A friend of mine from Vanderbilt grew up here. Her father worked for W.T. Grace Shipping Company and had his office on Plaza Mayor in Valparaiso. I take the Metro train north along the coast to the nearby city of Vina Del Mar. Once a pleasand coastal resort it is now much larger and the favored beaches are still further north.
Vina reminds me a bit of a Pasadena By-the-Sea. A nice, modern upscale place to live. Muy rico compared to Valparaiso. My first stop are the Quinta Vergara gardens. A huge old Italianate mansion is closed but the surrounding garden is still well preserved. Some of the largest trees I've ever seen of their type.
The Archeological Museo has artifacts from Rapa Nui as well as a small but impactful exhibit of shrunken heads. Another exhibit shows the awful things that can happen from spider bites. Some museums just know how to get your attention.
I find the building where Wendy lived as a teenager, along with a number of mansions from the early 20th century. Further along at the coast is the upscale Casino. Nearby I find a more modest cafe and linger over espresso and kuchen. There's a product introduction of sorts nearby with acrobats and kids dressed as ??? Never did figure it out.
Before I leave I grab a late lunch at the Jerusalem restaurant. A delicious swarma. I continue to be amazed at how middle eastern food has spread around the world. It's a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Much better than the crap we've spread from the U.S.
Time to move on.
My bus leaves fairly early from the Valparaiso station and heads into the foothills of the Andes. This is the second tallest mountain chain on earth. (Thanks you, Mrs Hanson, for an excellent 4th grade geography class.) You quickly rise past the Chilean vineyards and into the barren mountains, then the snow. Customs and immigration to Argentina take a couple of hours. It is no fun but I have experienced worse. Much worse.
Passing Mount Aconcagua to your left (the tallest mountain the Americas at almost 7000 meters) you slowly wend your way through switchback and switchback as you surmount the pass. There used to be train travel between Chile and Argentina along this route but the labor to keep the track open was finally too much. You pass old snow sheds that show the devestation caused by avalanches. There is an effort to restart the route using a 50 km tunnel under the Andes. I think that would be "infrastructure." Something we need to invest in as well.
The trip is extremely scenic. There are bits of the desert southwest here, bits that remind me of Afghanistan and the Atlas. This area was used in the filming of 7 Years in Tibet. I'll have to watch the movie again. I always liked the book
It is dry and barren for the most part until you near Mendoza. Mendoza is the center of Argentina's wine country.
We'll start there next.