Before experiencing the great country of Chile, for me, it was just a country I had to pass through to get to Argentina.
During the pre trip research, Chile didn’t seem to offer that much, or seem as exciting as its neighbours like Peru, Bolivia or Brazil.
It turned out I was wrong of course. So wrong.
Now, if I had to choose a country in this continent to live in for an extended time, I would say Chile in a heartbeat. Without having to think much.
A land of great scenic diversity, you get flat vast deserts to lovely beaches to amazing glacier wonderlands.
Santiago, the capital, also boasted having one of the better public transportation on this trip. Trains arrived frequently, I felt there were more order, more structure here.
And, I have to say Chile had the best grapes I have tasted, what not to love 🙂
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
I recall embracing the warmth once we crossed over to Chile. The cold in the Bolivian dessert was really pushing it.
The nearest city was San Pedro De Atacama, which was close to the vast Chilean dessert and the popular Valle de la Luna and geysers.
A nice stop over for travellers too needing a break and some quietness.
Spent a few days here, the houses were short and streets were brown. Sunsets were lovely, with the warm breeze.
I recall walking past this girl and she called out to me, and asked if I was on this tour in Alice Springs Australia.
What a coincidence that we both were in the same tour many months back in another continent of the world and now, we crossed each other’s path in this very city at the very same moment.
I didn’t take any pictures of San Pedro while I was there, so the ones here were grabbed off the net 🙂
I liked Santiago. Things felt like they were more in order, they had a mix of new and old architecture. People were friendly. They had more range of daily food products to choose from. Trains came every few minutes. People still took their time, playing chess on sidewalks. And they had the amazing mighty Andes mountain surrounding the city.
Commercial bank downtown – reminded me of Harry Potter
Enjoying their afternoon round of chess
Grabbed this photo off the net.
The day when I went to this lookout spot point, the weather was foggy throughout the entire day. Bummer. How I wished I knew or seen what was lying beyond the cityscape.
Come on a clear day and this is your treat.
Such beauty, such an amazing view really. A city, yet having mountains to surround it 🙂
Visited the famous central fish market. They had an amazing empanada place beside this central market where you could only stand to eat. But it was such awesome empanadas 🙂
Visited their national library. Loved their old elevator trolleys 🙂
I’m glad I visited this lovely seaside commercial port town.
Back in its hay-days 1800s, Valpa was rich city as traders on their ships used Valpa as their rest stop before heading up north to gold-town California.
With the opening of Panama Canal, which proved to be a more convenient port, Valpa’s economy slowly stopped flourishing.
Still, much of it’s past vibrancy, street art and architecture can still be seen and thoroughly enjoyed for its visitors.
About 2 hours away from Santiago, this sleepy town makes it perfect for a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of Santiago.
Being a coastal town near the ring of fire, Valpa has suffered some natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis etc.
I wished such things don’t exist in this world.
An old school trolley bus operating since 1952! Still going.
Valpa has a few of these funiculars running to this day as well. Also called ascensores.
It is hilly in certain parts of Valpa and because of the slopes, many parts are not easily accessible. These funiculars help to connect different parts for the locals.
I think this was the Ascensor Concepción, the first funicular in Valpa operated by steam, which opened in 1883.
View from my funicular
I really loved this part of Valpa.
Winding streets and lovely paintings at each turn, on each building, I was especially taken by this painting. Wonder if it’s still there.
I recall each street being vibrantly painted, some had little coffee stops and white chairs to sit on to enjoy people watching and the sunset.
Famous Chilean’s completos
The beaches of Valpa.
Dulce de leche, in a bun. Oh lala.
I loved this version. Similar to Colombia’s sweet caramel. Soft, creamy. Reminded me of coconut jam.
Sorry again Argentina, but I liked both Colombia and Valpa’s versions much better.
To this day, I really still enjoy thinking back on the times in Chile.
It wasn’t anything dynamic compared to all the sights in Peru or Bolivia, granted I skipped Patagonia as I was not ready for the cold and another long ass bus ride.
My time there just felt a bit like a place I wouldn’t mind living in for an extended time, a bit like my rest stop, where I find more structure and order, and mountains and seaside towns.
I really enjoyed the simple things like walking down the streets in Santiago, enjoying the grapes, visiting Valpa on a nice sunny day and wished I had more time and energy for Patagonia.
Well, you just have to leave something to come back to again.
See you again Chile, someday soon hopefully 🙂