Valparaíso, Chile Tuesday January 17, 2017

After a fitful sleep at we woke up and went to breakfast. Unfortunately the room had no air conditioning and it was quite warm outside. We left the windows open so that we could have a breeze, but the gulls were always squawking! In addition, there was a park below with lots of people hanging out late into the night!

Here is another view of the hotel. Our room is on the third floor of the building on the upper left by the arched window.

This is a picture of the outside of the restaurant where we had dinner last night and breakfast this morning.

Off we went with JP, and Maxima our driver in our Peugeot van. Valparaíso is so colorful!

I am used to signs showing evacuation routes from super highways due to snow closures. This was the first time I saw a sign for a Tsunami escape route.

Houses were built anywhere there was a place to support a house. Even though Chile has lots of earthquakes, there are not many deaths, due to the strict construction guidelines.

The sun was blinding here. JP and Steve are shielding their eyes from the glare.

JP was into crazy poses. I’m not really into them, and don’t do crazy well, but I am a good sport. Here we are anyway at the famous floral clock doing a crazy pose.

We are now in Viña Del Mar, it is known for its beautiful gardens. It is within the Valparaíso region, and is Chile’s fourth largest city. The chef at the hotel last night called Valparaíso the San Francisco of the third world!

Here we are, on the Promenade. It is early, so not many people are out and about.

Here is JP pointing toward Valparaiso.

Here is the other direction, toward Con Con.

Here is the Casino, as I don’t gamble and it was early in the morning; we didn’t go inside. Plus the men in tuxedos, and the women in gowns and fine jewelry are probably still asleep, so there would be nothing to look at and report on!

We continue our stroll along the Promenade like the two love birds that we are. I smartly suggested we remove our dorky hats for the picture. See that white shirt I am wearing? Well, I will leave it in the hotel tomorrow by mistake and not ever see it again!

Ah, some energetic joggers. The rock in the background is called the “Michael Jackson” rock as it started out black. #imjustrepeatingthejoke

Above the u shaped rocks, there were seals playing. They were fun to watch jumping and diving into the water. That is Valparaíso in the background.

Here are Steve and JP watching the seals. Maxima, our driver, is keeping an eye on me!

We depart the beach with JP and Steve looking for babes in bikinis.

Let’s go into the park Vina Del Mar which was named after Jose Francisco Delvarga.

This is an old house across the street from the park. This is what many of the houses looked like when the city was founded. Now it is mostly skyscrapers.

They host many concerts here. Preparations were underway for a concert in two weeks.

Inside the concert arena.

We could not understand this sculpture hanging down from the rooftop of the amphitheater.

We continued our walk in the park and examined many of the old specimen trees.

JP was very upset that so many of the tree limbs had to be cut down due to the rot that the old tree had.

This is a photo of the house where Senor Delvarga lived.

You can see damage from the earthquake that is being repaired.

We depart Vina Del Mar and all its flowers.

We go to the Mueso La Sebastiana next. fundacionneruda.org This was the home of the Nobel wining Chilean poet, statesman and womanizer Pablo Neruda.

Neruda’s home had charming views of Valparaíso. He loved to get together with friends, especially on New Year’s Eve when the bay lit up with fireworks. During the summer at our house in Lake George, I am always running up and down our deck looking at the fireworks over the lake. I am easily entertained.

The colorful house from below.

Here we are in a normal pose.

We left the museum as the crowds began to gather.

Mural of a young boy fishing.

The houses are all a mishmash of styles. JP told us that a number of the houses are built right on top of each other, so it can be difficult finding the right address!

Panoramic view of Valparaíso.

I spy something.

The murals have many different themes.

Many of the murals were commissioned by business people or the city.

I found this one creepy.

All through the neighborhoods were murals.

To get to our restaurant Maxima had to back the van up a narrow street. Well, it was that or back up after he dropped us off. I think he wanted to impress us. He did!

Lunch was at Maralegre, (maralegre.cl) located in the boutique hotel Casa Higueres. casahigueres.cl

Steve and I were pretty hot and tired from all the walking around in the sun. It was nice to take some ibuprofen and not be on our feet. Steve has felt a sore throat for the past few days. I think it’s all the smog. We shall see when we get to Easter Island as there won’t be any smog there!

Here I am equally happy, this vacation has been so wonderful!

My view over Steve’s shoulder.

A closeup shows a house with earthquake damage, or ready for renovation or both!

We were offered tomato berry watermelon gazpacho to start. I drank Steve’s as he doesn’t care for tomato juice, or fruits. It really helped to cool me off.

Fresh rolls and butter, much better than stale rolls! As the lunch went on the butter melted completely in the hot sun.

Salad was greens with cheese, thinly sliced pear and quail eggs.

I ate half before the waiter brought out the dressing!

Steve had a Pisco Sour, I had an Aperol Spritz.

We were offered a palate cleanser of apple anise ice. It was quite refreshing.

