Down to Valpo

We’ve heard all sorts of great things about Valpara√≠so, so it was definitely on our list of places to see.

We set out south from the beach at Ritoque and it didn’t take long before we started seeing condos and high-rises. We stopped for lunch in Con Con, which is mostly a strip of condos climbing the hill along the beachfront. Even though the place seemed a bit more upscale than our usual stops, Red Beard still got it’s usual welcome from the local dogs.

South from here, things don’t change much. condo-condo-restaurant. condo-condo-restaurant. As predicable as Fred Flintstone running though his living room. It’s all ‘nice’ and sanitized, but a little boring.

Vina del Mar was even more tidy. It reminded me a little bit of San Diego. A few kilometers south to Valpo and things start to look a little more interesting.

If the California comparisons are in order, then Valparaiso must be San Francisco (but a tad grittier: maybe closer to Oakland). There has even been a huge trading connection between the two cities since the gold rush, and a pretty similar history too.

Soggy, but colorful wooden Victorians sliding down the foggy hillsides. Seedy sailors and wide-eyed tourists wandering the town. San Francisco has cable cars – Valpo has funiculars. Cold rocky Pacific coastline. Wine country a short ride away. I could go on.

Our first day was spent trying to figure out our way around in the rain. Not recommended. Once you turn up a hill, you’re committed to the whole climb. We slipped and slid and spun out on wet cobblestones all the way up the steep hills. The bus did great.


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