Chile – Day 4 – Valparaiso & Vin Del Mar

Today we decided to sleep in a bit until 8am. We ended up having a buffet breakfast down in the lobby of the hotel since it was only $9 and included coffee. After breakfast we got ready and started walking along the waterfront to Vin Del Mar. The waterfront was very relaxing and was a mix of a modern reconstructed boardwalk and old decaying train depot buildings with abandoned trains along the side. We noticed a ton of homeless dogs and with a quick Google search we determined that there are an estimated 2.5 million stray dogs in Chile and the canine population is growing faster than the human population. A sobering statistics is that with 17 million Chilean’s; the canine population is slated to surpass the human population in as soon as 6-10 years. Something needs to be done about this.

Half way to Vina Del Mar we came to Portales, where there was a small beach with some food booths setup. We were not quite yet hungry so we decided that we would come back here later on. At this point in time it would have been nice to walk along the waterfront more but I had drank way too much water and needed to find a bathroom.

2019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 012019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 022019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 032019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 052019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 092019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 102019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 132019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 142019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 152019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 162019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 172019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 192019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 21

We boarded the train to Vina Del Mar and found a Starbucks to go to the bathroom and we ordered some Frappuccino’s. Catherine had Java Chip Frappuccino and I had a half sweet Cookies & Cream Frappuccino. I was starting to run low on money so we stopped in at the bank and picked up some more money before continuing our walk along the waterfront. The beach in Vin Del Mar was very beautiful and packed full of people, including some people fishing from the boardwalk. After walking along the beach we explored the city of Vina del Mar. We saw a flower clock that had real moving hands, a magician that appeared to be floating, a castle, and an old Palace.

2019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 222019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 232019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 242019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 252019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 272019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 282019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 292019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 302019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 312019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 322019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 332019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 362019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 372019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 382019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 392019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 402019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 422019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 432019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 452019-01-29 Vin Del Mar 46

After exploring Vina Del Mar we took the train back to Portales, where we both got delicious freshly made empanadas for only $4 each, which is about double the going rate they were in Santiago, but this is more of a touristy area. I had pulled beef, chorizo, mushrooms and cheese; while Catherine had chicken, mushrooms and cheese. After eating our food we took the train back to the hotel, where we relaxed for a few hours before venturing out back into the cerro’s of Valparaiso.

We head back out at 6:00pm to explore the cerro of Artilleria. This was definitely one of the more dodgy areas of town and has a rating of “orange” on the scale of neighbor safety. The scale includes the colours from Red, Orange, Yellow and Green; with red being the least safe to green being the safest. I’m glad we visited it though because it was quite the unique community with beautiful views of the port and entire city, as well as some unique art. While we were up in the community we met this family that was visiting from Montreal. The dad was originally from Valparaiso and moved away when he was only 12 years old. This was his first time visiting since he moved away. He told us that practically nothing has changed since he was a child, but they were trying to do a better job of preserving some buildings and the funiculars.

2019-01-29 Valparaiso 012019-01-29 Valparaiso 072019-01-29 Valparaiso 102019-01-29 Valparaiso 112019-01-29 Valparaiso 122019-01-29 Valparaiso 132019-01-29 Valparaiso 142019-01-29 Valparaiso 152019-01-29 Valparaiso 17

Chile – Day 3 – Valparaiso

Today we woke up at 7:30am. We packed our bags while waiting for the cafe’s around us to open. Most of the cafe’s don’t open until 8-8:30am. We decided to go to a coffee shop called Coffee & Me. C had a cappuccino and I had an Americano. The food at this cafe was very expensive so we decided to get food elsewhere. Across the street from Coffee & Me was a NesCafe branded coffee shop were we both go panini’s for $4 and some more beverages before heading back to the hotel. C had a Chai Tea Latte and I had another Americano. As you can tell I don’t really like sweet beverages very often.

We told the hotel that we were checking out a day early because we were going to head to Valparaiso. After checking out of the hotel we made our way to the Red Metro line right below our hotel and took it all the way to the other end of the line and got off at Pajaritos station.

After exiting the metro at Pajaritos station we went to the TurBus checkin counter to purchase tickets to Valparaiso, which ended up only being $18/pp return-trip, which was a bargain compared to the cost of the tickets online. We boarded a 10:20am bus to Valparaiso. During the bus ride we played a few games; hangman and 94% (a game on her iPad where you guess what words are associated with a certain theme).

