Conejitos, conejitos! Huevitos, huevitos! It was finally almost Easter (aka Semana Santa), and the sidewalk was completely packed with vendors selling chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Ironically, in the market on the other side of the street, vendors were selling skinned rabbits, as well as almost every type of seafood you could possibly imagine. After all, this was Valparaíso.
As I looked out into the ocean, I could smell the salt in the air. It was Easter break, and I had come to this city with 9 friends from the Chile study abroad program to absorb the culture that is…. Valparaíso. This city is a historic port town, dating back to the 1500s. Even today, Valparaíso remains a beloved city, known for its funiculars and colorful houses in the hills.
Walking through the streets of the city, I could an artistic vibe all around. Around every corner there was another mural on the walls. Even the graffiti, which would normally be considered a defacement of public property, was beautiful. And of course, La Sebastiana, one of Pablo Neruda’s 3 houses in Chile, is located in this city. Each day, as I was climbing up and down the cerros, I felt a creative inspiration… to draw, to write, anything would do.
This was also a time of bonding with my fellow friends on the study abroad in Chile program. Well, with 3 beds, 1 bathroom, and 10 people, there was no other choice but to bond. But we all had a good time, taking turns cooking meals for each other and helping out with household chores (we rented an apartment). Although I must admit that I was relieved to return back to Santiago at the end of the trip.
During this time, we also went to Viña del Mar. This city is also called La Ciudad Jardín, or The Garden City. While it is a neighbor to Valparaiso, Viña is much more mmm… posh. With beautiful beaches, casinos, festivals, and shopping, it is easy to see why Viña is such a popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, with the seasons changing, it was too cold to go into the water when we went. Actually it was too cold to even wear a swimsuit— I was curled up on the beach in my fleece and jeans still trying to keep warm.
But I can’t complain. I was in an internationally renowned resort town with my new friends whom I absolutely love. Life is wonderful right now, and I’m always excited to see what tomorrow will bring.