Monday, September 7, 2015

8/16/15: Viña del Mar

Today was left open on our schedule because Santiago is such a short bus ride from Valparaiso, and even if we spent today in the Valparaiso area, we would still have 3 full days to explore Santiago - enough to get a good feel of it. Since we had the time, we decided that it would be a great idea to take a bus to the nearby city of Viña del Mar - not nearly as touristy, but with some nice attractions and only 15 minutes away by bus.

It was definitely worth it to go! Viña del Mar is home to a Flower Clock - it's huge and reminds me of something that I would see in Disney Land, and the best thing is that it works! Furthermore, since it was a Sunday morning, there were almost no other people around, which made it really nice to walk around.

In addition, unlike Valparaiso, Viña del Mar has a beautiful coastline. You can see far and wide, and it has large rocks that make it gorgeous. There are also several hotels along the coast - we saw this huge Marriott - that are shaped like ships.

We walked around a lot, stopping first at a lagoon. I thought it might be worth it to see from the pictures posted on Trip Advisor, but honestly, it wasn't that nice. The ground/path all around it was covered in bird droppings (the benches were basically completely white) and there was a cute little bridge that had essentially collapsed into the lagoon on the side. Disappointing.

Next, we walked to the Plaza de Armas. I was expecting something beautiful - even in small cities the Plazas I've seen are really nice - but this one was basically a little bit of green space and sadly pretty ugly. It turns out that a lot of Viña del Mar is not worth visiting - probably why tourists so rarely go there as opposed to Valparaiso.

Still, there was a little Fonck Museum with all kinds of artifacts from Easter Island, a nice place to walk around a little. Even though there was very little English (once again), it was nice to walk around a explore a little It was unique in that it had some information about smaller cultures in the area that I hadn't seen before, and distinct pottery from them.

We tried to take the subway back to Valparaiso from there, but apparently it doesn't go to all the stations every day. I hate how that works, but oh well. We ended up taking a bus instead, and then taking another bus to the bus station. On the drive to Santiago they showed How I Met Your Mother with Spanish subtitles, which was actually pretty cool! I might try that more if I get the chance.

We ate dinner in the bus station in Santiago - it's huge. Each company has a terminal and it's almost like a scaled-down airport, bustling with people, full of shops and restaurants, everything. The Santiago subway system is really nice and actually has different fares for different times of the day - charging the most for rush hour, of course!

The AirBnb we have here is rather small. The host, Francisco, is a late-20s guy living with his entire family in a condo, and our room is a separate little thing with a private bathroom. It's nice, except that the room is barely wider than the bunk bed - there might be a foot of space between it and the wall. Lol. Well, at least the host and his family are nice. He offered to walk us to the grocery store and then his mom offered us all kinds of maps and stuff,

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