Now their mums raised these two to be polite and to not be mean if you have nothing nice to say. So Ms X wants to keep it brief. Valparaíso is a means to an end. A city that was thriving with port trade before the Panama Canal came along and burst their bubble. It was like time stood still when that opened and nothing has been painted, built or improved since. From a distance you think it’s a bit European/Cinque Terra-ish with its cliffs and buildings built into the hills. Ms X wants to stress FROM A DISTANCE!!! Up close, you suddenly can’t believe you almost made that mistake. The place has been hit quite hard with the Chilean demonstrations but these two thought that things may have looked like this in the beginning anyway. It ain’t pretty. The lectures about leaving your wallets/ jewellery on the bus and staying together near the town square didn’t add to the ambience. The navy had set up a tent and was guarding a monument in the middle however our guide told us he was aware of the group of 5 known pickpockets who were nearby.
Vina del Mar on the other hand, is up the road and is the seaside resort area of the region. Our travellers felt it was a bit like England’s Brighton, both in need of a facelift. Our guide led us to the local museum however you can lead a horse to water but ya can’t make it drink. Our retirees played truant and went AWOL, alone in this ‘Surfers Paradise’ town. And yes. Ms X has turned into a Sam Newman/ Charlotte Mann look a like wearing shorts with a windcheater. She again has failed the packing challenge for hot/cold climates on a boat and it’s only the second day. The means to an end you ask. Well, the ship has to leave from somewhere in this area and Santiago happens to be landlocked. Bon voyage!