The bus arrived in Valparaiso at 12:15pm. Within 3 minutes of exiting the bus C realized she left her jacket on the bus and when we went to go back to the bus it was gone. We talked to the check-in counter at the bus terminal and they said the bus driver would return it within 30 minutes. We were skeptical and thought the jacket would be gone, but we waited around for 30 minutes and sure enough the jacket turned up. What we think happened was the bus driver stopped and met another bus on the highway back to Santiago and did the exchange. This level of service goes above and beyond the level of service I’d expect from any company and TurBus gets a 5/5 star review from me.

We exited the bus terminal and walked towards the train station where we boarded an LRT style train towards Puerto train station, just two stops away. After exiting the train station we checked into our hotel; ibis Valparaiso, which was right at the train station. After dropping off our bags we went exploring the cerro’s (hills) of Valparaiso; which are officially recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.

We started off by grabbing some panini’s from the self titled Panini Cafe. I had a cubano panini and C had a chicken, cheese and mushrooms. We visited Plaza Sotomayor, Cerro Concepcion, Cerro Carcel, Cerro Alegre, Cerro La Loma, Cerro Pantheon and Cerro Bellavista. The other Cerro’s are known to be pretty dodgy areas and therefore decided not to visit them. We took some classic photos such as climbing the very long and tall Valparaiso Stairs, Piano Stairs, and the steepest and oldest funicular in the city; Ascensor Reina Victoria, which opened in 1902.

2019-01-27 Valparaiso 0012019-01-27 Valparaiso 0022019-01-27 Valparaiso 0032019-01-27 Valparaiso 0042019-01-27 Valparaiso 0062019-01-27 Valparaiso 0102019-01-27 Valparaiso 0112019-01-27 Valparaiso 0152019-01-27 Valparaiso 0162019-01-27 Valparaiso 0202019-01-27 Valparaiso 0212019-01-27 Valparaiso 0232019-01-27 Valparaiso 0282019-01-27 Valparaiso 0642019-01-27 Valparaiso 0762019-01-27 Valparaiso 0802019-01-27 Valparaiso 0832019-01-27 Valparaiso 0842019-01-27 Valparaiso 0852019-01-27 Valparaiso 0922019-01-27 Valparaiso 0952019-01-27 Valparaiso 0972019-01-27 Valparaiso 1002019-01-27 Valparaiso 1012019-01-27 Valparaiso 0492019-01-27 Valparaiso 0502019-01-27 Valparaiso 053

Below Ascensor Reina Victoria is where we had some dinner at Altamira Brewery (Casa Cervecera Altamira). I had a black IPA (7.5%) and Regular IPA (6%), while C had a Pina Colada. All the drinks were fantastic. For dinner we shared a plate of fried covered in cheese and pulled beef brisket. After dinner we decided to walk back to the hotel and watch an episode of Marvelous Miss Maisel. If you have not watched that show I highly recommend it!

Chile – Day 2 – Santiago

Today we woke up at 7:00am. We got ready fairly quickly and then walked to a nearby Starbucks. I had a regular drip coffee and C had a Chai Tea Latte. We then walked back to Santa Lucia Hill and explored the hill. Santa Lucia Hill sits on top of a volcano that last erupted an estimated 15 million years ago. On top of the hill is a beautiful park, chapel, and Fort Hidalgo. Fort Hidalgo was recently restored and reopened to the public and traditionally a cannon shot is fired at exactly noon.

2019-01-25 Santiago 0422019-01-25 Santiago 0432019-01-25 Santiago 0452019-01-25 Santiago 046

After exploring Santa Lucia Hill we walked over to Plaza De Armas. Plaza De Armas is the main square of Santiago. It is the centerpiece of the initial layout of Santiago and the square grid pattern of the city was laid out from here. Santiago (officially known as Santiago de Chile) was originally founded in 1541 by the Spanish conqueror Pedro de Valdivia. Santiago has a population of 6.3 million people and is home to 40% of the entire population of Chile.

2019-01-25 Santiago 051.jpg

Right across from Plaza De Armas is Cathedral Metropolitana de Santiago which took 52 years to build and was first opened in 1800. Previous cathedrals stood in its spot but were destroyed by earthquakes. Chile is known to have some of the world’s largest earthquakes in recorded history, with the largest being the 9.5 magnitude earthquake on May 22, 1960 near Valdivia, Chile. That particular earthquake left 2 million Chileans homeless, killed approximately 6000 Chileans, and created Tsunami’s that reached as far as Honshu, Japan. The 18 foot high waves reached Honshu about 22 hours after the earthquake and left 1600 homes destroyed and killed 185 people.

