big trip day 25

The Coast — Zapallar, Concón, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso

The rain yesterday meant today was sunny. Perfect day for the coast. Only 2.5 hours’ drive from Santiago and it was the coast already. I hadn’t been to a beach for a while so it was refreshing to watch the waves hit the rocks and smell the fresh breeze. Although the sun was out it was still cool, around 9-12°C.

We stopped at Zapallar, an absolutely pristine cove surrounded by rolling hills. The beach was sand, the waves striking and the sky the deepest blue. The houses on the hill were swanky, the place felt like a fishing village nested in a high end resort. We sat on the beach for a while, and it was very pleasant. Definitely a place for weekend home if one has the money.

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We turned back and drove towards Concón for lunch. On the way stopping briefly at roadside fruit stalls. Each sack of apples, avocados, oranges or whatever fruit was 1,000 pesos ($2).

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Lunch was at one of the many seafood restaurants in Concón. We had empanadas as starter — I had crab and cheese and the others had scallops, razor clams as filling. Very yummy. I was too hungry and ate most of mine before I remembered about pictures. I did take a picture of my main course, a mountain of seafood. There were machas (razor clams), baby scallops, mussels, shrimps, loco (like abalone), crab and piure, an orange slimy clam-like local delicacy.

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The drive down the coast was breathtaking. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of looking at the sky, the sea and the beach.

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Mid-afternoon we reached Viña del Mar, which oozed money. Even on a winter’s day the promenade was full of people walking around and being seen. With a posh hotel, casino, palm-lined streets it had a Monte Carlo feel to it. Part of being out and about in the cold was having ice cream, of course. The shop we went to was having a promotion — get 2 scoops and have either one free topping or an extra scoop. I had orange, aloe vera and mixed berries. Yummy.

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It was almost sundown but we had one final stop — the hills of Valparaíso. To get up there we rode in a rickety Victorian funicular, the Ascensor Concepción built in 1883. At the top are museums and a nice walk (if only it weren’t getting dark). Valparaíso is distinctively known for its sprawl up its hills.

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A quiet drive back to Santiago. It’s been an incredibly full 5 days, and K&P went 200% to take me to all these places.