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  • Day8

    A walk through Valparaiso

    February 23, 2018 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Hills. So many hills. Did I say that there were lots of hills? Valparaiso is built into the side of series of hills. Everything is located either on a hill, or in valley. There are very, very few streets which go across the hills, so you typically have to walk down one hill, in order to walk up the next hill. Unfortunately, a two dimensional map does not give you any idea whether a street is uphill or downhill. So, when you set out towards a destination, you might find yourself having to go downhill, and then up hill, just to get across the hill. All of this is a long way of saying that there are a whole lot of hills, and sightseeing can give you a darn good workout.

    We started with a free tour with “Tours for Tips.” We used the same group in Santiago. The guides wear red and white stripped shirts, which have name tags saying “Wally,” which is apparently the the Chilean version of “Waldo” from the “Where’s Waldo” books that we liked when the kids were little. CJ, our guide, told us that he was into Metallica and WWE. A rather odd group of interests, but I’m sure that being personable increases the tips at the end. He led us around two of the hills in Valpo — Cerro Carcel (prison hill) and Cerro Miraflores. We learned about migration to Valpo, the growth of the city, and the history of street art in the town. As you walk around, you see graffiti (which is just a few lines), tags (which is a symbol for an artist) and murals. Some of the murals are small, but many of them are across the sides of multi-story buildings. The largest one is currently being painted, and it goes up the side of a 20 story building. We got to spend some time watching them paint it from a scaffolding. As you walk around, you begin to recognize certain artists. Apparently, some muralists travel across the globe, and others are more locally oriented. Between the murals, and the brightly colored houses, Valpo is a riot of color. And, when you add in the views of the hills, and the ocean, it is a total feast for the eyes.

    Speaking of feasts, we had our best meal yet. We asked our hotel for a recommendation, and they suggested a small restaurant called Apice. It was located close to our hotel, so not too many hills had to be traversed. Like the upscale restaurant in San Pedro, the chef offers two choices for each of three courses. And, we maximized our sampling options by choosing one to have everything on the menu. For the first course I had a turmeric ceviche. It was really more like a shrimp soup, with turmeric and it was quite tasty. Arie had scallops. I didn’t taste it, but he made happy sounds as he cleaned his dish, so apparently it was quite yummy. We both had rockfish for the main. Mine had a curry sauce and a side dish of rice with dried fruits. Arie’s was an Italian preparation, with a balsamic reduction and the creamiest polenta that I’ve ever eaten. For dessert we had a chocolate creme brulee with passionfruit sorbet, and caramelized peaches with a crumble and dulce de leche ice cream. We accompanied this with a lovely Chilean Pinot. Delightful.
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