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Chile

We arrive in Valparaiso in the early evening by a very comfortable bus from Santiago - it's only a two and a half hour journey which for us feels like blink of an eye compared to some of our journeys so far. We take a taxi from the bus depot and head for our hostel Luna Sonrisa - we'd emailed them in the morning and were in luck that they had a room free for us. The lady that greeted us was very helpful and gave us lot's of information about the city and what there is to see, and also in what parts of the city it's not a good idea to wander.... There are many warnings in our guide about pickpockets and muggings in Valparaiso so we're on our guard anyway, but by the sound of the hostel lady it's not as bad as our guide wants us to think. One of the places suggested to us is the "Bar de Pisco" not far from our hostel so we start out with this one on our first outing. We try the "Berries & Menta" and one called "15 de Mayo" both very nice. After our quick pit-stop we continue on to try to find a restaurant. After a lot of walking about we finally decide on a little restaurant called Totobistro where we have some lovely tortellinis - it has an interesting concept to its menu where you choose your filling and sauce to make up your own dish.

[caption id="attachment_2168" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Bar de Pisco, Valparaiso. Bar de Pisco, Valparaiso.[/caption]

We again have a fairly early night - probably still jet-lagged from the Singapore - Santiago journey... This of course means that we wake early the next morning to an absolutely gorgeous breakfast spread at the hostel. On the table is fresh fruit, cheese and home-made breads and jams, I've got problems stopping and of course end up overeating, resulting in complete bloatedness... Teach me a lesson you would have thought, but the next morning I do the exact same... The breakfast spread is just too good.

After breakfast we head out to find the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's house - which is now a nice little museum - perched high up in the hills overlooking the city. One of the reasons Pablo picked this house was that he could see the whole of Valparaiso from this place. The house has a very quaint and interesting interior and collection of furniture and art, and much of it has a nice little story around it.

The walk up to the house is also quite nice and all along the route there is more street art than you can digest - I'm sure there was a lot of great work that we didn't notice because of it being overshadowed by other and bigger great works, or the fact we're going a bit blind after a while. After visiting Neruda's house we walk down towards the Open Air Gallery of street art. It's difficult to distinguish where the "normal" street art ends and the gallery begins but there are some placards next to the "official" works.

[caption id="attachment_2169" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2170" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2171" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2172" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2173" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2174" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2175" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2176" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2177" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2166" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2178" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2179" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2180" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2181" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2182" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2183" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2184" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2185" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2186" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2187" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2188" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2189" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2190" align="aligncenter" width="545"]View from Pablo Neruda's balcony in Valparaiso. View from Pablo Neruda's balcony in Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2191" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2192" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2193" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Cafe Sello Verde, Valparaiso. Cafe Sello Verde, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2194" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Lovely lunch at Cafe Sello Verde, Valparaiso. Lovely lunch at Cafe Sello Verde, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2195" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2196" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2197" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2198" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Valparaiso. Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2199" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2200" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2201" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2202" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2203" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Valparaiso. Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2204" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Valparaiso. Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2205" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2206" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2207" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2208" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption]

Valparaiso.

[caption id="attachment_2209" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2210" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2211" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2212" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2213" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2214" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2215" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2216" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2217" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso. Street Art in the Open Air Museum, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2218" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2219" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2220" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption]

The architecture in Valparaiso is very interesting with buildings almost stacked on top of each other clinging to the steep hills - some look like they're only temporary shacks but you can see they've been there for a long, long time already. The houses and shacks are painted in all sorts of bright colours and all together it looks a bit like it could all have been designed by Pablo Picasso. Everywhere there are small handicraft shops lining the streets - some just consisting of a couple of objects displayed in someone's hallway and some more established galleries and whole houses shared between a collaboration of artists. It's a very colourful place which makes it difficult to put the camera down, something that attracts the attention of the locals who keep warning me to be careful with the camera as there apparently are a lot of "snatchers" about. Although we didn't have any problems at all, Valparaiso has a problem with petty crime - mostly pickpockets, so we're always a little bit on our guard and look around before getting the camera out of the bag - the problem is that as soon as you put the camera back into the bag you have to take it out almost immediately as you spot something else to photograph.

After visiting Pablo Neruda’s house and the Open Air Gallery we head down to the harbour and jump on one of the many boats offering a harbour sightseeing tour. It’s fairly cheap and quite interesting, although we can’t understand much of what the guide says as it’s all in Spanish and he talks quite fast as well as the sound of the motor makes it hard to hear... Still it’s nice to get a different view of the city and see the busy dock in action.

