Streets of Valparaiso
Beach in Vina del Mar
While we relaxed quietly on the beach enjoying the sun, an English couple sitting only 20 feet away from us had their bag nicked when only turning their back for a second. Two "blimey jovenes" (as Gill affectionately called them - rocking her Spanglish) had been scouting everyone around us, and thankfully Pete had tied a strap of our backpack to his belt loop. Luckily, a Chilean woman close to us saw the whole thing and called the police. They were onsite within minutes. The bag and all it's contents were recovered - the police telling the couple that they didn't want them "to go away with a bad impression of Chile!" Perhaps these cops should talk to cops in Edmonton - I still have a bad impression of that trashy city after our vehicle was broken in to this summer!
The next day started off with errand running - or at least, an attempt at it. I am now oh-for-two in trying to cash a traveller's cheque in this country, thank goodness there are bank machines on every corner. The rest of the afternoon saw us ambling some more around the quaint neighbourhoods surrounding our hostel, and also included a good lengthy siesta for me! Our evening saw a little more action - one of the staff at our hostel invited us to a CD release party for a local band he was managing. They were really good! A four piece band who played a mix of jazz and rock, I urge you to check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/anicetodelpuerto
Our last day in Valpo was one of my favourite days since leaving Canada. After waiting too long to join a tour group leaving our hostel for a vineyard and other sightseeing, we decided to do it ourselves! Our hostel staff arranged for a car rental and a winery tour, and the three of us were off on our own. Pete enjoyed being behind the wheel again (and the fact that the speed limit is higher here!) and we found our way around the area without too much trouble.
We stopped at the small fishing village of Quintay for a leisurely lunch on the beach, watching fisherman bring in their small boats and sort through their catch from that morning.
Gill, Pete and I at Playa Chica
Overall, it was just an incredible day, exploring lesser known spots on our own - spots that haven't been spoiled by being on the tourist path.
Off to Santiago Saturday morning, which is a complete contrast to so many things we have seen so far...it is large, very modern, clean, like many a city in North America! Lots to see and do...but that will be saved for the next post...