VINA DEL MAR

by Mario
Day 19,20,21
We said goodbye to Atacama :-(. Our adventure in South America is slowly coming to an end. We spent the last three days, as our brief tradition requires, being lazing,  resting and doing nothing. When we were in Warsaw we found “an apartment with a view” in in Vina del Mar through Airbnb service :-). We decided we needed such a moment of tranquility and relaxation, after nearly three weeks of traveling – during which we covered more than 6 thousand kilometers.
Our main plan was that this time we spend on the beach. However, it was not very successful because – what can we say – we are not too steady. But the good thing was we did not have to hurry anywhere and we could sleep as long as we wanted. Manka essentially facilitated our task. After a whole day out Mańka fell asleep even before we could return to the apartment, and sometimes we returned quite late. The main reason was that the crazy micro-buses (going at crazy speed for those types of vehicles) took us, despite the drivers’ previous assurances, on a different way we wanted. The problem was that Vina del Mar is situated on the mountain slopes and this another way meant driving up the mountains instead going along the coast. For this reason, we were not able to return at reasonable time.
The days passed us quite lazy, we got up late. We spent an hour or two on the beach, then we drove for a dinner at the local picadas. On the second evening we were invited by Ivan (who was our couchsurfer three weeks ago) and his wife for a dinner. So we went to the other side of Vina. On the site we met a couple of Argentine-Venezuelan couchsurfers who stayed for a night a day earlier at our former host.
We spent a very pleasant evening. We felt almost as if we were already in Chile much longer, long enough to make friends among Chileans. The friends you meet in the evening for a dinner to discuss about everything and nothing. It is an amazing feeling.
At the beginning of our journey we promised ourselves to return to Valparaiso, even only to buy a dream catcher for Mania. We had a great opportunity to do this, there was one microbus (CLP 700 zł ~ 5 / person)  leaving from the stop in front of the apartment and after 40 minutes we were already in the main port of Valparaiso. In addition, we also wanted to see Valpo in the evening. It seemed to us that the city truly comes alive and shows its charm in the evening. One of the obligatory attractions was also 🙂 Cruz restaurant, which we recall here. If you are ever in Valparaiso, you must visit this place, if only for the decor. Mania will also have some good memories related to this restaurant because after we sat at a table she was taken by one of the waiters :-). The happy child was returned to us when we already finished our chorillan. This is one of the things that is an essential element of traveling with a child – immediate interaction with others, and thus the opportunity to know another part of a given country. The less touristic part.
But the biggest adventure awaited us on the last day. About 11 p.m. we had a scheduled flight from Santiago to Berlin. There was no point to come back to Santiago a day early. We decided to go to the airport directly from Vina del mar. We already covered this distance 3 times. Each time, as we entered the station, after a maximum of 10 minutes we were already sitting on the bus, ready to go. This time it was different. We showed up at the station at 6:45 p.m. and immediately stood in line at the ticket office. The queue was extremely long, but the service went smoothly and it did not arouse special concern. It turned out, however, that it should. The first possible connection and the earliest two tickets to Santiago were only at 7:45 p.m. We started to worry about whether we would have enough time to make it. Our worries got even more serious when the man at the counter said that the bus arrived at Santiago just after 10 p.m. Assuming we would be lucky enough to change the buses quickly and go to the airport, we would only have  max. 20 minutes left to our flight… You can imagine what thoughts ran through our heads then :-). However, on our way to the capital we came up with the idea to write to Johanna, from whom we rented an apartment in Vina and who lives in Santiago if she could take us to the airport. She didn’t refuse to help us ;-). We run into the departures hall about 15 minutes before the scheduled boarding and 40 minutes before the departure. Only thanks to Johanna we managed to get on a plane and get back to Poland as planned – tens of hours later. Once again, thank you! :-).

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