My Chilean Adventure: A Few Days of the Week

As I’m falling further behind in my updates I’ve decided I’m going to put a few days into the one post…

Classes continue and we’re being to speak slightly more confidently, however, there’s a long way to go. The day is long but broken up into sections with a lovely long break of lunch where we all get together and practice…or in my case become more frustrated that I can’t seem to understand everything instantly. But hey ho you don’t want to listen to Spanish classes you want to hear about the city, the buildings, the colour, and the various escapades we’ve gotten up too.

Over the next two days we were welcomed with walking tours of Valparaiso. These were our first chances to explore the city as a group and we were a bundle of energy (surprisingly after our long day of brain jumbling Spanish). Catching yet another terrifying bus, which was a feat with all twenty something of us….we basically took up the entire bus.

The First Walk:

Our first tour took us up a steep furnicular, and I mean steep! As someone scared of heights my stomach clenched looking up this incline. But once at the top the views of the city were completely worth it. Colour surrounded us, with the Pacific ahead and hill filled with colour behind us. The sun was shining, reflecting off of our surrounding and put smiles on our faces. There is an almost Caribbean feel to the houses and small enclosed streets. I somewhat expect to hear music pouring from open doors.

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Valparaiso is known for its street art, and we were in for a treat walking through its open air museum. As we turn around each corner we’re blown away by more and more.

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The scale of everything is enormous, not small tacky graffiti but large calling cards for artists. The art seems to have meaning, there are tales within it, the strokes and spray. I could’ve woven so many tales from the portraits on the houses. Many dislike the use of graffiti, this is s common feeling throughout the world, but here it brings life to a city that would otherwise look very delapidated.

As the tour comminuted to wind down the hillside; to my small legs it felt like a mountain, we made our way to Valpos port. Here we boarded a questionable looking boat to view the city from the Pacific.

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The boat trip lasted around forty minutes and silence hit the group (which is a rarity for us). We all became engrossed in the sights of the sun setting behind us, casting a hazy light over the city. Watching the fading sun tuck Valpo into bed, the lights would flicker into life shielding the city from eternal darkness.

It wouldn’t be a night in Chile without our trip to the beach, however, this evening brought a new edition to our monotonous evening tradition. We managed to gain three four legged companions (dogs). Chile is known for its stray dogs. In South American countries and many others throughout the world dogs and pets aren’t views as members of the family as they in others, therefore families tend to tire or get bored of their pets that either don’t make a good guard dog or they’re simply not interested anymore. As a massive dog lover I can’t help but want to take every single dog home and love them, it’s as though they know this here and we seem to find some following the three of us home. As wen continued on out thirty minute journey from the beach to our home stay, we gained another two. Saying goodbye to our new fluffy friends was hard but we managed it…only to be followed by even more the following day.

Walking Tour Two:

Our second tour took us to the Pablos Neruda’s house, a noble prize winning poet. His house overlooked the whole bay of Valporaiso, and the museum had been left to represent how it would have looked whilst he lived there. Unfortunately we couldn’t take any photos within the house but believe me when I say the views were amazing, and I would’ve killed to have lived within the walls of his house.

As the house was set upon yet another of Valpos many hills we wandered back down to view more brilliant art and colour.

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The stairways are one of my favourite parts of the city. I’ve hit a point of disappointment when the stairs don’t tell a story or radiate colour beneath my feet. Through these tours, whether with a guide or silently speculating the walls surrounding you it is clear that Valporaiso is a city with many tales to tell.

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Washington DC

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This photo offers a lot of inspiration whenever I take a quick glance. Earlier this year I travelled down the East Coast of the USA for a month with two of my friends. It was a magical time where I met a lot of amazing people and learned a lot about American culture. Having seen the sights on NYC and exploring Disneyland in Florida I still settle by saying, Washington was the place I truly discovered.

When originally planning the trip I added in Washington simply because ‘I want to see the White House’, who doesn’t? When we arrived though we discovered this charm and character that the place has. The people where friendly (which was a nice change to the urban sprawl of miserable New Yorkers) it was clean, and there was a patriotic sense that you never receive in the UK.

Walking from Capitol down to Lincoln Memorial there is nothing but Museums and culture on either side of you, it as though the heart of America surrounds you. When we finally (after three days of stopping at every museum imaginable) arrive at the Lincoln memorial, looking back over my shoulder the shadow of the Washington Monument falls over us. Turning I sit at the edge of the reflection pool and breath out at the sight before me.

I think of the last week I had spent in the city I had dreamed of visiting; New York. Washington was just a pit stop, New York was my main goal. Though while I felt the city was amazing I was a little disappointed, New York wasn’t quite the fairy-tale I hoped for. Washington though, lived and surpassed any expectations. I now know that at some point in my future, I am going to have to call DC home (and maybe hang with the president).

With birds chirping in the distance and school children laughing in the background I feel nothing but comfort. Relaxing I sit while the sun goes down and I pray I never leave Washington.