I Am The Queen!

February 26, 2018

It started as a joke when we noticed a hotel in Valparaiso named “Hotel La Reina Victoria” down by the port. It was built in 1899 and soon thereafter (1906) destroyed in an 8.2 earthquake. It sits right on the Plaza Sotomayor and was named for Queen Victoria in England.

I started kidding Mickey that I was the queen and of course, my every wish & whim should be met (where to eat, the day’s activities, etc.). Then today at a sort of crafts market a few Metro stops away in Santiago, I spotted this cute, touristy refrigerator magnet and had to have it.

I am the Queen!

Sort if corny but it will be a good remembrance of our trip to Chile and it meets the “easy to pack” requirement!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures. For now and the next several days we’ll explore the long & skinny country of Chile!

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Some Items You’ll Regret Not Packing On Your Trip To Chile

February 25, 2018

Don’t forget the small toiletries & medicaments we all routinely use at home for space or weight concerns. Yes, we travel light, but how much can these things weigh??

I recall paying around $15.00 for extra-strength aspirin in Italy and something equally outrageous for some decongestants.

Though I rarely get sick at home, the last 3 times we’ve traveled I’ve been hit with various maladies. In Thailand a year ago I caught a cold that peaked on the exact day of my all-day cooking class and could not even enjoy the wonderful dishes we were preparing.

My fellow Thailand cooking classmates

On our X-country road trip (Seattle to Detroit) last fall I ended up in Urgent Care with acute bronchitis & a doozy of a sinus infection. And as luck would have it in Valparaiso?  I caught another bug.

Apparently I’m clumsy too (Near Face-Plant in Santiago), tripping and falling and constantly bumping into things. Of course the distractions are everywhere, and you rarely find a level sidewalk or street. Mickey is constantly rescuing me, but not always successfully.

Pricey Band-aids and antibacterial salve

A banged up shin from an iron foot-rest on a barstool (yep drinking can be dangerous!) left me bloody. Two days later I ran into a round metal stantion (one of several) at La Plaza de Armas and opened another bleeding gash! The Band-aids & salve for those mishaps totaled almost $37.00! Hard to believe I know, so be forewarned there aren’t any Target or Wal-Mart stores around for these seemingly ordinary items, pack a few with you!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures. For now and the next several days we’ll explore the long & skinny country of Chile!


Valparaiso, Chile -Colorful City Of A Million Stairs

February 21, 2018

Valparaiso is often compared to San Francisco and after having just spent a week there I can see the comparison. Both are sea-coast towns on the Pacific Ocean with lots of good seafood. Both are known for their artsy-fartsy feel and both have a lot of very steep roads.

But “Valpo” as some refer to the Chilean city (pop ~250,000), is way more hilly than San Francisco and must have a million stairs.The artsy part of artsy-fartsy is everywhere with some of the most colorful street art seen anywhere. They paint most any broad, flat surface as well as many of the stairways, the houses or whatever suits their fancy.

A mural across the road from our hotel

The view from the lanai of our hotel

The city itself is one big beautiful pallet.

It’s always interesting, but what goes down must go back up and after a week here you are either dead of a coronary or much stronger for it. We are stronger but will not miss the endless stair climbing and steep streets.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures. For now and the next several days we’ll explore the long & skinny country of Chile!


Lunch In Mercado Cardonal

February 19, 2018

Every city has their central market or Mercado Central. The bigger the city the bigger the Mercado, but even smaller towns always have at least the fruit & veggie vendors. In Valparaiso it’s a big one, about 2 square blocks and it’s called Mercado Cardonal.

We had a late breakfast at the hotel and did not plan on eating at the market, but the entire 2nd floor is restaurants and we happened across fresh mussels (mejillones in Spanish), which Mickey loves, so lunch it was.

Empanada of the fried variety

I wasn’t hungry but ended up having a crab & cheese empanada. They are a common snack or light meal sold off carts in the street, small kiosks and restaurants everywhere.

They have a lot of different type of fillings; meat, onions & potatoes, meat & cheese, different types of seafood etc. Most that we’ve seen however looked to be sort of dry and unappealing but they’re sold everywhere so I decided to try one. I’m glad I did too! There are 2 types. Either baked in an oven or fried. I had the “frito” variety.

We finished up our Mercado adventure buying some limes & raisins, then took a “collectivo” which is a cab shared by as many people who can fit, all paying individually (very cheap), back to a more central location where we could walk the rest of the way.

Aloha, Mikie

~just a blogger, fighting like a girl!

 


Chile Is Fussy About The Condition Of US Bills They’ll Accept In Foreign Exchange

February 9, 2018

It’s always tricky figuring out the best way handle your currency needs in a foreign country. Travelers cheques are so passé, not to mention expensive. That was one thing I liked about the €uro. It worked in all European countries. But then of course the bureaucrats in Brussels made almost everything else about the European Union suck (no more individual national sovereignty, taxes, taxes and more taxes, etc.), but the unified currency was good.

Our first job was to get some Chilean money (pesos, abbreviated CLP), to be able to get from the airport to our Airbnb apartment in Santiago. And we came across a “CAMBIO” right in LAX before taking off. Any fool knows the airport is probably the worst place to change money but we just wanted a little bit till we had time to hunt up a better rate.

The official exchange rate is 609 Chilean pesos per US dollar. The rate at LAX was 590, not great so we only changed $40. The taxi ride to our apartment ended up being 15,000 pesos (~$24.00) so we were covered.

The best rate we could find on the ground in Santiago (luckily there are several Cambios in the same area) was 605 so we changed about half of our US cash to pesos.

What we weren’t expecting was them to reject any bills that had the slightest tear or any other markings. For example, they rejected a US $50 that had a tiny ink stamp on it and also refused about 4 or 5 twenty dollar bills because of small tears on the edges.

When we left Bueños Aires a few years ago and tried to exchange our remaining Argentinian pesos for US currency they wouldn’t take any of it back. Obviously they already had our dollars which were more valuable so we were stuck with Argentine pesos we could not use. But in all our travel over the years we’ve never run across this little quirk about requiring perfect condition bills. I guess there’s always something. That’s what makes travel so intetesting.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.  For now and the next several days we’ll explore the long & skinny country of Chile!


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