It seems like we just got here, but non. It’s been two weeks and it’s time to go home. As you read this, I am probably engaged in an in-flight marathon of Marvel Comics movies: Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Captain America: Civil War; Captain America: It’s Mueller Time!
After leaving the desert, we flew to Santiago, and then drove to Valparaiso, a port city of approximately 500,000 residents, thousands of stray dogs,* and 45 hills. It felt so good to be back at sea level . . . our natural comfort zone.
We stayed at a small hotel on Cerro Alegre named Casa Higueras.
This is the view from our balcony.
We were woken by an earthquake on our first morning in Valparaiso — 6.2 on the Richter Scale, but centered approximately 225 miles away. Our bed vibrated, waking us up at 7:20am. No one seemed to be alarmed, so there was nothing to do but get up and start the day.
The Photographer is always keen to speak with residents who are not hospitality workers when we travel. I suggested that he ask our travel agent to find us a journalist or writer who might be prevailed upon to spend a half-day telling us about Chilean politics and economic history.
The agency did one better; they connected us with Phototour — a small business that has created tours of the city that combine walking with with historical narrative, conversation, and historic photos. Such a treat for anyone interested in really digging into the history, politics, economy, and culture of Valparaiso and Chile more broadly.
We took some photos of ourselves, and helped others take theirs.
Then, there was trade exploration and economic stimulus. Or, put another way, the Directrice went looking for things. I found a charming shop for clothes and jewelry, Bazar La Pasion, where I purchased a chic necklace and a witty ring.
In case you are wondering how well my vacation wardrobe worked, I would say, very well.
I wore two of the dresses one time each and wore the two other dresses three times each. I didn’t wear the black cardigan, the black smart jacket, the black floral blouse, the jeans, or the black flats; I don’t know why. Everything else was worn at least once, if not more.
Just before dinner, we meandered back to our hotel passing by an important bakery that I had taken note of during our first pass through the neighborhood. I am very good at finding beautiful bakeries.
Here, I am wearing an over-sized (possibly just too big) silk blouse under my cape-back blouse. I bought the blouse from Gilt and was dismayed when it arrived and I saw how big it was. But I soon realized that it was perfect for layering — under another top or a sweater — because the silk is so lightweight and easily crushed.
Do you see what I mean?
Here are the khakis and jacket with a white tunic and floral camisole underneath. You’ve seen them before. The short jacket gives the tunic a little shape.
The Photographer takes lots of candid snaps of me when we are on vacation — I think I am mostly providing scale for his visual vacation memories. Periodically he will call, “Saint Sebastian,” which means that I am to adopt the look of a religious martyr.
Remember the green dress I mentioned in the second vacation post? Here are a few more photos.
I ordered this dress from Cuyana one day before our trip and I am so pleased with it. Tres femme. Indeed, a docent in the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art approached me in one of the galleries, gesturing with her hands and smiling. I couldn’t follow her entirely — I caught the word “hermosa” — but I think her point was, “You look elegant. Thank you for dressing up for the museum.” When I apologized and told her — in very poor Spanish — that I did not speak Spanish well, she laughed, gave me a light hug and a kiss on the cheek. Such warmth!
The backdrop for these last few photos are from our final stop in the vineyard region between Valparaiso and Santiago.
Though I am not a drinker, I like vineyards because they are such pretty places. We stayed at Hotel La Casona de Vina Matetic for two nights. The primary purpose of our stay was resting, but even here, there were activities planned.
We did not swim because it was 60 degrees here, but I did admire the elegance of the pool.
Although neither of us has ridden a horse since the age of 12, The Photographer indulged my wish to sit on a horse and walk in super slow motion around the property under the watchful eye of an experienced guide.
The vineyard is located in a large property that includes a number of operations: diverse farming as well as cows and sheep, supervised by herding dogs and many barnyard cats. And monitored by at least two foxes. We spied this one sunning himself in the late afternoon.
* Actually, the dogs are not strays, per se. They are quiltros, dogs that are not owned by individuals but rather tended by communities. They generally live outside, but are fed by businesses and individuals and cared for by local veterinarians. They are companionable and docile (indeed, better behaved than many U.S. pets!) and I wanted to bring all of them home with me.