We’ve heard all sorts of great things about Valparaíso, so it was definitely on our list of places to see.
We set out south from the beach at Ritoque and it didn’t take long before we started seeing condos and high-rises. We stopped for lunch in Con Con, which is mostly a strip of condos climbing the hill along the beachfront. Even though the place seemed a bit more upscale than our usual stops, Red Beard still got it’s usual welcome from the local dogs.
South from here, things don’t change much. condo-condo-restaurant. condo-condo-restaurant. As predicable as Fred Flintstone running though his living room. It’s all ‘nice’ and sanitized, but a little boring.
Vina del Mar was even more tidy. It reminded me a little bit of San Diego. A few kilometers south to Valpo and things start to look a little more interesting.
If the California comparisons are in order, then Valparaiso must be San Francisco (but a tad grittier: maybe closer to Oakland). There has even been a huge trading connection between the two cities since the gold rush, and a pretty similar history too.
Soggy, but colorful wooden Victorians sliding down the foggy hillsides. Seedy sailors and wide-eyed tourists wandering the town. San Francisco has cable cars – Valpo has funiculars. Cold rocky Pacific coastline. Wine country a short ride away. I could go on.
Our first day was spent trying to figure out our way around in the rain. Not recommended. Once you turn up a hill, you’re committed to the whole climb. We slipped and slid and spun out on wet cobblestones all the way up the steep hills. The bus did great.