After smuggling Holly onto the two-hour (and very comfortable) bus ride, we arrived in Viña del Mar yesterday. Viña del Mar is the town just north of Valparaíso and is famous for its annual music festival held every year in February since 1960. (Follow along on Twitter: @ElFestival)
We are renting a room from the friend of a friend we met in La Paz who owns The Bagel Shop and is originally from Chile. He teaches architecture and does long-distance bicycling. The other guest in the house is a man about our age from Russia who is doing his own version of a leap year and visiting Bikram Yoga studios all over the world. We spent most of today walking around and getting acquainted, and we’ll head to Valparaíso to check it out in a couple days as well.
Between the great weather and sights (check out the view from our bedroom window below) and our friendly housemates, we’re very happy campers!
The other thing Viña and Valparaíso are known for are their hills. And we’ve sadly realized that our San-Francisco-hill muscles have atrophied.
Many of the big hills have escaleras, or staircases, so you can access the hills from downtown with relative ease. The photo at the top of this post is the bottom of the staircase near our apartment. There are several flights of stairs and switchback ramps. Or, if you’re feeling a bit sluggish, you can take the funicular train for 250 Chilean pesos per person, or roughly 50 cents.
We’re really enjoying ourselves so far and are excited to experience more!