Longish journey from Mount Pleasant to Santiago via Punta Areanas, but a quick transfer from the airport since we arrived as domestic and then Saturday evening traffic was quite light. We know our way around now, so went straight out for a walk and a bite to eat in the buzzing area across the river we ‘d been to last week.

Today, Sunday, we were up early and went for a trip to Valparaiso, the port city about 100k away to the north. Passed through agricultural land and the pleasant wine growing area of Casablanca and cam to the city. It does have a charm with statues and small parks everywhere. The statues commemorate those who helped to liberate Chile from the Spanish, including Lord Cochrane and Bernardo O’ Higgins, and also those involved in the War of the Pacific where Chile fought with Peru and Bolivia for territory in the north of the country. There are lots of old buildings, with a Queen Victoria Hotel too, and a steep hill with multi-coloured cottages clinging to the sides. The British were here in the 19th century and controlled much of the shipping and mining until the Panama Canal opened. The whole area is a World Heritage Site, but it did look decidedly seedy on a Sunday morning, not helped by the ubiquitous graffiti on every doorway, monument and wall. Very interesting, though. We continued on the the adjacent city of Vina Mar, much more up- market with more modern buildings, but still some 100 year old residences. Also lots of tree lined boulevards and park ares. In the grounds of one of the museums is not only an original Easter Island statue, but also a Rodin sculpture, The Defender. Then on to some beautiful beaches with lots of locals enjoying the sunshine and the surf.

We’re now at the airport again for our flight to Quito, where we spilt up in the morning for our different itineraries in the Galapagos…