Puerto Varas, Peulla (northern patagonia)
November 18, 2022
When we arrived at our first hotel, it was a total dump. It was very old and needed updating, and the room could not have been any smaller. One of the bouncy twin beds literally had a six-inch walkway around it to get into the bathroom. The only electrical outlet was in the bathroom and so we had to charge our devices on the bathroom floor. The only redeeming quality was that it was clean. I could tell by the look on Robin’s face that there was no way she was going to spend three days in this dump. So, I immediately got online and miraculously we could get the next two nights at the Radisson on points. I barely slept at all at this crap hotel and then we woke at 6 AM and dragged our suitcases over to the Radisson where we dropped them off before we left on our all-day tour. It was a mad dash to get over there on time; unfortunately, we ended up being there an hour before anybody else. I don't know why they told us to be there at 7:30! We snuck into the dining room buffet at our new hotel and made ourselves something to eat and ate it out in the street.
November 19, 2022
I had the best night’s sleep last night of this entire trip. The hotel is quiet, the bed is comfortable, and I was just exhausted after yesterday. It was a pretty low-key day today. Actually, that's kind of a misnomer because we walked over 10 miles. We quickly exhausted the streets of the downtown area since there is not much to it. We were in search of a T-shirt for Robin but for some reason there are no souvenir stores.
November 20, 2022
We are in Santiago. Now we know why the guy on the boat said to us the other day when we asked him if he liked Santiago and he said, “not so much”. It's a huge city with people everywhere. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so damn hot. The temperature isn’t really that high, but the sun is so strong and I'm almost immediately getting overheated. This is our hotel from a more flattering angle.
EVERY menu on the entire trip could only be accessed by barcode. That is IF you can get a signal. We would have to ask for the wi-fi password (some didn't even have wi-fi), then pull up the menu, then run it through Google Translate. It was a time-consuming process. This particular restaurant didn't have wifi and my Comcast Global Pass never worked for a single minute in all of Chile, so the waiter...
I dreaded the thought of spending the next couple days in Santiago including the tour we booked up into the Andes - about 10° cooler but still in the full sun. So, after talking it over with Robin, we are checking out of this hotel tomorrow and taking an Uber to Valparaiso. Since it’s on the coast, it’s about 15-20° cooler than Santiago. We are staying the next three nights at what looks like a B&B close to the ocean. I don't know if we can fill up three days. But I'd rather fill up three days in tolerable weather than fill up three days in the broiling sun.
Valparaiso & Vina Del mar
November 21, 2022
A lovely day. We walked for about an hour in Santiago before heading to Valparaiso. Our original plan was to have lunch in Santiago and then order an Uber. However, it made more sense to just get out of the hot weather and over to the coast. So, we were gone by 11:15 AM. It was a longer ride than expected even though our Uber driver drove very fast. It cost us $109 with tip. Sometimes these things are worth it when the alternative is schlepping suitcases to/from bus stations in broiling heat. Here is the street view from our wonderful new hotel. It only has nine rooms.
Going back over a hundred years, Valparaiso used funiculars to climb the hills. About 15 are still in service today. They use a pulley system... as one is coming down, it pulls the other one up. The cost? Ten cents. There have been only two accidents on a funicular since 1883. One was in 2022 when a cable snapped. There were a few minor injuries from broken glass.
We spent a lovely afternoon talking to a German couple from Munich about everything from travel to politics to immigrants to healthcare. For dinner, we went to a restaurant just around the corner where we chatted with Greta, an attorney from Los Angeles. She's on her way to southern Patagonia and is waiting for a friend to fly in. This is always the best part of our trips… meeting others who are traveling. We got back to our room just as it was getting dark because we had heard that we should not be out after dark. It definitely felt that same way in Santiago. But we wouldn't be out after dark in certain areas of Portland either. All in all, a wonderful day. I am so glad we made this decision to come to the coast and not stay another minute in Santiago!
November 22, 2022
It was a quick walk down to Plaza Sotomayer for our walking tour. Our guide turned out to be a very tall Cuban man named Alex who has a PhD in some kind of science. He brought his wife and a photographer who is producing a promotional video. There were only four of us on the tour, but one person didn't speak any English, so Alex had to do both Spanish and English.
I found this very interesting. A mural artist must ask the owner of a building if they can paint a mural. Of course, the artist will expect payment for the mural. If your building ends up with a mural, people won't graffiti over it. So, if you are a building owner, you must choose between paying for a beautiful mural or constantly painting over the graffiti.
November 23, 2022
I woke up to shaking this morning and Robin was already awake. She thought that I was shaking in my bed, and I noted the time as 5:55 AM. I went back to sleep until about 7:30 and when I picked up my phone, I had an alert from the travel insurance company about a 5.0 earthquake that happened near Concepción at 5:53 AM. We were on the outer edge of the earthquake circle… so that’s what the shaking was!
Then we walked to the beach and looked at the Pacific Ocean for two minutes and then back to the tea shop where we could get the free signal to order an Uber back. We’ve really had to be resourceful on this trip because of no internet connection. Our only chance to order Ubers, look at food menus, and translate the menu is getting on someone's wireless network.
We spent a couple hours hanging out on the terrace which has been our favorite thing about this hotel. Robin is coughing like crazy and isn't feeling so great. For dinner, we walked over to Allegretto and had to wait for it to open at 7 PM. The entire time we were there no one came in. It's an old rock 'n' roll/karaoke restaurant that had a rooftop deck that was up many scary flights of stairs. We decided to sit on the main floor because we didn't want to put the server through walking up to our table. Plus, it's fairly cool out… only 58°. Thank God we were able to switch our plans and spend this time here!
November 24, 2022
Our last day. We had our usual breakfast at the hotel and then walked all the way to the Pablo Neruda Museum. We had to walk down the hill and then up an extremely long hill that went so high that our ears were popping. It was grueling; I thought we'd NEVER get to the top. Plus, Robin is doing this with a bad cold.
Afterwards, we walked back to our hotel since it was mostly downhill. By the time we got back to the Zerohotel (where we had already checked out) my phone app said we'd done 58 floors and it wasn't even noon yet. We hung out on the terrace in the gorgeous weather before heading over to Maria Maria for lunch. This restaurant was featured on another “Somebody Feed Phil” episode.