Sunday, 20 February 2011

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

Heads we stay home and watch the fifteen inch TV screen with rabbit ears and two fuzzy channels or tails we go to Viña del Mar. 
Three heads in a row.
So off to Viña del Mar we went.  Viña is considered to be more touristy than Valpo and it certainly has a lot more high rise than Valpo and very little character.

On the way to catch a bus we happened upon some sort of down hill bike carnival.  We’re yet to find where we’re supposed to put our ear to the ground to find out about these sorts of things.  Perhaps there’s an opening for some sort of grassroots magazine that promotes all culture.  If only we spoke Spanish.
Every so often someone would race down a hill and come out through this little building in the plaza and land gracefully on the ramp.  The hills of Valpo are a goldmine for a dozen different action movies.  Think BMX Bandits meets Notting Hill.  With all the roof tops holding hands its easy to imagine James Bond leaping to safety.
There are so many buses here that we walked to a street where the traffic was flowing north – towards Viña.  It’s a case of waiting till you see the destination you want and putting your hand out.   The drivers get paid per passenger they pick up so they’ll stop for you no matter what.  The downside of this system is they toot at every person in the hope that they too want a ride. 
There was a sign on the bus (in Spanish) which read, Ride now, pay later. I had no idea what this meant.  I handed over the extremely measly sum of CH$700 for all of us to go about 10km to Viña.  Once on the open road I realized what the pay later part of the sign meant.  The bus rattled several fillings out of my teeth and at one point the kids managed to swap seats without meaning to.  I believe the bus was only three years overdue for a service.

Our first sight was a private beach where a set of steps complete with red carpet allowed paying tourists to climb over the ornate handrail.  I don’t know what the cost of this was but there was no comparison to the free beaches of Noosa.  We witnessed Viña style surfing which is the first time I’ve seen surfers surf towards a wave to catch it.
Castillo Wulff has the quirkiness of a glass floored walkway allowing people to see the waves crashing below them.  It’s a very small art gallery.
There is a large floral clock by the entrance of Viña and it could be the high light for many visitors.  Valpo lacks in greenery, as most cities do and it is very rare to see vibrant flowers here.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons people paint their houses so many different colours and artists proliferate like scattered seeds.

We rattled our way home on another rollercoaster bus ride and enjoyed pasta on the terrace.

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