I only spent a day in Valparaíso. We got in early in the morning to pick a cargo up of Chilean grapes and were to leave the next morning. After tropical Central America, the temperate southern South America was quite a pleasant change. Wandering around the streets of Valparaíso, I hardly broke out into sweat, passing by numerous street vendors selling items such as fruits – including some of the juiciest and sweetest nectarines I have tasted and rattanwork. The city had an almost European feel towards it with long and wide avenues, plazas and the many monuments laid out along the plazas and avenues.
Chile at that time when I was there was under military rule, controlled by the rightist regime of General Augusto Pinochet. The presence of uniformed personnel on the streets did not go unnoticed. In fact, for some reason which escapes me, I was stopped from taking photographs along the Avenida de Brasil, right after I snapped a photograph of the bust of José Manuel Balmaceda, along the avenue.
I also discovered to my very pleasant surprise, the quality of the local wine, which was very afforadble. For a few dollars, we could get our hands on a bottle of wines from the Concha y Toro vineyards.
One regret that I have is that I did not have the opportunity to visit the adjoining city of Viña del Mar, famed for its many sandy beaches. Well perhaps one day … when or if ever, I do not know.