Steve had the tagliatelle, sun dried tomatoes, sage and almonds.

I had the wagyu beef, shrimp angel hair pasta with truffle oil. No I did not finish!

Before dessert I had Steve and I change seats, just like at my fancy candle lit dinner parties!

My new view.

The dessert was called chocolate vanilla or vanilla chocolate in Spanish!

The waiter poured hot chocolate on the mousse so it melted like a reverse volcano. This might be my Vulcan Hudson afterall!

More graffiti.

Steve with improper arm placement for my picture taking. I could however, ask him to move his arm at any time and he would do so. I just like to make fun of him!

This is called the English section. When the English immigrants came to Valparaíso they married the Spanish aristocracy and stayed in this area. They were considered of higher status because they were English. The Germans moved to the Lake District. These homes were painted pastels: blues, purples, whites and greens.

A panoramic view of the port.

We could see four cranes constantly moving containers.

Here I made JP and Steve do a crazy pose.

This house was in very bad shape, but it had an amazing view.

Graffiti and laundry hung out upstairs to dry.

The main square. There was an artisan market under the canopies.

Because the city is a UNESCO site the original outsides of buildings are protected. You must keep the outer facade protected, but can erect a modern building inside! The result is bizarre.

A tomb in honor of the naval war heroes that died in a battle in 1879 against Peru. It is continually protected by a sailor, who you can see on the left of the statute wearing dark pants and a white shirt.

#thisiswhyitakethepictures

Have you ever ridden on a funicular in Valparaíso? Come along.

First you met the previous riders of the funicular.

Our car enters the station.

Enter brunette bombshell. Steve keeps his eyes properly elevated. When he is married to a bombshell like me, what more does he need?

We are off! Higher we shall go.

Still higher.

We finally reach the top and exit and it returns to the hotel.

After our ascent in the funicular, we walked to our hotel. hotelpalacioastoreca.cl I was delighted to find that our hotel was just across the street! We asked JP if he would be our guest for dinner tonight. First Steve and I were going to go for a swim at the hotel.

We wanted to soak in the wood fired hot tub, but the fire was out and the water was cold.

Instead we went for a swim in the indoor pool at the hotel and I tried to stand in front of the water jets. I wish the pool was a little bit warmer.

We went back to the room and while we were changing we heard sirens going off. We weren’t sure if it was pre warning for an earthquake or a fire in the hotel. We were in hysterics trying to decide if it was better to run out of the room naked, or to put your clothes on first. By the time we put our clothes on the second set of sirens was over. Phew!

We went to dinner at the little restaurant across the park from our hotel. The place where the all night revelers held court!

Steve was his usually happy self at dinner. He only gets grumpy in the morning after he has had a bad night’s sleep. Then, once he gets his coffee he is good to go. I must admit that whenever I say or do something I shouldn’t,he gets disappointed in me. Of course, that rarely happens. Ha Ha! Well, maybe once a month. Would you believe week? Okay, maybe I misbehave once a day, but then it is an accident!

I must admit that I find Steve terribly handsome. When Scott Brown was running for the Senate seat in Massachusetts I said that I thought “Scott Brown is terribly handsome!”. Steve of course has never let me forget that. Every time he is on television Steve mentions my quote. I am lucky that Senator Brown was not re-elected. I think I have told this story several times already, but I never tire of it!

Forty years ago, I mentioned that I thought one of the male members at the gym was also good looking. Steve promptly replied ” I have seen a better head on a cabbage!” So now I generally keep my thoughts to myself!

Here is our waitress telling JP, “No, that is not available.” We could only choose from a third of the menu!

I ordered a blueberry Pisco sour. They also offered ginger, mint, or regular.

We had the salmon with potatoes and it looked disgusting. It was delicious. You might call it salmon with glop sauce!

Here is a view out my window in the restaurant.

Close up we can see that these people had a dinner party going on. How lovely!

For dessert I had the strawberry mousse. Of course I finished the whole thing! Unfortunately there was no chocolate anything or ice cream on the menu for Steve.

JP had apple pie for dessert. We had a nice discussion about politics and taxes. The previous mayor of Valparaiso was accused of corruption and the new mayor is only 31! He was elected because everyone thought he was too young to be corrupt!

In Chile there is income tax, property tax, and a 19% sales tax. All our extras at the hotels were billed in American dollars and we were exempt from sales tax on that. (Our hotels were all prepaid by our travel advisor.) The Chileans have free health care and there are many places for the homeless to live, so we rarely saw someone sleeping on the street. There were many people hustling at traffic intersections hawking goods, and people performing juggling for tips. The street artists and vendors pop up all over and the police are always asking for their permits. If you don’t have one, you say it is your first time, or that you didn’t know it was required, pack and then return ten minutes later.

What flavor Pisco Sour would you order?

What do you think about a 19% sales tax?

What looks better, your head or a cabbage?