I was definitely ready to see Valpo after what was, to me, a less exciting than expected time in Santiago…
We were in Valpo for about a day and a half (arrived Sept 8, left the morning of Sept 10), but we really didn’t understand how to appreciate the city until the next day when we had our tour with The German Pirate!
Our first half day in Valpo was not bad. We arrived in the afternoon after a 2 h bus ride from Santiago and checked into The Yellow House, a cute b&b on the hills overlooking the port and the city. We took one of the infamous ascensors (kind of like an outdoor elevator?) down to the city after checking, ate lunch at a seafood restaurant (not worthy of mentioning), and got lost in the city for a few hours until dinner. The streets were very charming with the colorful houses, and the street art created a pleasant surprise every time we turned a corner. As dirty and dusty as the downtown was, the hills were beautiful (but also still kinda dirty…) and full of color.
The next day, we took a tour with the German Pirate, Michael Arnold. We picked up another couple to join us on the tour, and we set off. We walked around on the hills, and Michael described the culture, history, and life of Valpo to us. He also showed us the highlights of Valpo’s street art. Wow, these artists are talented with a spray can!! We also visited some of the more colorful streets of Valpo. I loved seeing all the houses in different colors. It made the foggy morning a bit more cheery 🙂 We even picked up a few stray dogs who followed us around for the duration of the tour!
Michael had a really special treat for us: we got to see inside the home of an elderly Chilean couple. It was a really unbelievably unique experience. The old man is a magician who used to perform regularly but is now retired and only perform occasionally. He showed us a few tricks, and it was obvious that he as quite the performer in his day. His wife was in the kitchen, cooking away. Their house was decorated with a variety of knick knacks, but what made it interesting was all the pictures off Marilyn Monroe scattered around! Senor was so cute!! I thought it was a really unique experience to get to see inside a native Chilean’s home; that’s definitely something I wish I could do in every foreign city. I didn’t take any pictures of inside his home just in case that was rude.. After lunch, we wandered along more streets and took a ton more pictures of beautifully done street art!
Oh, we also tried our first “completo” in Valpo. A complete is basically a hot dog covered with sauerkraut (not as flavorful as the German sauerkraut though), tomatoes, avocado, and mayo. A lot of mayo. So much that even Anthony Bourdain was overwhelmed when he had the completo. I was pretty excited to try this thing because I like hot dogs, but unfortunately this one was underwhelming 😦 Even with all those toppings on it, the hot dog didn’t have much taste… Sad. I don’t have any pictures on this because the ones I took were on my phone, which I’d lost 😦