We are still here…. we found a very special feeling: that maybe we should stay a bit longer… :)
I want to highly recommend our accomodation: Chikyan Hostel (San Jose del Maipu). And i am serious. 15.000peso per person per night, but it worth it 100%!!! Not just the view was f*ckin amazing, but the family who is running the business gave us a very unique service.
Imagine little bungalows standing on high piles made of rustic wood and furnished with old antic stuffs, huge windows to have a panoramic view to the pure nature. Finally clean towers and beds, lots of space and gorgeous freshly made breakfast. The owner lady was unbelievable nice – is a pastry chef and we were talking a lot about this passion. Absolut perfect. Worth every single penny – that we could sleep heavenly.
After our recharging break in this valley we headed to the beach to see some HUMBOLDT PENGUINS!!!! There is a tiny island close to Cachagua where u can find a colony of Humboldt pinguins, not more then 100meters from the beach.
The water is cold (however there are always some crazy faces to go for a swim) but we had luck with the water level being sooo low so we could easily jump on the rocks getting closer and closer to these cute animals! I was worried a bit that “they will be closed on New Years Day”, but luckily not… so if u have a great optic zoom in your camera – have no problema.
They are living on the coastline of Chile and Peru nest on islands and rocky coasts usully using caves or burrowing holes in guano. Due to declining population (caused by overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification and guano over- exploitation) the status of this Humboldt penguin is threatened. And they soo f*ckin cute!!!
The plan was to spend our New Years Eve in Valparaiso – this magical town on the seaside which has the same kindof “wildromantic” than u can find on Porto – Tim Burton style of contrast between rich and poor.
Colorful houses on the side of the hill built on the top of each other with narrow dark streets. At daytime its a very turistic place – at night is better not to get lost in this labyrinth. We just love it – and its sadly very turistic attitude… cause if u see ruins of houses and super-retro supermarkets at your hometown u will going to feel ashame and think how poor and ba dit is and better to hide… But if u are going outside to another country and visiting poor districts with dirty people and abandonded dogs hanging around… u think its cool. U think its “wild romantic”. And u will take thousands of pictures. Thats the reality.
Anyway… Valparaiso was like this – chaotic, poor and dirty with noisy people and a big harbour. We did wait the midnight here on the main square and we did see the most amazing firework in our life for 20 minutes. And 20 minutes is a looong time – the first thing popped
in our head is the cost of this stupid circus the local goverment organised… cause 80% of the houses hardly stand, their structures are falling apart, people has no job and begging money from the tourists… and they spend this crazy amount of fortune to give “New Years Eve Show” to their people. This behavior is not fully surprising – considering the fact that this city has nothing else but the turism – and the turists are coming for its “destroyed view”.
For example, there was a massive earthquake in 1906 smashing almost everything down… u still can see several ruins of big buildings what the city doesnt wanna clear out but reforce the coloumns of the ruin to stand for another 100 years… without being safe. Hm. The turism generates everything, so the goverment can not do basically any refurbishment in this messy district cause it would lose their charm. What a shitty system…
Welcome to South America! And i havent even mention the sistuation what we saw in Concon and Vina del Mar just a couple of kilometres before Valparaiso…. The air smells money there. As u reach the coast – appears the luxury. The cars, the houses, the people, the shops and hotels… were disgustingly shiny. Just shocking the massive difference u can feel in a couple of kilometres.
NEW YEARS EVE
After walking around and discover the city itself we all fell in love. It reminds me to Brighton somehow… especially on the top of the hill.
We got our traditional pisco sour in a little coffee shop (again it had an atmosphere supercute) while were planning the rest of the night.
With a bottle of Chilean Chardonnay and some sparkling water waited the midnight. DONE. As i said before – they made probably the biggest and most spectacular artificial firework what we ve seen in our life.
Back to the car…. Oooops, did i mentioned that they closed the whole downtown for the celebration?¿ Eheheheeeeeeeeehhhhhhh… at the very beggining we wanted to come with a local bus cause the traffic seemed really terrible… but then Gabor said that he doesnt wanna drink anyway and probably the taxi will ask a fortune to get us back to the hostel…
So we finally took the car and find a place to leave it cheap for the whole night (5000chilean)… we didnt know anything. We parked the car the other side of the city next to the main road. Ok. Roads closed. Streets were full of people. FULL. After midnight… we were trying to get out and back to Vina del Mar… finding another way cause the road what we knew were still closed and mass of drunk people were flooded everywhere…
To cut the story short… THERE ARE NO SIGNS ON THE ROADS. NO NAMES OF PLACES, CITIES, NO NUMBER FOR ROADS. Was just impossible to find our way. By mistake we ended up on a main road which goes to Santiago… without the possibility to turning back were stucked in the traffic for an hour…
Horrible… we jumped in the car at 00:30 and got out at 4:30. Did the same circle twice and we ended up in the same place both time to start again. Sooooooooooooooo angry. At least we should have had a nice party in one of the discos till 4 in the morning, not sit in the fucking car. Anyway… LISTEN TO ME: DONT TAKE A CAR IN SOUTH AMERICA WITHOUT GPS. NEVER.
I am with Gigi and Gabor here: the 2 people who know most about geografic and reading maps and feeling the directions… and even with them it is impossible to get from point A to point B. NO FUCKING SIGNS.