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.

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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!

Natasha & Tracey’s Wedding

Last weekend I had the wonderful experience of photographing Natasha & Tracey’s wedding at the Al Azhar Shriner in Calgary, Alberta. My day started out at the Al Azhar Shriner at 10am with me taking photos of the venue before heading to the Sheraton Four Points hotel at 11am.

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Makeup and hair were done by Amy Bower and Becky Froland from Illuminate Makeup. Illuminate Makeup is independently owned and operated by Amy Bower. Amy has 13 years of makeup experience and she’s had the opportunity to work with local television networks such as City TV, Shaw, CTV, The Calgary Sun, and The National Post. Becky has over 15 years of experience with hair styling and attended Delmar College in 2004.

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After makeup and hair were finished I took photos of the girls getting ready before heading back to the Al Azhar Shriner to setup my video gear and prepare for the ceremony.

The Ceremony took place outside and started at 4:00pm. Following the 20 minute ceremony the girls signed their legal papers and we spent the next hour taking photos of the girls, bridesmaids, and family in a few locations (outside on the lawn at the Al Azhar Shriner, the road leading up to the Al Azhar Shriner, and in Bakers Park.

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Upon arriving back at the Al Azhar Shriner at 5:30pm MC Mitch introduced the bridal party with an absolutely humorous made-up story about each of the women and men. Dinner, a delicious buffet of fresh salads, buns, chicken, beef roast, mashed potatoes, etc. was served from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Throughout dinner toasts were done with shots of Newfoundland Screech, a drink similar to moonshine.

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Cupcakes and a small top tier cake were served prior to the girls first dance to “She Keeps Me Warm” by Mary Lambert. Mother & Father/Daughter dancing followed with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

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I left at around 10:00pm but I was told that there was a built your own nachos event that occurred shortly after and the dancing went into the night. It was such an honor for me to have shot this wonderful wedding and to see my friend Natasha marry the beautiful Tracey!

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Stay tuned for my next blog post, a maternity shot that I did the week prior for Lindsay & Michael, who are expecting their first born in a mere few weeks!