Sometimes, when you live by a gorgeous beach with beautiful water and the sun is out and shining, you can get really bored. So, Lizzie and I decided that we wanted to get out and do something our original plan was to just run by Lider Express and pick up some food for dinner. So, we signed out to Lider, picked up Rowdy and David and then decided to hop on a bus to Valparaiso. Valparaiso is the town right next to Viña, so it wasn’t too crazy, but it wasn’t too normal either. When we hopped off the bus, we realized that we had absolutely no idea what we wanted to do while we were there. So, we started walking. Valparaiso is a big city that basically sits on a mountain. And, what better way to gain a full appreciation for the city than to just walk up. So we walked higher and higher and tell we could almost see the top…which is a solid two mile hike up from the bottom. When we noticed that it wasn’t too far up, we decided that it would be a great idea to walk up two miles of mountain. And we did. It was definitely worth the experience, but it was straight exhausting! We had to take a few breaks along the way, but we were determined to make it up. One thing that kept us going was being able to see all of the amazing graffiti that covered the buildings.
Do you see that dog in the one picture of the Nacho Libre flying pigs? That is our beloved Ghost Rider. In Chile, there are tons of stray dogs everywhere. And, whenever they come across a group of people, they attach themselves to the people and “protect” them from anything that may come in their way. Ghost Rider decided that he was going to walk with us all the way up the mountain. I think that if he realized how far we were going to be moving, he would not have been near as willing to accompany us. But, we became very attached to this dog along the hike. We would wait on him if he need to take a break in the shade and we would call his name if he wondered to far from us. On the flip side, if another dog got near us, he would bark and make sure that they got out of our way. When we came across sketchy people, he would get very protective and make sure that no body came near us. One of our favorite parts about him was that he always popped in front of our cameras when we were taking a picture. Ghost Rider was a very loyal companion for us that day.
At long last, we made it to the top of Valparaiso which turned out to be a not so safe place, so we had to turn around and run down real quick. However, the view was real spectacular.
The next day, we had absolutely no intention of going back to Valpo, but things don’t always go as planned. I was searching through google maps the next day in search of THE stairs and by complete luck, I came across the stairs that we had been hoping that we would find while we were there. The stairs are so cool because they are painted to look just like a piano. They are also cool because no one else on our trip had managed to locate the stairs yet, but there they were, staring up at me from my computer screen. I get Lizzie’s attention and she screams out at Elise to get ready cause we are going to find THE stairs. We grab Alex on our way out and hop on a bus to Valparaiso so that we can find those stairs. We get out and I immediately realize that looking at them on my computer and trying to find them in real life are two completely different things…I begin asking nearly every person I see where the road is that the stairs are on. Doing this taught me an important thing about Latin Americans that I have heard about in the past but have never experienced first hand, if they do not know an answer, they will make one up. We ended up going around in circles a few times, but at long last we found the road! However, if it weren’t for Alex, we would have walked right past the stairs without a second thought. From the top, the stairs look completely average. They are concrete and only painted on the sides, but once you get to the bottom and look up at them, you can see the piano that is painted on them. Not gonna lie, the stairs were quite underrated but it was really cool to be able to see them in person and to experience the stairs with such an awesome group of people.
Valparaiso day three was even less of a plan than the other two days. The day started out with Lizzie, Elise and I taking a quick trip to the market. However, on the way to the market, we decided that we were hungry and wanted to stop to get some empanadas. Now, I love me a good empanada and these were AMAZING. I got one that was stuffed with pineapple, ham and cheese, and it was so very good. But, our adventure started off with a bang when I went to sit down in my chair and it basically fell apart right underneath me. The back legs had snapped and me and the chair had both gone straight down. For some reason, Lizzie and Elise thought that this was quite funny. Not gonna lie, I can see why looking over at me and finding me and my chair on the ground instead of being right beside them might be funny, but it was rather unfortunate. Luckily, I was able to escape my treacherous fall to the ground unscathed, which is truly a miracle.
After our empanadas, we began to walk the rest of the way to the market. We had certainty slowed our pace after consuming a pound of fried yumminess, but at long last, we made it to the market. Elise was cooking dinner that night, and she needed celery. In the U.S., when you buy celery, you pick up a few small sticks of it, throw it in your bag and move on. The process is a bit more dramatic in Chile. When you buy celery, you buy a lot of celery.
I bet when you pictured it, it wasn’t that big. This celery, Priscilla, was a lot of celery. Shockingly, we did not manage to eat all of it…don’t know how we couldn’t. When you are a blonde in Chile, you get a lot of stares. When you are a blonde in Chile with a huge tree sticking out of your backpack, you get a lot more stairs. When you are a blond in Chile with a huge tree sticking out of your backpack that rubs against every you pass, you get a lot more stares. Needless to say, many a Chilean gave Lizzie long, confused looks as she was walking down the streets. This experience did help me on my Spanish skills though, I learned how to say celery, apio, and the phrase that Chileans use to express embarrassment, que plancha. All these things combined make for a solid experience with Priscilla, but I think my favorite part came when we were very close to our hotel. There are a few gypsies in this area of Viña, so whenever you see them, you have to make sure that you are guarding your bag so they don’t take anything. However, I think the site of Lizzie with a tree sticking out of her back shocked even the gypsies. One gypsy looked at her, commented on the size of it and then proceeded to dance with it. So, if nothing else, that tree provided us with endless entertainment and it served as a distraction to the gypsies so that were not interested in taking any of our things.
You would think that are day would have ended nice and quietly after that, but nope. Elise realized after we had left the market that is conveniently located near a store that she had forgotten to get the cream of chicken that she needed for the meal that she was cooking that night. So, we head into Lider Express that is close to our apartments in Roca Blanca. She ran in and a few minutes later came out looking satisfied. I look at the can in her hand and inform her that instead of cream of chicken, she had grabbed a can of mussels. Ew. I run into the store real quick to see if I could find the cream of chicken. It’s not there. We run up to the apartment, drop of Priscilla and hop on a bus towards Jumbo, the huge supermarket in the area. When we get there, Elise finds the cream of chicken at long last and pulls out her recipe to see how much she needs. And, here’s the awesome part, SHE DIDN’T EVEN NEED IT. All that time searching for this can of cream of chicken was completely unnecessary. All we could think to do is laugh because we could not believe that we had hopped on a bus for fifteen minutes to get an unnecessary can. But, it was all good cause we got ice cream and coke and were completely satisfied with life.
When we were searching for the right bus to hop on to get back to our apartment, I asked the driver to let us out at the stop near our building and he said that he would. However, I should have taken into account that he was on the phone and not listening to a single word that I said. Because, fifteen minutes later, we fly past our bus stop and cannot manage to get the driver to stop. Ten minutes later, we look around and realize that for the third day in a row, we have ended up in Valparaiso…yipee.
Don’t we look excited? Finally, we find another bus that takes us somewhat close to where we need to be and hike back up the hill to get to our apartment and relax after the incredibly eventful day.
These three days were probably some of the best times that I have had in Viña. Sure, nothing went at all as we had planned, but we managed to have a lot of fun those three days and I wouldn’t want to change a single thing about them.
2 new words: celery = apio and gypsy = gitano