Disembarked in Valparaiso, Chile. We obtained land transportation on our own from this port and go inland to Santiago. Santiago is the country's capital and is 71 miles inland.
Valparaiso is snuggled up close to the coast line. The street right off from the ship is perhaps the only flat area. It gently inclines and the houses are built upwards. It a gentle incline but it makes the harbor area a nice tourist location.
This coastal town was clearly in its glory in the years before the Panama Canal was open. The great ships that came around the Horn clearly made a rest stop here. This port got the name of "San Francisco South". We were here only for a few minutes and then 6 of us rented a van and we raced off to Santiago which was a 90 minute drive.
We stayed in Santiago for two days. We were pleasantly surprised of what we saw in the city. Apparently different European groups settled this area over the last two hundred years and it shows in their buildings and monuments throughout the city. Chilenian architects studied in France and Italy so one currently sees 19th Century European designed sprinkled throughout the older sections of the city. Some of the closer areas to the downtown area reminded us of Italy but not quite so crowded.
What we began to notice was that there were many high rise apartment buildings throughout the city. Building that have 20 or more floors are all around. We took a city tour from the center of the city out to the newest side of the city which was the eastern area. I admit I did not expect what I saw. The area had ultra modern buildings and malls. This area looked like something you may see in the best financial districts throughout Europe or US. The United Nations has a major presence in this city within the beautiful spacious and wooded area. They have buildings here that are dedicated to the issues of world hunger and the laborer rights.
From the city itself we could see a bit of the Andes Mountains nearby with some ice still at the top of them. It was then that I was informed that people from Chile like to ski and snowboard. That explained why so many persons were working out on mountain bikes.
This area is actually a ski resort for Europeans during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. Since it is summer here, it accommodates Europeans and Canadians looking to escape their winter.
Time to fly westward to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It's a two hour flight.