilled out... from here we set out for the next few days of exploring Santiago. Its a great city, there is not so any things to see culturally, but it has a really nice feel, both H & I thought this would be a good place to live rather than visit !
We did quite a bit in Santiago, mostly wandering the streets, finding the different barrios and sampling what they had to offer. The weather was amazingly hot and you really had to hide inside mid afternoon and adopt the latino timescales ! We did a bit of shopping ( mostly looking for contact lenses and a new top for H, but it was happily punctuated with plenty of stop offs for me at dunkin doughnuts, schoppdog ( excellent fast food place, 2 beers for the price of one and hot dogs !! yay) so we were both happy, especially when we drunkenly staggerd onto the night bus home with no cash or ticket.. but the driver didn't seem to mind :-). The next few days were spent between sightseeing ( for example we went to the Concha y toro winery.. they are the biggest producer of wine in Chile, famous for Gato Negro ( the cheap shit) and Castillio del Diablo), trying to change some flight details ( don't get me started, i was close to killing someone after speaking to about 9 different people in 4 countries to sort this !)and going out.. the best of which was on valentines day. H and I went out to a new Barrio called bella vista, had an excellent afternoon in an easter island themed restaurant, complete with big heads and a dance troop and band.. returning drunkenly back to the hostel to be invited out dancing! this was especially fun as the table next to us in the club was a lovely chilean lady who was celebrating her birthday and was a total anglophile, so it was union jacks and policemen helmets salsaing the night away !! great fun !
Suprisingly enough, the next day was not so busy :-) hangovercentral, but our lovely hostel did not have a check out time so that was helpful. We had ( earlier in the week) booked ourselves on to a ferry into Patagonia so had to travel south on another night bus this evening ( never a good plan with a hangover) , and late in the afternoon, H had some bad news that made us start to rethink the next part of trip, but we decided at least to jump the bus south, with the intention to catch the ferry.