Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Vilparaiso Index Day 54 Day 56
Day 55: Vilparaiso <-> Vina del Mar Going Up?

A coffee from a street vendor and pastry from a bake shop fueled us for our first ascensor ride up the steep Valparaiso hills. The fact these ascensors are still in use is amazing. Inside the wooden box cart, there was only enough room for probably 4 people.

We paid attention to the steel cable dragging us up the hill. The view at the top was splendid. Flower boxes are under almost every window. Old fashioned street lamp with matching park bench lined the stone street. Out in the harbor, navy fleet displayed their power.

We strolled down the hill, or slid down to be exact. My biking shoes don't have good grip at all. In a plaza under Heroes' monument is a mausoleum paying tributes to Chilean's naval heroes during the Pacific War. Arturo Prat, whose name is on a street in almost every city we've been to, died when he was only in his early thirties.

At the harbor, children were painting naval ships for some kind of a competition. It's interesting to see different presentation from almost every single child.

Not wanting to wait for 20 mins more for a train, we hopped on a bus and into the heavy traffic from Valparaiso to Vina del Mar.

The traffic turned out to be okay. We missed the city center stop and at the next, we found ourselves in front of Jumbo, the Wal-Mart/grocery combo superstore. We wandered the isles stocked with everything possible and got a slice of cake and some croissants. Jumbo has 70 check-out counters. That was a scene in itself. On our way out, we grabbed a pizza. It was made out of phyllo. So not only taco is not Taco, pizza is not pizza too. I learned.

Back to city center and through fancy looking restaurants, condos, hotels, we made our way to the beach. A German castle like building stood on one side of the breaker. We enjoyed our cake sitting on some big rocks facing the waves. A couple of gypsy girls came by to beg for money. We then set off to visit an old pier.

It was quite windy at the end of the pier. Nonetheless it was a lovely day. We intended to catch #20 bus to botanical garden but after almost half hour seeing every other number except 20, we gave up.

Back to Valparaiso, we caught the green "O" bus recommended by Senora. Verde "O" took us on a wild tour though the winding upper streets, taking in some great views during the otherwise white-knuckle ride. When your bus is flying down in a spiral several stories above the house down the road, you can't help but giving the driver a lot of credit, and hopefully trust too.

Green "O" ends at a cemetery. We caught a different bus back to our street. There we grabbed an ice cream. My choice this time was a winner that evening.