[caption id="attachment_2221" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks. Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2222" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks. Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2223" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks. Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2224" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks. Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2225" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks. Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2226" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks. Harbour sightseeing in the busy Valparaiso docks.[/caption]

As it's getting towards the evening we're starting to feel the hunger creeping up on us, even me who ate a mountain of bread and fruit for breakfast. We decide on a local restaurant down on the more modern part of town - this place specialises on one of the national specialities called Chorrillana. We almost have an heart attack as they bring in a mountain of chips topped with another mountain of fried strips of beef, and to top it off a cholesterol laden thick blanket of melted cheese... if you ever plan on going to Chile, make sure you bring a massive appetite.

On our last day we have a bus booked for Mendoza, Argentina late in the evening. Our hostel is kind enough to let us come and go as we want during the day after we’d checked out. We’re even allowed to use the showers to freshen up before we head out. We go out for a wander and to get some food – on our arrival we’d been recommended by the lady at the hostel a restaurant called Allegretto and after walking about for some time looking for a place to have lunch we decide to head there to test it out. It’s a really nice place with an Italian menu and we order some pizza, which turned out to be very good indeed. All content we go back to our hostel for a bit of research of a place to stay in Mendoza and to get a little bit of blogging done. Before we know it it’s time to leave for the bus, and luckily just before we head off we get a reply from one of the hostels we’d emailed saying they’ve got a room reserved for us. The bus to Mendoza is an eight hour journey and again we get a very comfortable bus so it feels much shorter a journey – the only hassle is the border-crossing into Argentina which is very slow and we’re left out in the cold for what seems like ages.

[caption id="attachment_2227" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2228" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2229" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2230" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2231" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2232" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2233" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2234" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2235" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2236" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2237" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2238" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2239" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Valparaiso. Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2240" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2241" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2242" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Valparaiso. Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2243" align="aligncenter" width="545"]View of the Valparaiso Harbour. View of the Valparaiso Harbour.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2244" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2245" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2246" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2247" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2248" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Valparaiso. Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2249" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2250" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2251" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2252" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2253" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2254" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2255" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2256" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2257" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2258" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2259" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2260" align="aligncenter" width="533"]"Hearts for sale" Valparaiso. "Hearts for sale" Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2261" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Valparaiso. Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2262" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2263" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Pizza at Allegretto, Valparaiso. Pizza at Allegretto, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2264" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Piece of cake at Allegretto, Valparaiso. Piece of cake at Allegretto, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2265" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2266" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2267" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2268" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in the making, Valparaiso. Street Art in the making, Valparaiso.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2269" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art, Valparaiso. Street Art, Valparaiso.[/caption]

The journey to Santiago, Chile started in the evening at Changi Airport in Singapore and took in all about 30 hours with a few hours break in Sydney, Australia. On our flight into Sydney we got a brilliant view of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House. Would have been nice to spend some time here but it'll have to be saved for a future trip. At Sydney airport we have to do some research on Tripadvisor for a place to stay - we'd emailed some guest houses before departing from Singapore but all came back to us saying they were unfortunately fully booked. One guest house suggested we should contact Hostal Casa Condell so together with a few more places we sent a few enquiries. We didn't get any replies by the time we boarded the 12 1/2 hour flight from Sydney, and with no free Wi-Fi in the airport in Santiago we couldn't check whether or not we had any replies - we decide to head for Casa Condell and see what happens. They had good reviews on Tripadvisor and had the most reasonable prices of the places we'd researched. As it turned out we had a few replies, also from our chosen guest house, and we were in luck that they had a room free. Casa Condell is a really really lovely family house that's recently been opened as a Bed & Breakfast. A lovely family runs the place, and although there were difficulties with the language - as my Spanish is so rusty it's almost completely disintegrated - we managed to somehow be understood and Adriana and Tatiana looked well after us. After a bit of freshening up we thought we'd have a nap and go out to find some food in the evening. Our plans went to pots as we slightly overslept... We went for a nap at about 14:00 and woke up 07:00 the morning after... I only managed to get one or two hours sleep during our journey from Singapore - it had been about 48 hours since we got up in the morning before our evening flight - so I needed a bit of a kip I suppose. It's a shame though losing a day of our stay in Santiago, but what can you do?

Still groggy from our "short nap" we venture out to explore a little bit of Santiago. First stop is the statue of the Immaculate Conception on the top of San Cristobal Hill overlooking the whole of the city. The old lift is unfortunately broken but there is a free shuttle-bus that takes us up the hill - it's a steep climb so we're happy we don't have to walk. It seems a lot of people have this route as part of their fitness routine, and all along the way we se people running, cycling and walking up towards the top. Finally on the top we find many sweaty people catching their breath, and we feel slightly bad for being lazy and out of shape...

