If you caught my latest post about Patagonia, you’ll already know that I didn’t want to leave. Although I don’t believe that all good things must come to an end, my trekking down south was sadly bound by a return flight to Santiago a week later. I left behind a mountain of unfinished business.
Reminder to self: this is an excellent example of a travel planning fail and why you should resist the temptation of scheduling everything ahead of time. Knock that shit off — you know better!
But, the good news remained that I had another week to kick around central Chile to explore the coast!
Two days turned out to be plenty Santiago for me. In my curmudgeonly old age I’ve become less of a city person and more of a open spaces kind of lady. I prefer nature to people. I often feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic surrounded by a lot of humanity, which is why 48 hours with six million of my closest Chilean friends was more than enough.
But first, a few obligatory tourist photos.
A mere hour and a half due west of Santiago, away from the hustle, noise and pollution of the big city, rests the rustic and gritty coastal town of Valparaiso (which will be subsequently called Valpo because it’s impossible to spell).
Valpo, known as the ‘Jewel of the Pacific’, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site teaming with cool urban design and architecture. Dozens of steep hills dotted with colorful houses (very à la San Francisco!) plummet into the deep blue South Pacific.
Our taxi dropped us off at the foot of the hill below our Airbnb, which made for a challenging suitcase delivery…
We tooled around the town for a few days poking our heads into alleyways and admiring the murals. The creations of Chile’s most famous artists line the city’s walls and are constantly changing.
Unfortunately the local government employees’ strike overlapped perfectly with our time in Valpo, so we couldn’t ride the funiculars that the region is known for. But, the scouting report was that we didn’t miss more than an elevator ride to the top of the hill. And for those of you who know me, you won’t be surprised that I enjoyed getting a good leg stretch!
Although I’m not a city girl (did I mention I’m not a city girl?!), I’ll give Valpo credit where it’s due. It really is the most visually creative, inviting and artistic place I’ve ever been to. For that reason I’ll share a few more of my favorite photos!
When I think about Casablanca two things pop to mind: Humphrey Bogart the Hollywood hunk, and stepping foot in the first African city I’d ever been to at 13 years old (and how I almost peed my pants out of terror)! Now I’ve rounded out my two Casablanca memories with an absolute cherry on the top — the divine Casablanca Valley of Central Chile.
Hangin’ out between Santiago and the coast lies an incredible wine-producing region known for fabulous whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. We spent a full day strolling down Route 68 popping into vineyards and getting progressively less coherent.
Below are some photos from earlier on when I still had lipstick on and a hat.
Vineyard of the Sea
Another groovy day-trip from Valpo is Viña del Mar, another coastal city just a stone’s throw down the beach. It had a completely different feel from Valpo with a corporate center and very little visible public art.
Despite being a standard South American city, Viña del Mar’s unrivaled highlight was the authentic Rapa Nui head from Easter Island! Thanks for saving me a huge boat ride, yo!
Chile in the rear-view
You can probably glean from this post that I wasn’t quite as excited about cultural tourism in Chile so much as the natural scene. (Patagonia = squeeeee)! But, I’m finding that every time I travel to a new country or tackle a new-to-me challenge I learn something about myself.
I’m going through some transitions in my life right now that have spurred a heightened awareness of how I interpret experiences and consciously consider how they influence my life choices. Chile represented a very clear reminder that I prefer nature to people, at least while adventuring! I’m trying to understand how I can integrate these learnings as I consider future professional steps.
2016 tops the ‘Verity growth’ charts as I started two small businesses, grew my blog, traveled a great deal and had space away from a corporate job to get to know myself. It’s not all glamorous, and certainly wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
However… I’ve been feeling progressively lonelier working on my own, and crave the structure that comes with a team environment. It turns out the novelty of day drinking does wear off! Shock! Awe! I’ve also learned that I find sales soul-sucking and want to spend more time producing meaningful work as opposed to landing clients. I have the hugest newfound respect for entrepreneurs and those who make it solo — I’m just not sure that’s what I want long-term, at least at a full time capacity. Perhaps it’s my fragile constitution (sales is spooky), but I suspect it has more to do with surrounding myself with professional stars who I can learn from and grow with.
Where are they? Who am I? What the hell am I doing with my life? Stay tuned!
BRB just doing stuff for a bit k?