Santiago, Chile's capital is the largest city in the country with a population of over 6 million people in the greater metropolitan area. I was keen to spend a few days here to have a look around, get my bike checked out and repair a few things. Local couple Daniel and Maeva who I stayed with during my time there were an absolutely lovely couple who made me very welcome and did a great job of showing me around. With Daniel's love of history and Maeva's love of art they made for great tour guides and brought me on a few bike tours of this stylish city. Daniel was also a keen cook so I was treated to several very tasty home cooked meals. In fact such was the amazing effort they went to, Daniel checked the internet for some traditional Irish meals so one evening we had a lovely bangers, mash and stew combo and another evening a shepard's pie meets a local Chilean meat and potatoe dish which was fantastic. A different night when I cooked for them Daniel was mysteriously sick with a pain in his stomach the next morning..?!
|La Moneda - the presidential palace in central Santiago which was bombed by the|
Chilean air force during the coup in 1973.
|More Botero, this time outside the museum of fine art in Santiago|
|The incredible Maeva and Daniel with the incredible bangers|
and mash and stew...mmm!!
|All those glasses on the table are not ours..|
|The gang at "All is Pussy" bike shop|
|Cracked wheel rim that needed replacing|
|Some sealions along the coast between Papudo and Valparaiso|
|Mural of Valparaiso|
After a longer than planned stop over it was time to leave Santiago. I got the bus out of the city and back to the coastal town of Papudo where we had stopped on the bike when Jack and Michael had visited. It felt strange getting off the bike on my own in the village where I had been with the lads. I spent a lovely day cycling along the coast from there to the port city of Valparaiso. I had another few days off here planned as it is famous for the striking colourful houses built up along it's many hills and has some great street art. Valparaiso has more of a run down or bohemian feel to it than most of the neighborhoods of Santiago that I saw. There are several large universities in the city so has a significant student population.
|Valparaiso in the distance at nightfall|
|Valparaiso is a large port city|
|Tsunami warning to evacuate the coast|
I was in Valparaiso when a sizable earthquarke struck off the northern coast of Chile. I didn't feel any tremors but it was interesting to watch things unfold on the local news channel. There was a tsunami warning and the television showed various coastal cities such as Antofagasta where I had passed getting evacuated to higher ground. I am pretty sure that my friends at the firestation where I stayed in Antofagasta would have had a busy night. Despite being on the coast in Valparaiso we were fine as I was staying well up one of the hills. A few days later we did get a little tremor however.
|I was slightly shook after experiencing my first ever tremor but some of my |
friends did their best to reassure me.
I was staying with a bunch of guys who are were all on CouchSurfing (the website that puts travellers and locals in touch) in a house known as "El Headquarter"! They were a great social bunch who were big into the couch surfing thing so there were always plenty of people coming and going as well as their big gang of local friends. They sure knew how to throw a party or more accurately parties. It was of bermuda triangle kinda place where night turns into day and like many's the couch surfer before me I got sucked into El Headquarter and ended up staying more than a week. I lost count of the number of days that I had planned to hit the road. Good times.
|The nearby Vina del Mar was a lot more sanatised|
|El Headquarter, el mejor carrete de Valparaiso. Los voy a extranar mucho!|