Our R&R today was a trip to the colorful port city of Valparaiso that came to be from people journeying around Cape Horn on their way north to the gold rush in California. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is somewhat of a curse since it makes renovations to the site prohibitively expensive. The charm is in the artful murals everywhere and the colorful and haphazard buildings perched on the steep slope coming up from sea level. We enjoyed a three hour walking tour with interesting info from a young lady from the area. She mentioned that government does not support fire departments. The firefighters are all volunteer. They raise money for equipment with bingos, raffles, etc from community support. Hard to get my head around that!
After the tour we were taken along the coast/resort areas. We had lunch at a place that someone had recommended to Marc. Four people split one dish that was a huge mound of fries,onions, sausage smoked meat, ,..I think some cheese may have been in there too. Of course it was topped off with fried eggs in typical Chilean fashion. It was agreed that if one would have this morethan once they would need a cardiologist on retainer!
After lunch we continued down the coast. We saw where the very wealthy Chileans hang out after a week of seeing where the more numerous poverty stricken people live. We stopped at a spot to watch a colony of sea lions hanging out on a high rocky island. Very cool! Upon arriving in Santiago the driver dropped us at a fabulous craft market. Lots of great crafts and entertainment! We "metroed" back to our neighborhood. I headed back to pack while the others picked up some last souvenirs in the Bario Bella Vista area. We met downstairs for beer and snacks before saying our goodbyes.
The team goes biking tomorrow then catches the red eye to JFK. I head out to Punta Arenas.