“Bohemian” is the exact word to describe Valparaiso. While Santiago is like someone who works 8-5 in a cubicle, goes home, makes dinner, watches TV, goes to sleep, and occasionally goes out for drinks with friends on a Saturday night, Valparaiso is like a heavily tattooed rock star who lives on nothing but drugs, booze, women, and goes to the occasional rehab session.
It’s got character in spades.
I could have gotten a bus from Mendoza to Valparaiso but in my final act of travel idiocy (no, actually, there was one more later), I failed to ask first before buying a ticket from Mendoza to Santiago. I had read somewhere that a bus from Mendoza to Valparaiso was about 13 hours vs 7 to Santiago but that is inaccurate. Both destinations take about 7 hours from Mendoza. Had I had known, I’d have just gone straight to Valpa first and spent more time there.
Being one of Chile’s main ports for commercial and military ships, it’s common to see something like this everyday at the docks.
One of my favorite parts about Valparaiso is taking their old (1900s old) funiculars for 100 pesos. They have several spread out across parts of town for people to travel up to the hill-top areas. I don’t have a good picture of the funiculars but here’s one of the many colorful stairways that adorn Valpa.
There’s a popular Chilean food called “Chorillana” but it’s basically fries with bits of cooked beef and sausage, topped with a fried egg. I did enjoy some “anticucho” bbq with my hosts of my homestay, which is basically bbq-ed skewers comprised of beef hearts, chicken, veggies, onions.
But damn it, do I love “Empanadas”. They have them everywhere. The best place to get them is apparently “Empanadas Famosas”. I had the “pino” (bits of meat and onions), “napolitano” (tomatoes, ham), and “jamon con queso” (ham and cheese). You can get them baked (horno) or fried (frita).
Be sure to check my photo gallery for more pictures of vibrant Valparaiso. Certainly one of my favorites of all my travels. A great way to end my South America journey.