2019-01-25 Santiago 0522019-01-25 Santiago 0532019-01-25 Santiago 0542019-01-25 Santiago 0562019-01-25 Santiago 0572019-01-25 Santiago 058

After visiting the beautiful Cathedral Metropolitana de Santiago we walked through the nearby Central Market and over to Centro Cultural Estacion Mapocho, which was a former railway station (built in 1913) that was converted to a cultural center/musuem. The beautiful semi-restored train station is built in Art Nouveau style architecture, which is some of my favorite architecture, alongside Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern. You can refer back to my France blog posts, among others to see some other beautiful Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture.

2019-01-25 Santiago 0592019-01-25 Santiago 0612019-01-25 Santiago 062

We continued exploring the area and came across a hip modern area called Eurocentro, and narrowly avoided a protest in front of the University of Chile. There were about 30-40 armed military personnel with riot shields ready to pounce if things got out of control.

2019-01-25 Santiago 0692019-01-25 Santiago 0712019-01-25 Santiago 0732019-01-25 Santiago 0762019-01-25 Santiago 0772019-01-25 Santiago 0782019-01-25 Santiago 0792019-01-25 Santiago 0812019-01-25 Santiago 082

After that we took the Yellow Metro line from Santa Ana station to Departamental station. Santiago is home to one of my favorite style of Metro systems; the rubber-tyred Metro. There are only about 25 systems like these in the world and I’ve been on about 1/4 of them. The rubber-tyred Metro was first applied to the Paris Metro in 1951, and is also used in Montreal, Canada. The benefits are better grip, quieter, and a better ride.

After exiting Departamental station we walked to the nearby community of San Miguel, which is a rundown lower income community with many tenement buildings. The appeal of this community to us was the huge open street market and the massive murals on the sides of the tenement buildings.

2019-01-25 Santiago 0852019-01-25 Santiago 0862019-01-25 Santiago 0892019-01-25 Santiago 0932019-01-25 Santiago 0942019-01-25 Santiago 0972019-01-25 Santiago 1002019-01-25 Santiago 1012019-01-25 Santiago 1032019-01-25 Santiago 1042019-01-25 Santiago 1052019-01-25 Santiago 106

We were getting hungry and were in search of Arepas, which is a Venezuelan & Columbian food that is fairly popular to Chile as well. Arepas is made of ground maize dough and is cut in half and stuffed with cheese, meat, tomatoes, etc. You can have it in many different styles. We took the Metro and walked to numerous places on google maps that supposedly sold Arepas, but sadly they were closed or didn’t sell them. We settled on some amazing freshly made pizza at a nearby restaurant. We ordered a Neapolitan style pizza, which absolutely delicious.

After eating we explored the rustic community of Varrio Italia, before walking back to the hotel and calling it a night. Originally we were supposed to stay one additional day in Santiago but we opted to go to Valparaiso a day early starting tomorrow.

Chile – Day 1 – Travel Day & Santiago

I have to start of with an apology for a half month delay for this travel series. Internet connectivity was questionable at the majority of places we visited, and I was combating a very nasty flu which left me with little energy to write. Anyways, let the adventure begin!

IMG_1749

Today was mostly a travel day for us. We woke up at 8am, got ready and my dad drove us to the airport. We travelled from Calgary to Toronto on one of Air Canada’s last Boeing 767-300ER flights before they are retired from mainline service to Air Canada Rouge; a low-cost subsidiary of Air Canada. The flight departed Calgary at 11:45am and we arrived in Toronto at 5:15pm. After a 2 hour layover in Toronto we departed for Santiago on Air Canada’s flagship Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The flight arrived the next morning at 8:45am.

SSJAE0604

After landing in Santiago we went through customs, which was actually a fairly painless experience contrary to what I had read online. After clearing customs we boarded a Centropuerto Bus that took us to the city center station of Los Heros for only $3.20/pp. Once we reached Los Heros we took the Red Metro line ($1.30/pp trip) to Manuel Montt station, which was right below our hotel; the ibis Providencia. We checked into the hotel and had a quick two hour nap before venturing out into the city.

After waking up from our nap we walked along the Mapocho River, which was extremely turbid and fast flowing. The river led us to the beautiful community of Bellavista, where we stopped at the Fukai Sushi restaurant and ordered some sushi rolls. We tried three unique rolls that we’ve never had before; Guacamole Rolls, Baked Brie Rolls, and Seared Salmon with Almond Slivers. We’ll call this lunch/dinner since it was about 3 in the afternoon.

