I’m so excited to tell you all about my weekend in Valparaíso! I decided to take initiative and just go! Viña Del Mar and Valparaíso are the two most popular weekend getaways from Santiago. Unfortunately none of my friends were available to accompany me, so I flew solo for the weekend. As much as it would be nice to have a travel partner, I’m not going to sit around and wait for one to come along because life is too short!
I took a bus from one of the metro stations for about $6.50 USD. The ride was a comfortable 1.5 hours. I was a little overwhelmed by the city at first, it was clear that I needed to be on my guard. Valparaíso is a strange place. Through all the disarray and neglect it still has a certain charm. Valparaíso is loaded with pastel-colored houses as well as amazing street art.
I took a free walking tour dedicated to street art. I’ve always loved street art; it’s probably my favorite form of art. I can honestly say I didn’t know there was such depth to the street art world. I learned so much in 2 hours! We walked through the narrow streets, learning all about specific murals and their meanings, local crews and the various artistic styles. I learned that there are 3 types of graffiti –the first is tags, next is bombs (the outlined big bubble letters) and finally murals. People pay graffiti artists to paint murals on their buildings. There is a famous couple that lives in Valparaíso that has their work scattered all over the town. Each artist or crew has a distinct style so it is easy to distinguish who created it.
^^ These are tags. No one likes them, but this is where all great graffiti artists start
^^This was done by a famous crew -extremely difficult to do. It all comes together from the second floor of the building across the street.
^^ One of my favorites!
^^This painting is done by a guy known as "the father of Banksy" and its of the litte girl who used to live in this house
^^ This piece was done with 3 different types of spray paint caps. Up close you can't tell what it is...
^^ But farther away it becomes clear. This is done by a very famous and talented street artist (I forgot his name)
^^ The above mural personifies all of the Chilean slang words. It made sense when the guide explained them, but I can't explain them myself.
I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the tiny streets, taking in all of the colors and beauty. Walking through the city is so tiring. There are hills everywhere –like San Francisco. I spent about an hour looking for Escalera de Piano (the piano stairs) –I saw them online somewhere and was so excited to see them!
I ate dinner at La Fauna, a restaurant that I’d read wonderful reviews about. Unfortunately, the only thing that blew me away was the view. I think the fact that I don’t eat seafood contributed to my distaste in the food. As a result, I gave my leftovers to 2 stray dogs and a cat. They loved the food!
^^I was excited to see Barcelona's crappy beer Estrella on the menu ;)
The following day I woke up and continued to wander. I nearly broke my ankle walking down the street at one point, but I ain’t got time for broken ankles so I walked it off. I ate lunch at Samsara, a Thai restaurant recommended by a friend. The food was pricey but delicious. Afterwards, I walked all the way to the end of the city to take one of the rickety elevators to the top of the hill.
^^You could either exit the deck using the stairs or this awesome slide!
After collecting my luggage, I took a taxi to the other end of the city. I was in search of El Tren mas Lento del Mundo (the slowest train in the world). I read about it on some travel blog and wanted to check it out. I’m so glad I found it! It’s an old train car turned into a piano café! It was the coolest thing ever, and someone was playing the piano while I was there! Definitely one of my favorite stops on the trip.
^^ You can even pay to take piano lessons inside the train!
^^ As I was leaving, this stray friend decided he'd explore the train as well. He was of course welcomed!
I also enjoyed watching the seals sun themselves on a giant barge just off the coast. They were hilarious to watch; quite cranky folks if you ask me! They would roar at each other and then push each other off the barge. There were pelicans up top which made me smile and think of my grandma and grandpa.
Our guide asked the group why Chilean Spanish is the worst Spanish in the world, INSTANTLY I replied "You talk in slang, extremely fast, and you cut off the ends of words". -He was shocked and asked if I had already taken the tour before :P
The tour guide pointed out that even the best of the best street artists make mistakes. One of the murals had a person with 2 right hands.
Upon arriving to the hotel on my first day, my only other pair of pants (and favorite pair of yogas) ripped, creating a massive hole in the crotch.
^^ My chicken pad thai was contaminated with many tiny little shrimps. YUCK!!
^^ I caught this cat literally watching TV through the window!
^^I don't know why but I love this. I'm so curious!!
^^During dinner, I noticed there was a donkey on my table for no apparent reason.I concluded that I was seated at the ass table.
^^My hair has decided to go back to blonde apparently!!
Overall, it was an excellent weekend getaway!!