To spend a few warm days at the sea we decided to visit Valparaiso, which is around 110 km Northwest of Santiago. The second half of the 19th century the city was a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan and it was known by international sailors as “Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific.”
Since 2003 Valparaiso is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our guesthouse, the Casa Kultour was in the middle of a labyrinth of streets and thousands of steps and getting to our place was not less tiring than a step aerobic lesson. The city has its own charm with the colourful houses built into the hills and the graffiti which are spread all over the place.
Close to the city is Casablanca valley, which is famous for its wine productions and Sam and I were lucky to visit the biggest organic and biodynamic wine producer in Latin America. Our wine tasting included organic cheese and chocolate and a sort of wine I have never heard about before, the Coyam which is made out of 6 different grapes. (38% Syrah, 27% Carmenere, 21% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Mourvedre, 1% Petit Verdot) During the tour it was explained to us that animals play a very important role in the organic and biodynamic practices and you find chicken, cows, goose and Pacos on the farm.
Another highlight on our tour was the visit of the house of the famous poet Pablo Neruda, who got a Nobel Price in 1971 two years before he died however there are doubts as to whether or not the military under Pinochet had a hand in his death.
Valparaiso was great for relaxing. The water was only 12 degrees ‘warm’ and therefore we did not consider to dive. Now its time to gear up for the Antarctica trip and for that we head to Santiago.