2019-01-25 Santiago 0012019-01-25 Santiago 0032019-01-25 Santiago 0042019-01-25 Santiago 0052019-01-25 Santiago 0062019-01-25 Santiago 0072019-01-25 Santiago 009

After having our meal we walked to Funicular de Santiago, which took us to the top of San Cristobal Hill. The funicular was opened in 1925 and definitely shows its age. The views provided from the top of the hill are absolutely fascinating. We had 360 degree views of the entire city, including one of my favorite of the newest flagship building in Santiago; Gran Torre Santiago, which is a 300 metre tall skyscraper that towers over the city. Gran Torre was completed in 2013 and is the tallest building in South America. Also at the top of the hill was Virgin of the Immaculate Conception (Virgin Mary).

2019-01-25 Santiago 0122019-01-25 Santiago 0162019-01-25 Santiago 0182019-01-25 Santiago 0202019-01-25 Santiago 0212019-01-25 Santiago 0232019-01-25 Santiago 0262019-01-25 Santiago 0272019-01-25 Santiago 0282019-01-25 Santiago 031

Instead of taking the funicular back down the hill we opted to take the gondola across the hill and down the other side, exiting near the Gran Torre. We ended up walking around a bit before taking the Red Metro line to Baquedano station, where we got off to get ourselves some of the famous ice cream from Heladeria Emporio La Rosa. C had I both had two scoops of Ice Cream. C had Raspberry & Pineapple, while I had Vanilla & Cookies and Cream. It was starting to get late and we were tired so we walked past Santa Lucia Hill before walking back to the hotel. We walked a total of 23km today, which our feet and bodies definitely felt considering we only got 1.5 hours of sleep on the plane as well as a two hour nap.

2019-01-25 Santiago 0322019-01-25 Santiago 0332019-01-25 Santiago 0342019-01-25 Santiago 0352019-01-25 Santiago 0372019-01-25 Santiago 038

Creationz by Catherine – A Collaboration

This post is a bit different than my normal travel posts, but I’m excited to share something that wowed me and something that I’m truly passionate about. I recently had the wonderful opportunity to work with Catherine on photographing her work for her 2018 Christmas catalog. To me this wasn’t just any ordinary photoshoot, but something that really wowed me. Catherine has a true passion in arts and design and it really shows in her work.

Catherine is passionate about creating and designing. She sources her inspiration from the places that she travels to and nostalgic objects. She loves bright colours and everything about the fifties (think mid-century modern), and this is definitely reflected in her designs. After studying fine arts and theatrical design in Ottawa (her home town) she was determined to pursue an artistic career. Catherine worked a variety of jobs over the years but her heart was in art. She put her skills to the test and created her own line of items, which lead into her own company called Creationz by Catherine. With this new found passion the success quickly followed. When she’s not busy working on her next creation, she’s travelling the world and sourcing new inspiration.

Creationz by Catherine is a brand of illustrated handmade products. Catherine makes Christmas ornaments, embroidered hoops, wallets, iPad and laptop cases, stockings, and tea towels. She even does custom orders by request. Each piece is designed, printed and sewn with high quality materials and meticulous attention to detail. All items are designed and crafted in her studio right here in Calgary, Alberta.

The 2018 Christmas catalog was a collaboration between Catherine, her sister Esther, and myself. I had so much fun working on this project, and will continue to work with Catherine on her future projects. I was even featured in the catalogue (semi-voluntold). You can check out the catalogue here.

If you’re looking for a wonderful gift idea for family, friends, or a treat for yourself I highly suggest you check out her work; it’s absolutely top notch. You can purchase from her on Etsy here.

2018-07-28 Catherine 042018-07-28 Catherine 212018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 072018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 102018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 132018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 152018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 232018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 262018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 272018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 282018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 302018-07-28 Creationz By Catherine Pages 32

 

 

2018-05-17 – US Route 66 Day 1

Today was the start of my trip with my father to the USA to start our Route 66 journey from Chicago to Las Vegas. I woke up at 3:40am. I had difficulty going to sleep early last night so I was fairly groggy this morning. I made some tea, as I didn’t have enough time to make coffee. I had a quick shower, and finished packing the last few items that I needed to pack. My father came to pick me up at 4:00am.

When we arrived at the airport we checked our bags, as we were on a smaller airplane (Embraer ERJ-175) and they typically can barely fit a roller bag unless they are a smaller one. We went through security, which in both of our opinions is poorly setup in the new international terminal. If you’re Global NEXUS or TSA Pre-Check you still get funneled into the regular lineup’s so it creates a fair amount of inefficiencies. On top of that you still have to take off your shoes, and take out all of your electronics. Most of the other airports I’ve been through don’t require you to do this if you’re either Global NEXUS or TSA Pre-Check.

