PATAGONIA & VALPARAISO by Susan Chalom
What a great surprise Valparaiso… From smoggy Santiago, I knew there had to be something more exciting so I ventured.
NW about an 1 ½ along the coast to reach this highly underrated Bohemian Chilean Port… Built into the mountains, one first notices the striking colors of the homes and clever, colorful street art which is actually part of the architecture… not at all with rebellious intent. The city has an artsy, cool, carefree vibe ,totally unique and no coincidence home to at least 5 educational institutions… Old Funiculars and Trolley cars still function, cut electrical wires are the norm, tons of small cafes and ethnic restaurants abound, street markets and surprisingly not too many tourists… I was impressed by the Stock Exchange building, the oldest in Latin America, stunning new Victorian renovations barely inches away from falling down old gothic homes. The cemetery was elegant and had a lightness about it…
One of the most important seaports in South America before the Panama Canal one can sense this city is ready to flourish again.
Raw, Rugged, Desolate with exquisite Panoramas!
Getting to Patagonia in southern Chile from the east coast is no easy journey… but a worthwhile one.
A land where the same vista will never look the same… Unpredictable weather conditions change from minute to minute; 60 mph wind gusts, sudden rainstorms and extreme fog can hide the beautiful views for hours or days on end.
Part of Unesco's Biosphere Reserve system since 1978, Torres del Paine National Park is home to a variety of wildlife… graceful Guanacos , Pumas their enemy, ostrich- like Nandos, Andean Condors, Flamingos and many other rarely seen bird species are seen with frequency.
Aquamarine lakes, the greenest mossy forests, rugged rocky mountain terrain, stunning blue glaciers, craters, caves and the majestic granite peaks of Torres Del Paine all contribute to the uniqueness of this region.
By Susan Chalom