““All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Day 45 – Valparaiso, Chile
We were told Valparaiso was a must-see town, so we cut short our time in Santiago and took the bus about 90 minutes north. At first wander, we were pretty disappointed. We had been expecting a resort town, and the areas we walked in were decrepid and falling to pieces. There were beggars everywhere, and no beach in sight. It looked like the city had once been great and then fallen into disrepair. The only up side was the enormous amount of beautiful street art that covers the entire city. A bit glum, we went back to the hostel to find Sarah.
She told us we’d gone to all the wrong places, and apparently the Cerro Allegro and Cerro Conception parts of town were gorgeous and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. So, feeling a bit better, we went to see them and actually, it was much prettier. We also met up with the Pucon group again – Mari, Jiste, Duncan and Kate, which was great!
Grabbing two newcomers, Robert and Bettina from Austria, we went out to experience was Valparaiso is really famous for, the nightlife! Apparently this town starts at 1am and goes at full throttle until at least 4. Unfortunately, we couldnt have quite the party we wanted as we had an early bus to Mendoza awaiting us at 8am! But we did a cool chillout night, and saw all the party animals still on the street corner as we went for the bus!
The highlight for me though, was finding out the hostel, Casa Verde Limon, had a trapeze and a silk inside! Jon and I were practicing, and when the others came, it turned in to aerial lessons, with everyone, including Duncan, Sarah and Kate having a go! It was really nice to get the chance to train, and show people how fun circus is!
My new favourite drink,a Pisco Sour, is a cocktail containing pisco, lemon or lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and bitters.
Both Chile and Peru claim the Pisco Sour as their national drink, but the general account of its creation goes to Victor Vaughn Morris, an American who started Morris’ Bar of Lima, Peru. Nicknamed Gringo, he created the drink as a variety of the Whisky Sour, using local Pisco.
(Note – this Pisco Sour Recipe is made easier for the rest of the world by using Angostura Bitters, as Chilean Amargo bitters are very hard to find. Also, if using Peruvian Pisco, which is not as sweet and more alcoholic, adjust the amount of lemon juice and simple syrup accordingly. Both kinds are available globally.
1 egg white
2 1/2 ounces Chilean Pisco
1/2 ounce simple syrup*
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine egg white, Pisco, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Cover, shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and strain into six-ounce cocktail glass. Top with a few drops of bitters.
*If you dont want to make a simple syrup, you can 1/3 cup powdered or white sugar, just mix the sugar and pisco before adding the other ingredients.
Day 44 – Santiago, Chile
Today we met up with Mari and Jitse, our Dutch friends from Pucon, and went to the mecca of Chilean wine, the vineyards of Concha Y Toro. You can get that in England, so it was interesting to see where it was made. The vineyard is easy to get to from central Santiago, its just a quick taxi from the end of one of the subway lines.
The tour was quite cool! You got to go into the vineyard and taste the different types of grape that make each wine. I found one that I’d never heard of – Carmenere – which is lovely. Must fine that type of wine now! Then we got to go into the cellars, and visit the famous Castellano del Diablo (the name of their most famous wine). The story goes that locals were stealing the wine so the Don spread a rumor that the devil lived in his cellar, and the stealing soon stopped. So he named the wine Castello del Diablo. Quite fun to see, and we got to taste a few different samples. All in all, a fun trip!
Back in town, we met up again with Sarah, and went out for a drink of one of the other famous tipples of Chile, a Pisco Sour! Yum!!!! You can find the recipe here! – I think that is my new drink of choice!
In a search for helado (ice cream), we went to the Plaza Bellartes in the hip university area. It’s a great little place with lots of shops, bars and restaurants. And lo and behold, they had a performance of circus! We saw a brilliant chinese pole artist, as well as dancers and gymnasts! Such a nice treat!
Now not everyone knows, but Jon and I do aerial circus as a hobby, and after the Chinese Pole, I was missing practicing on my equipment – aerial silks (they are also known as tissu, fabric, or tela in espanol) and static trapeze. Being a little disappointed that I hadnt found anywhere yet so far to train, we then were nearly back to the hostel when we passed Parque Buscamente. They were having an open-air film and I saw a silk tied up to a tree! After a rapid conversation with the owner, who was excited to meet another silk performer, I got to climb. Such fun to be back in the air, and upside down! If you’ve not heard much about aerial acrobatics, it’s fantastic for fitness and much much much more fun than the local gym. I’ve been doing it for 6 years and Jon for 2.
Sadly, we didn’t have much time in Santiago. Must come again – it’s great! Off to Valparaiso tomorrow on the early bus!
Lomo is a cut of beef here in Argentina/Chile…