Today we decided it was about time to leave the comfort of the Las Condes apartment and travel away from Santiago. Valparaiso is only two hours away by bus so we decided this would be our first destination. After getting the bus to Estacion Central, where we knew the bus station was, we couldn’t find it. We kept asking people directions and they kept saying ahead and it wasn’t ahead. It actually became so stressful and for a good hour maybe more, Juliet and I were walking round in circles asking people where we were meant to be going and ending up on really dodgy looking side streets with broken houses which we refused to wonder down aimlessly. Eventually (thank god) after what seemed like forever we just put our heads down and walked all the way down the street until we arrived at the bus station. It’s actually the next tube stop along, so we’ll remember that for next time. When we went to book the bus we were pleasantly surprised that there was one to Vina del Mar as we thought we were going to have to go to Valparaiso and then get the tube to the neighbouring scenic beach town. Once we were on the bus my stress died away and I was able to have a snooze and also see the beautiful Chilean scenery. (The photos do not do it justice)
After two hours we arrived in Vina Del Mar and were immediately approached by taxi drivers asking where we were going. Ignoring them, we headed to the tourist desk and found out we were a five minute walk from our hostel. Half an hour later we were still wondering down streets, again lost due to huge huge huge building sites and roadworks blocking the streets and forcing detours. We were stressed again and after maybe forty minutes we were back on the correct street but we gave up hostel hunting and headed to a cafe for lunch. Our moods changed after eating, probably because we were hungry, but also because the food was delicious and we soon realised our hostel was right across the street. There was a single white door with a sign above it and a stair case behind it and so we went up and found the cosiest and friendliest hostel – we were so happy. We’d booked, so checking in was easy and as there were no lockers in our 12 bed dorm we got upgraded to an 8 bed with wifi that currently only houses one girl (who is yet to be seen… Basically our own massive room). We then set off to explore the town and we were pleasantly surprised. This side of the road works the houses are beautifully coloured and disneyesk and despite the cold drizzle that is the weather, I can really imagine this place in the summer as it is such a beachy town.
It’s not pristine and there are some dodgy looking buildings and graffiti but hey, it is South America and this town has a lot of character. At the end of our street, by the sea, we found the beach and a beautiful view of the bay and the presidential palace.
We also saw the famous flower clock that is solidly made out of flowers (except the hands) and actually works!
On our way back to the hostel, we went the wrong way (again) and ended up on top of a hill, giving us an amazing view of the cramped, colourful Chilean houses all tightly packed up the valley.
It’s safe to say that today was a stressful one, but it’s also safe to say you can’t judge a place immediately as Vina del Mar definitely grew on us once we’d seen it’s beautiful architecture and scenery, and it’s beach town vibe. This evening was the opposite to the morning, as it was extremely relaxing. We cooked ourselves dinner in our cute little hostel, had a pampering sesh with facemasks and nail polish and then watched Bridesmaids in bed, perfect!