At the last moment of our 5 month trip, I finally found something I didn´t expect anymore: A Latin American city in which I could imagine myself to live in for longer! All the cities we had seen so far were not really great or only cool to see as a tourist for a few days, at least for me. Only La Paz, Bogotá and Medellin had really impressed me in different ways, but I still did not find a city I would like to live in. Now I finally did: Valparaiso! We arrived there with our very last night bus after a journey of about 7 hours. The weather was pleasantly warm but with a refreshing breeze from the ocean – really perfect. We stayed in Hostel DeVisita which had really nice staff, a great kitchen and the most impressive showers I have ever seen: Rainshower head and massage nozzles included! Amazing. We left the hostel immediately after checking in to explore the city, first on our own and then with the really great Tours4Tips tour – the best so far after the impressive tour in Medellin. From the first moment on, I fell in love with this city which is really beautiful with its hills full of old crumbling but charming buildings decorated with the most impressive street art and colours. Valparaiso really is a paradise, one for bohemians and art lovers or simply people that care about more than the looks of their apartments interior. Here some impressions:
The city, like actually a lot of things in Chile, reminded me of Turkey as it looks a little bit like a small Istanbul with the hills full of buildings and the ocean. The country in general reminds me of Turkey as people look quite similar, they share the same family importance and meetings with many relatives, have a similar really funny sense of humour and much more. No surprise that Chileans also love Turkish telenovelas. Maybe that is another reason why Chile felt a lot like home to me, at least in this last part in Valparaiso and Santiago. Because of the amazing street art and the less intimidating size of the city, I think Valparaiso would be actually better to live in than its “cousin city” Istanbul. I might validate this belief one day in the future…
On our own, we also did a small harbour tour with a very funny tour guide who talked so fast it was impossible to follow his Spanish (the Chilean accent is a challenge in itself). Still, he was great as he also performed a song about the city and showed us all the sites at the harbour.
We also enjoyed the hostel’s kitchen and cooked some great food (there was an oven) and again were happy to find strawberries that were really delicious again. I will miss them at home soon as it is impossible to find good ones in winter.
Valparaiso also has beaches and is located right next to summer paradise town Viña del Mar. Another plus for the city and something we checked out.
After only two days (too short!), we left for our last stop on this trip, capital Santiago de Chile. This city is definitely less beautiful than Valparaiso with its modern skyscrapers and huge population. Still, we had a good time there and found that there are a lot of great opportunities for the inhabitants: Huge parks that invite to chill or do sports, nearby mountains for weekend trips and really good and cheap shopping. We decided to do couchsurfing at our final spot and found our great host Pablo who lived with his father a little bit outside the city. On our first evening, we were invited to their neighbours/friends/relatives that lived in the next blog and had “once”, a light evening meal, together. The two kids of Pablo´s brother´s girlfriend had fun at the trampolin and in the pool and we had delicious hamburgers with the obligatory avocado and tomato. This evening was what finally convinced me of the similarity to Turkey – we even had real tea that was lightened with hot water, just like in Turkey!
On Sunday, Pablo went with us into the mountains around Santiago where we spent a relaxing day next to the river, enjoying the sun and the landscape.
In the evening, we cooked potato salad and meat balls German style for Pablo and his father to thank them for their hospitality.
On Monday, we went to the park to do some Yoga together (Pablo is really good) before Chris and I used our last day to explore Santiago. We walked around town, took a look at the Plaza de Armas, climbed the Santa Lucia hill on which Santiago was founded by Pedro de Valdivia and went up to the Sky Lounge of the Costanera centre, the highest building of Latin America. It was cool to see the city as it is today and comparing it with its history – the book I was reading at the moment was Isabel Allende’s Inés of my soul which is about the exploration and foundation of Chile by Pedro de Valdivia. I can only recommend to read this book while travelling in Chile, the perspective is that of Inés Suarez, Valdivia´s lover and a strong woman that could be called the mother of Chile.
On Tuesday, February 2nd, it was finally time to go to the airport. Our flight to Paris was ok, perfectly on time but unfortunately way less comfortable than our average night bus. We took our continuing flight to Amsterdam and then a train to Cologne. Amsterdam greeted us with ice cold winter weather and dark clouds – welcome back to “normal” seasons.
In Cologne, we were welcomed by my parents and went for traditional Cologne food in a brewery and the obligatory Kölsch beer – it is amazing to be back! Our trip and backpacking in general was awesome but coming home is too. Especially as we came right in time for carnival which is simply the best celebration ever. Even the winter weather cannot ruin that. Therefore, thanks for reading our blog all this time, enjoy the next days and Alaaf to all of you!!!