Chile – Day 5 – Valparaiso & Santiago

Today I woke up with a headache at 6:45am so I got dressed and walked across the street to the Shell gas station and purchased an Americano and then sat in the lobby of our hotel while catching up on Social Media. I went upstairs at 8:00am and C was ready for breakfast. For breakfast we went back to the Panini Cafe that we went to two days ago. I had a Neapolitan panini and a double shot americano, while C had a Belgian waffle with strawberry syrup as well as a Cappuccino.

We hung out in the hotel room in the morning while I did some work and C drew on her iPad. We checked out at noon and left our bags at the hotel for a few hours while we explored Valparaiso a bit more. We explored the community of Bellavista. We decided that even though Bellavista was nice that we enjoyed the other cerro’s that we had visited on the previous day more than Bellavista. After exploring Bellavista we decided we wanted to track down a restaurant that served Arepas, which is a bun made of ground maize dough or flour and then stuffed with meat and cheese. Arepas are actually not too common to Chile, as they are a Colombian and Venezuelan food, but we were craving it since we had them at one of my colleagues houses back home. We came across the one of the only places in town that served them (according to Google Maps); Sazon Chevere. I had pulled brisket with cheese, and C had pulled chicken with cheese.

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We picked up our bags at 3:45pm and took the train (also saw a homeless dog sleeping on the train who seemed very cute and peaceful) and walked back to the bus terminal to take us back to Santiago. While walking back to the bus terminal a guy tried to pull a typical tourist theft scheme on C but we caught it in time and nothing was stolen. The scheme typically occurs by someone saying that your bag is open (even when it’s not) and that some stuff fell out, which you then scramble to find, and someone else will then quickly slip into your pockets while you’re panicking and steal your phone and/or wallet. I recognized this right away. This type of scheme is very common in South America and some parts of Southeast Asia.

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We took a 5:15pm TurBus bus back to Valparaiso. We were fortunate enough to have seats on the upper deck with a view out the front, which was a really nice view. During the bus ride I started to come down with a cold.

We arrived in Pajaritos at around 7:00pm and took a $6.40 Uber ride to City Express Hotel beside Santiago International Airport (SCL). We checked in to the hotel and had some dinner in the bar. I had a burger and some local beers (Quimera Amber Ale & Quimera Pale Ale), while C had spaghetti and a glass of white wine. Both beers were quite excellent! It was then time for us to head to bed as we had to wake up at 5:15am for an early morning flight.

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August 7th 2016 – Melbourne

Today I woke up early at 5:30am. I made myself my first “fancy” breakfast on this trip; toast with smoked salmon, melted cheese, and eggs. It was delicious! I got ready to leave, and left to catch the 7:20am train to Flinders Street Station.
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After arriving at Flinders Street station I walked to Hosier Lane, which is one Melbourne’s most famous grafitti street art locations. There are 16 locations that are officially recognized by the council. While I was walking up Hosier Lane I saw a gentleman with the exact same camera is mine, which is a rare sight, so I said “nice camera”. He introduced himself as Mark. Mark had so much valueable information to give me about the street art, because he works with homeless people and people with mental health disorders. When Mark isn’t working he goes around and takes photos of the street art, which he says is quite relaxing. He pointed out a few fabulous pieces of art, which had caught my eye earlier, and told me the Melbourne famous “LushSUX” had painted those pieces. Later on in the day as I was exploring other locations I was able to spot the “LushSUX” pieces with ease.
After admiring the beautiful work in Hosier Lane I walked around the CBD (central business district), similar to our downtown, and came across and information booth, where I grabbed some maps and information pamphlets. One of the pamphlets I picked up showed the location of all the 16 grafitti art locations that are officially recognized by the council. Natually I was curious so I explored them all. The one that struct my eyes the most was the one of the Kardashians. Mark had told me the council had to censor it, so they painted over their breasts with black paint. The council is quite quick to cover up anything that is beyond PG13.
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After visiting all 16 grafitti art locations I came acorss the Queen Victoria Marketplace, where I walked around for a bit and admired all the delicious food trucks and venue’s. I thought I had almost safely cleared the area without having any purchases, when I came to a truck selling fresh mini donuts. Naturally I had to purchase them! I recieved 5 hot mini donuts filled with strawberry goo for $5.50. I was almost able to finish all of them, but I gave up on the last one!
I then walked to the Italian district to view some very old architecture. After visiting the Italian district my feet were starting to get tired as I had already walked 15km today. I caught a ride on a tram to the CBD, and then caught another tram to the Docklands area. Melbourne’s tram network is fantastic! Trams run every 10 mintutes or so, have lots of space, and the network is huge. In fact if you’re even lucky you’ll get on an original rolling stock train, which is quite beautiful. They even have some restaurant trams where you can get on and have a fine dining experience while circling the CBD.
The Docklands area is an upcoming trendy area, similar to East Village back at home. There is tons of development going on here, ranging from many malls and hotels, to low and medium rise condominium developments. There is even a huge ferris wheel called the Melbourne Star. I sat down here and ate the lunch which I had packed for myself (ham and cheese sandwich, apple, and a banana).
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After walking around the Docklands area I boarded a tram back to the CBD, where I switched to another tram to take me to Saint Kilda beach. There is a very long boardwalk at Saint Kilda where you can get a pretty beautiful view of the entire CBD.
After Saint Kilda I took a tram straight into the CBD, where I walked around a bit more until my feet could no longer take it. I got on a train back towards my hotel, but this time stayed on a stop further in search of delicious food. I disembarked the train at Preston station and walked towards High Street, where again the first thing that caught my eye was a Vietnamese place. I caved and had to go there. I’m glad I did because it was the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever eaten to date. After having dinner I walked back to my hotel, where I worked on my blog and fell asleep at 8:00pm.
Check back tomorrow so you can read about my Great Ocean Road experience!

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