We had breakfast at Wolfgang Puck. I had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel and coffee, which was delicious. We boarded our flight, which took about 3.5 hours to get to Chicago. The flight was moderately choppy for the first half but ended up smoothing out for the later half.

Upon arriving in Chicago we picked up our car, a Cadillac XTS. It’s an extremely comfortable ride and quite luxurious. Today we ended up driving from Chicago, Illinois to Dwight, Illinois; a distance of about 120 miles. Getting out of Chicago was rather slow going because traffic was bumper to bumper. Chicago is plagued by gridlock.

The sights we saw today was the following.

  • Route 66 Beginning Sign, Chicago
  • Berghoff Restaurant, Chicago
  • Lou Michells Restaurant, Chicago
  • Lulu’s Hot Dogs, Chicago. We ate here. I had a Chili Cheese Dog. My Father had a Hot Dog.
  • Castle Car Wash, Chicago
  • Cyndy Lyn Motel, Chicago
  • Henry’s Drive In, Cicero
  • Suffy’s, Mc Cook
  • Dell Rheas Chicken Basket, Willowbrook
  • White Fence Farm Restaurant & Petting Zoo, Romeoville
  • Isle a La Cache Museum, Romeoville. It was closed but there was a nice park here.
  • Route 66 Park, Joliet. There was an Ice Cream shop & Dick’s Towing.
  • Route 66 Visitor Centre, Joliet. The museum was closed when we arrive.
  • Rialto Square Theatre, Joilet
  • Gemini Giant, Wilminton
  • Mar Theatre, Wilminton
  • Polk-A-Dot Drive In, Braidwood. There was a lot of life-sized fiberglass statues.
  • Two-Cell Jail, Gardner
  • Riviera Restaurant, Garner
  • Old Route 66 Restaurant, Dwight. We ate here. I had a Rueben Sandwich. My Father had a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

IMGL3620IMGL3677IMGL3689IMGL3701IMGL3705IMGL3716IMGL3722IMGL3727IMGL3734IMGL3742IMGL3755IMGL3758IMGL3762IMGL3766IMGL3769IMGL3778IMGL3785IMGL3805IMGL3836IMGL3846IMGL3857IMGL3866IMGL3874IMGL3880IMGL3882IMGL3884IMGL3888IMGL3891IMGL3901IMGL3906IMGL3912IMGL3916IMGL3921IMGL3935IMGL3939IMGL3948IMGL3961

2018-03-13 – Paris

Today I woke up at 6:00am and took the metro to Du Pain et des Idees, a very well recommended Bakery and had an apple pie for breakfast. I walked over to Canal Saint-Martin and ate my apple pie while people watching.
IMG_63542018-03-10 Paris 0282018-03-10 Paris 030
I still hadn’t had my morning coffee so I picked up a McDonald’s Cafe Lungo before heading to see The Wall of Love (Le Mur Des Je’Taime). The Wall of Love was created by calligraphist Fédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito.
2018-03-10 Paris 0322018-03-10 Paris 033
After visiting the wall I went to grab an iconic photo of the North side of Les Invalides. It’s quite the spectacular sight. Les Invalides was built in 1678 as a hospital and housing for unwell soldiers. Today it houses museums, a church, a mausoleum, and still houses and has medical facilities for war veterans.
2018-03-10 Paris 035

I went back to the hotel to get my bags and checkout before heading to a cheese shop that is highly recommended; Fromagerie Laurent Dubois. I tried some samples of cheese, which were absolutely delicious, but didn’t end up buying any because the smallest of pieces were still too much for me to eat by myself today. I then proceeded to explore more city landmarks including the Colosseum and Louvre before heading to have some Vietnamese food for lunch at a place called Pho 14 Opera.

After lunch I went to the Apple Store at The Louvre because my charging cable stopped working. This is the third cable to stop working in only one year, and I’m fairly gentle with my stuff, so Apple needs to do something with their quality of their cables. They never used to be this poor. The gentleman I talked to (Michael) was very helpful but it did take 20 minutes of persuading him to replace it under warranty.

After that I took the RER B train and ORLYVAL automated train to Paris Orly airport. I had a few beers while waiting for my flight to Toulouse.

After arriving in Toulouse I took the tram to my hotel (Ibis Budget), stopping along the way for a donair, and went to bed because I was exhausted.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

Donate By Clicking Here