"If we walk up and down all of Valparaiso's stairs, we will have made a trip around the world."
Pablo Neruda - Chile's Noble Laureate
Chile - What a fascinating country. The people are friendly. They appeared to me to be easy going, and very aware of their environment. It was the second time in my life I had crossed the Equator. That's significant because on one evening, I noticed I was able to literally watch the moon rise off the horizon while standing there.
In Chile, I had the good fortune to meet a driver named Hector Naveas Alarcon. He gave us a ride on one of our first days in Chile, and I asked if he was interested in a day rate perhaps to the coast from Santiago. He agreed, and what transpired was a trip worth 3X the very reasonable cost. I showed Hector my website the night before our excursion, to give him an idea what I was looking for - photography - but not the tourist trap. He far exceeded expectations, and was a wealth of historical knowledge. His English was excellent, and his assistance with my limited Spanish was very helpful. Best travel investment: A good guide.
The excursion: From Santiago to Valparaiso on the coast, including a diversion to Emiliano Vineyard, on the way. A drive to the center of Valparaiso (the hill), a funicular to a tunnel to an elevator. Take the elevator to the top of the hill, where you enjoy an extraordinary 360 degree view of Valparaiso. I've include a couple shots looking down - as if taken by a drone. From the top of the hill, we walked to the bottom, taking photos of fantastic street art, some the result of an international invitation to artists back in 2010. Valparaiso... gritty and unpolished, baked by the sun, and poverty - but the people seem at peace.
Scroll down, for a small glimpse of Chile.