As I walked the streets I realized I was falling in love. On a whim, we decided to head to Valparaiso, Chile from Mendoza. The trip provided us many benefits: a trek through the Andes, gorgeous beaches, beautiful San Francisco type streets, and cultural immersion. The streets are steep and winding, providing amazing views of the bay on the Pacific. Every building is unique, bright colors, if not covered in artistic graffiti. Nearly every surface imaginable is covered! The city oozes its artistic heritage and culture. As you walk the streets, couples aren’t afraid to display their affection for one another as you’ll often find them embrassing, entranced in a deep kiss.
Just north of the port town of Valparaiso is Viña del Mar, the touristy beach town filled with vacationing Argentinians and locals. The first night was spent indulging in local cuisine consisting of empanadas and Escudo, the local beer. Day 2 was dedicated to exploring the beaches. First on the agenda was Concón, approximately 20 minutes of Viña del Mar.
In order to traverse the beach coastline, bus is the most popular form of transportation. As soon as you step onto the bus, you’re off to the races. As you sift through the pile of coins in your hand for 370 pesos, you’re forced to cling to the nearest object while fighting to counteract the inertia of the bus. Racing down the road, weaving in and out of cars and taking turns too fast to be safe. On one occasion, as we sped down the road, there was suddenly a loud CRASH!!!
Once I settled down from the initial shock, as we continued to speed down the road, I realized that the side- view mirror had collided with that of another bus, causing the mirror to disintegrate into hundreds of pieces. Seemingly unaffected, the bus driver picked shards of glass from his cloths and threw them out the window. It was latter explained to me that each driver is like their own business owner, thus they compete with one another for business. That would explain the race car like driving style and being packed into the bus like a can of salty sardines.
Twenty minutes later, we arrived. Surrounded by mountains and sand dunes, the beaches of Concón are known for surfing and sun bathing. Packed with families, we wandered the beaches and took in the scenery. A few hours later we hopped back on the race car bus to head to the hip beach of Reñanca. filled with 20-something’s and DJs, this was the place to be! The water of the pacific is fridged and the currents strong, but that didn’t keep us from jumping in! Finally after a week and a half of traveling, I found what I was missing… Beaches; I was in love!