Valparaiso, Chile

After a few fun days in Buenos Aires, we made the short flight back over the Andes to Santiago, where our Airbnb host picked us up and drove us to the apartment we rented from him in Valparaiso.

We had a very enjoyable and relaxing two weeks there, and we’re very happy we got the chance to explore this funky and sometimes gritty city on the coast.

During our first weekend in the city, we took a walking tour taking in some of the beautiful buildings that are built on the hills overlooking the harbor.

During our first weekend in the city, we took a walking tour taking in some of the beautiful buildings that are built on the hills overlooking the harbor.

Valparaiso is justifiably famous for its street art, and we were introduced to the works of several local artists during our tour.

Valparaiso is justifiably famous for its street art, and we were introduced to the works of several local artists during our tour.

The styles vary, but the art makes hike up and down the city's hills worthwhile.

The styles vary, but the art makes hike up and down the city’s hills worthwhile.

“Valpo” as the locals call it, was once Chile’s most important sea port. It is the first major harbor for ships coming north after passing Cape Horn. The opening of the US transcontinental railroad and the Panama canal drastically reduced that traffic, and the harbor dimished in importance. Today it is home to part of Chile’s navy, a stopover for cruise ships, and a busy freight terminal.

Riding one of the electric trolley busses in downtown. Some of the busses are more than sixty years old, and the system is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Riding one of the electric trolley busses in downtown. Some of the busses are more than sixty years old, and the system is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Valparaiso harbor from our apartment.

Valparaiso harbor from our apartment.

A system of ascensores takes some of the work out of getting around the city. Most of these elevators are more than 100 years old, and they rattle and creak to make sure you know it.

A system of ascensores takes some of the work out of getting around the city. Most of these elevators are more than 100 years old, and they rattle and creak to make sure you know it.

The highlight of our visit to the excellent naval museum was meeting the builders of this model. When they finish their two year labor it will be the largest model ship in South America.

The highlight of our visit to the excellent naval museum was meeting the builders of this model. When they finish their two year labor it will be the largest model ship in South America.

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We visited two of the homes of Pablo Naruda, a famous and eccentric Chilean poet.

We visited two of the homes of Pablo Naruda, a famous and eccentric Chilean poet.

A last day of fun on the beach before we fly to winter.

A last day of fun on the beach before we fly to winter.

We celebrated the end of an amazing journey with a nice meal overlooking the harbor.

We celebrated the end of an amazing journey with a nice meal overlooking the harbor.

On our last full day in town we got together with some friends to take a cooking class. Quinn and Jen roll dough for empanadas.

On our last full day in town we got together with our friends, Cicilia, Jorge, and her son Caetan to take a cooking class. Here Quinn and Jen roll dough for empanadas.

Our day started with a visit to the market to buy ingredients. Here Quinn watches the fish cleaner filet the fish we bought from the fish seller.

Our day started with a visit to the market to buy ingredients. Here Quinn watches the fish cleaner filet the fish we bought from the fish seller.

Seems like a good place for a nap.

Seems like a good place for a nap.

Mmmm fresh veggies.

Mmmm fresh veggies.

We of course had plenty of wine to acompany our meal, and here we're pouring the pisco sours.

We of course had plenty of wine to acompany our meal, and here we’re pouring the pisco sours.

During our class fellow Denverites and overlanders Chad and Katie contacted us and were able to stop by to share a couple of bottles of wine with us. What a fantastic ending to the last day of our Big Big Trip!

As I write this we are waiting for our flight to Toronto from Santiago. What a journey this has been. We are so incredibly fortunate to have been able to undertake this adventure together as a family, and as this chapter in our lives comes to a close we look forward to spending time with family and friends whom we haven’t seen in far too long. We’d like to thank everyone who has stopped by to read about our adventures and travel virtually with us.

We don’t know what the future will hold, but this site will stick around. You never know when the Sparks will decide to spread their wings and fly once again.

With love,
Witt, Jen, and Quinn

6 Responses to 'Valparaiso, Chile'

  1. Cicilia says:

    Lovely memory!

  2. Bobbie staggs says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip. You are both very interesting writers, so it has been very enjoyable. In this post, looks like Quinn wasn’t so sure about the filleting of the fish! Congratulations on your well-planned, well-executed, amazing trip!

  3. Walt Meier says:

    It’s been fun following your travels. Good luck with the next adventures. Let us know if you come to the DC area!

  4. Rupert says:

    Awesome awesome awesome. So glad the trip was a success and the van eventually behaved itself and did sterling work. Quinn will grow up so different to all his peers now which I think is great. I hope you adjust back to a more static life. It is tough and I have itchy feet all the time. Have wheels will travel! Stay well guys.
    R