V ALPARAISO After we had our delicious Chilean sea bass lunch, we got back in the KIA and rode along the coastal road to Valparaiso which is really continuous with Vina del Mar. Both cities sit on half of a huge Pacific bay. Valparaiso is a port of ancient pedigree, the Spanish and English having used it for exports and imports of their goods from the 16 th century on. Now it is also a huge navy base for the ChileanNavy. The city has 400,000 residents and is built up the hillsides like San Francisco. Because of its hilly streets, the city has had 59 “ascensores” similar to the funicular in Santiago. They have been in place since the late 19 th century. Not all of them are in working order right now, but the ones that do function still carry residents up to their condor nest homes without their having to climb the steps. Though Valpo, as it is affectionately known to the Chileans, is a very old city, there are very few of the old Spanish buildings left because of a huge 1906 earthquake which nearly flattened the city. Because of this wholesale razing of edifices, space was made for many city parks throughout which really do soften and humanize this beehive of commerce.
The ride back from the coast took 2 ½ hours and again we were tired after the long day. So it was back to Sebastian’s for a chocolate soda/shake concoction for lunch. More people watching too— always interesting and fun!
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