Country Chile | Date May 26 | Accommodation Valparaíso day trip from Santiago
My sister went to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar years ago and my mom didn’t want to do a ton of traipsing, so we did a Valparaíso day trip. Obviously, if I was alone I would have done the organized tour but gotta be flexible. Our guide kind of spoke English, kind of not (my sister translated all complex subjects, including unwritten historical details about a controversial war with Bolivia & Peru that no one in the US knows of).
We stopped first at a local spot to have some dessert and sweet wine, then drove through some outlying towns including a copper mining town. After, we were looking at a llama outside and I was obsessed with him and got close. He chewed sweetly at me through the fence, then suddenly spit all over my head and body!
Back in the car, our guide pointed out the “propaganda” billboard for this home goods store, Sonimac. Not clear if he meant “advertisement.”
We continued to the Casablanca wine valley area, seeing all the vines and vineyards nestled at the base of the valley mountains. We stopped at a tourist-focused wine market slash grocery store, where we sampled several varieties at a lame tasting. A large man performed a casual poem recitation in translation, of a poem written on the back of his family vineyards’ wine bottle. He probably did this recitation at least 200x per day.
The Valparaíso portion of our Valparaíso day trip started off shakily; the view was not as expected. We were dropped in the hills, on a road boasting Pablo Neruda’s house. “Who is Pablo Neruda,” my mom asked. I then stepped in dog poop by accident and was ostracized for not remaining vigilant. Luckily, we then went down to a cuter area lined in cobblestone streets with so much graffiti and street art I didn’t know what to do!
Viña del Mar
We then went to Viña del Mar, where we were forced to dine in a restaurant in a castle. The facade looked amazing, but the food was vile. We ordered very little, paying way too much for it, and the waiter hated us. An obvious tourist conspiracy, the bus drivers all forced us to go there, then ate together in a side room. I mistakenly entered the kitchen rather than the bathroom. “Wasn’t it great?” our guide asked. “Yes,” we lied.
Our explorations of Viña del Mar included a drive along the coast, with stops to look at the beach and the amazing huge rocks along the coastline, as well as sea lions that Sarah communicated with flapping her arms and yelling “arf” in a disturbing way. Also there was one rock that was black and white and our driver informed us was called “Michael Jackson.” Not necessary.