[caption id="attachment_2120" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2122" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2123" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2124" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2125" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2126" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2127" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2128" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2129" align="aligncenter" width="545"]View of Santiago City from the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill). View of Santiago City from the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill).[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2130" align="aligncenter" width="545"]View of Santiago City from the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill). View of Santiago City from the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill).[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2131" align="aligncenter" width="533"]A statue of Pope John Paul II at the sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception on the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill). A statue of Pope John Paul II at the sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception on the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill).[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2132" align="aligncenter" width="508"]Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception on the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill). Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception on the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill).[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2133" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Prayer Candles at the sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception on the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill). Prayer Candles at the sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception on the top of Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill).[/caption]

There are a couple of nice handcraft shops at the top, and Hannah spots a couple of things she'd like to purchase. She asks me to enquire how many Pestos it costs... I try to explain it's Chilean Pesos and not Chilli and Pesto which is the accepted currency in this country.

After a quick look at the statue and the view of Santiago we head back down to town to find a place for lunch and to visit some museums. We find a little local restaurant where they seem to have reasonably cheap food and order from the menu of the day - we can't believe our eyes when they bring the food out - the portions are absolutely gigantic and we have big problems finishing it off. It's really tasty, so we definitely picked the right place to eat.

To our surprise and disappointment all the galleries we'd planned to have a look at, save one, are all closed for refurbishment. It ends up with a lot of walking in the heat of the sun and not much but busy streets to be seen. The sun here seems much stronger than what we're used to and it makes us tired really quickly. When we finally find the Museo Historico Nacional open we're so glad to get inside sheltered from the burning sun. It's a small Museum so it's fairly quick and easy to look around and it's got a nice courtyard where you can sit down and relax afterwards.

[caption id="attachment_2134" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2135" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santiago Street Art. Santiago Street Art.[/caption]

After the museum we start to move towards our lovely guest house but do a detour to look for the Artisan market. It's not very big, and it looks quite expensive so it's a quick browse. The setting is in an old Romanesque mansion next to the Santa Lucía Hill, so I decide to have a climb up to the top of the hill to look at the view, whilst Hannah takes the sensible option of relaxing on a bench in the shade of the trees. The climb takes the breath out of me quite quickly but I'm rewarded with a nice view at the top.

[caption id="attachment_2136" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago. Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2137" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago. Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2138" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago. Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2139" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago. Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2140" align="aligncenter" width="545"]View from the top of Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago. View from the top of Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2141" align="aligncenter" width="545"]View from the top of Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago. View from the top of Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago.[/caption]

After my decent we head for the closest Metro station but get distracted by a market on the other side of the road from the Artisan one. We find this market much more interesting and actually do a little bit of shopping, but not as much as we would have liked to - it again boils down to the fact we have no space in our backpacks... Afterwards we abandon the idea of taking the Metro and do the healthy option of walking back to the guest house.

[caption id="attachment_2142" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Santiago. Santiago.[/caption]

Finally back we decide to have a rest before going out for dinner and again end up never going out but taking an very early night and sleeping till the morning - must be the jet-lag from our journey from Singapore...

Next morning we gather our stuff together for checking out, and after breakfast have a look at places to stay at our next destination Valparaiso. We find a few alternatives and send off some messages to inquire about rooms. We leave our bags at the guest house and head over to the bus station to buy tickets for the late afternoon. From there we have a wander over to Barrio Brazil, apparently an up-and-coming area of Santiago. It's quite a colourful neighbourhood with lots of street art and many cafes and bars scattered around its main square. Not much time to explore the neighbourhood properly we have a coffee and a few beers before it's time to go over to the guest house to pick up our luggage. At the guest house we have the pleasure of meeting the son of the house Max. He speaks very good English so we have a nice long chat with him before we depart for the bus station. The journey to Valparaiso is just over two hours and the bus is quite comfortable and leaves dead on time - something we're not used to after the relaxed air of Southeast Asia where they make sure no one is left behind before taking off.

[caption id="attachment_2143" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2144" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2145" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2146" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2147" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2148" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2149" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2150" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2151" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2152" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2153" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2154" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2155" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2156" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2158" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2157" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago. Street Art in Barrio Brazil, Santiago.[/caption]

It feels very sudden, despite months of preparations, but it's now less than a day before we head off for what will be a very big adventure. Tomorrow the flight will take us to the first stop on our journey, New Delhi. We're braced for a bit of a culture shock but more and more excited for each hour that passes. A quick outline of our trip: India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, Singapore, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Mexico. We've been trying to catch up with as many of our friends as possible before heading off. But alas, some we have not had the chance to meet up with. We'll be sure to get around to see everyone on our return in five months time. We're feeling very humbled by all the well wishes from everybody - and we had a most wonderful leaving-party (sorry neighbours). One of the highlights must be the cake by Lauren http://cookingbakingandallthingsfood.blogspot.co.uk Absolutely amazing! We've been repeatedly stabbed by various doctors/nurses and injected with many concoctions to vaccinate us against what felt like every disease known to man... Everything (almost) is now packed and today we're sorting the very last details out. Soon we'll not have any more time for more details and what has not been sorted just won't be - tough luck... This reminds me I have to get started. We're off!!!