|The view from Cerro San Sebastian.|
|Pucon and that volcano.|
So it's been 4 weeks in Chile, and so far so good. My first stop was the capital of Santiago, with it's museums, busy streets and air pollution. As far as cities go, it's pretty cool - but unfortunately I only had time to do the touristy things - most things were actually covered on a free walking tour run by the town hall. I enjoyed it, and could live there - although the metro is absolutely packed during peak hour - you miss trains all the time due to lack of space! I next moved on to Valparaiso, or "Valpo" as the locals call it, a big port town which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. With it's Trolley Bus, coloured houses and graffiti everywhere, the town was one of the most important ports in the South Pacific for ships going between the Atlantic and Pacific before the Panama Canal, had some of the first banks in Chile, and had it's Golden Age in the 19th Century (and I don't think anything has had any repair work since!), and it also has 1 of 3 of Pablo Neruda's houses. Up for a bit of the open air and Chile's natural beauty, I packed up and jumped on a bus to Pucón. Volcanoes, national parks and volcanic-sand lake beaches, this little adventure town is beautiful, although it looked just like any other ski/adventure town (hello Queenstown!). I could have stayed longer to be honest, done a bit more hiking, lazed on the lakeside, but I am not here for just backpacking, I did come here for work. And that has taken me to Concepción!
So it's back to work, and back to reality. But this is what I came here for really! The last 3 weeks have been exciting, but I just missed a few big events. I did feel an earthquake in Valpo, but missed the Red Bull Downhill in the city, where crazy people cycle down its huge hills from top to bottom in around 3mins - jumps and stunts (and occasionally stray dogs too) included. Youtube it - that's what a GoPro was made for! I also missed, but probably for the best, the eruption of Mt Villacara. It had been puffing a bit of smoke since early Feb, and when I saw it, I knew it was only a matter of time. 3 days after I had left, it blew it's top - ah, the pictures I could have got! So, will my new city, Conce, be as exciting as these two places? Tsunami maybe?
|Street Art in Valpo.|
|The cetnre of Concepcion - the Justice Tribunal building.|
|Concepcion's main shopping district.|
|Every childcare centre has one!|
By this stage, I had a job, and was on the hunt for a real room. 3 weeks of living in hostels really start to get to you - full of noisy/boring/weird backpackers, bunk beds, snoring (always!!) and dirty and packed kitchens with no room for cooking or fridge space. My host at the hostel was lovely, and helped me with hot water and a fork for my pot noodles, while juggling a baby in the other arm, but it was time to get out. I managed to find a place close to the city centre, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle and smelliness of where the hostel was situated. You can't imagine how excited I was to go shopping and cook, do a load of washing and hang and fold my clothes - pure heaven! To top this off, the same day I went to a free concert in the city - Rock en Conce! Full of local acts, alcohol and uni students, it was a great night, and I staggered back to my new room full of booze and contentment.
|The "micro" buses that move the people.|
|People still use these!|
|Conce is a great place to live!|
|The University of Concepcion.|