Thursday, April 28, 2016

Valparaíso: The Markets

There is something magical about produce markets -- the colors, the smells, the hubbub. And while the farmer's market in my Seattle neighborhood has received national recognition, let's be honest -- it's so damn expensive! We do nothing in the United States to encourage healthy eating; McBurgers are cheaper than produce! That's why I love shopping at produce markets in other countries.

A vendor at the Valparaíso market on Avenida Argentina. Tomatoes cost 600 pesos per kilo (less than $0.45/lb), five squash cost 1000 pesos ($0.30/ea), and one kilo of avocados costs 2000 pesos (less than $1.50/lb).

On a recent trip to the market in Valparaíso, El Mecánico and I filled both of our backpacks with an array of fresh goodies. While our bodies were weighed down by nearly 30 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, our pockets were lightened by less than $18.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Valparaíso: Doors, Windows & More

I've taken hundreds of photos as I've wandered the streets of Valparaíso. As I've browsed through the photos, I've notice recurring themes -- doors, windows, signs, laundry, skies. Below are a few of my favorite photos from each of these categories.


Many businesses close for the afternoon siesta. Though siestas can start anytime after one o'clock and last as late as four o'clock in the afternoon, hours of operation vary drastically during this window of time. Accustomed to the 9-to-5 mentality common in the Unites Stated, the siesta hours sure do complicate shopping. I like the casual hours posted on the door of a jewelry workshop in Valpo. The sign reads: "Hours of Attention: From When I Open to When I Close." This is so Chilean -- in so many ways.

This door is surrounded by an elaborate border of capped columns. I like the contrast of the two columns; one is in decent shape, whereas the other is falling apart.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Valparaíso: Murals #2

Valparaíso: Murals #1 shared my favorite wall-sized murals. This post shares my favorite smaller-scale murals.

While I love the comic-style and vivid colors of this man in a boat, what I love even more is how the paint has peeled, leaving him with only one eye.

Likewise, while I love the simplicity and open-armedness of the girl below, I love even more how she has lost her poor little nose.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Valparaíso: Murals #1

Valparaíso is blanketed in murals.

Though there is a dedicated Open Air Museum ("Museo a Cielo Abierto") in Valparaíso, the entire city is truly museum-worthy.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Valparaíso: The Seaport

Valparaíso was founded in the mid-1500s as a port town. Located on the Pacific, its location is vital to both industry and recreation.

A view of Valparaíso, from a lookout above the port.

Historically, its port made Valparaíso one of the most important coastal cities in South America. For ships that rounded Cape Horn, Valparaíso was the first port that ships would encounter on their long voyage around the continent. However, with the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, the importance of Valparaíso as a seaport decreased.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Valparaíso: The City

We wanted to experience our final weeks in Chile as residents rather than as travelers. We wanted to immerse ourselves in the language, the culture, and the day-to-day going-ons of Chileans. After considering a handful of locations in which to pass our final six weeks, we decided on Valparaíso.

Looking out over Valparaíso.

Valparaíso is located two-thirds of the way up the Chilean coast. Nicknamed "The Jewel of the Pacific," Valparaíso is the second largest city in Chile. Though neither Brian nor I would describe ourselves as "city people," Valparaíso sounded appealing. In recognition of the city's significant contribution to Chile's culture, Valparaíso earned the highly coveted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. It was this recognition that attracted us to Valparaíso.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fjords, an Island, and a Volcano

Thursday, March 10th through Tuesday, March 22nd

Leaving Coyhaique, we had two options. We could continue north along the Carretera Austral. Alternatively, we could take a ferry over to the island of Chiloé and bike northwards from there.

Quite frankly, we were done with the Carretera Austral. Though the few kilometers immediately ahead were on pavement and would lead us through a pleasant climate, further beyond we knew that the Carretera meant more terrible roads and wet rainforests.

Me, posing with our last Ruta 7 sign along the Carretera Austral.

We were fine saying goodbye to Ruta 7.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Our Stay in Coyhaique

Monday, February 29th through Thursday, March 10th

If Coyhaique was a record, and if the record player's needle was stuck on the particular moment shown below such that the moment was endlessly played over-and-over again, I would never tire of it.

Coyhaique kitty & me.

What exactly is Coyhaique, you ask?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Continuing Along the Carretera Austral

Sunday, February 21st thru Monday, February 29th

We spent the next eight days continuing north along the Carretera Austral. Here are photos from those days:

An early morning start rewards us with breathtaking views of the valley.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Boardwalks of Caleta Tortel

Friday, February 19th thru Sunday, February 21st

Caleta Tortel is a town that has no roads. Built on a steep hillside, the houses and shops that compose this coastal fishing village are connected by a web of wooden walkways and staircases. All of the town's buildings and public spaces are built on stilts.

One of the public plazas at Caleta Tortel.

We debated whether to visit Caleta Tortel. A town built amongst boardwalks sounded interesting. But we were concerned that we'd be turned off by the tourists. Plus, the town required a 40 km roundtrip detour off the Carretera Austral on a road that has a reputation for being in eternally poor shape.