After an overnight flight we arrived in Santiago Chile. I should say this was a few days after there was an earthquake in off the coast of central Chile With a Richter scale of 8.8 causing widespread damage, we thought our trip would have been cancelled. We had enough confidence that GCT our tour operator would ensure that things were safe for our stay in Santiago. In fact when we got there our guide told us the company had sent in their own inspectors to evaluate our hotel. Walking around the city there was no evidence of a place that had just experienced an earthquake.
Six of us were scheduled for this trip but one of our party cancelled at the last moment well did she miss some fun Which we never allowed her to forget. We had dinner that evening at a restaurant on a hillside that gave us a beautiful view of the City and the Andes mountains in a distance. Though slightly overcast the mountains were clearly decernable and offered a beautiful sunset. After a great meal meeting and greeting other members of our group we were entertained with live entertainment.
We toured around the city catching a glimpse of the beautiful architecture strolling in Constitution Square and stopping at some historical buildings for example the former Congress building. During our free time we got a chance to enjoy some of the local eateries, pretty crowded during lunchtime. A ride via the funicular up to San Cristobal Hill to get a better view of the city and to take a trek up to the sanctuary where the statue of Mary stands, reminded me of the Corcovado in Rio de Janiero.
Interestingly we were told that there were several aftershocks but fortunately for us we did not feel them. After a few days in Santiago we started on our way to Valparaiso which is where the port is. We travelled by bus passing many vineyards and beautiful landscapes. We made a stop to enjoy more of the Chilean culture. We got an up close look at a Huasa (female horsewoman) and Huaso ( skilled horseman). A Hauso would be compared to the Argentinean gaucho. We enjoyed some Chilean empanadas while watching some native dancers who also entertained us during a sit down lunch..
We continued on our trek to Valparaiso enjoying the beautiful drive along the coastline making a brief stop at Archaeological Museum (Museo de Fonck) in Vina del Mar featuring an Easter Island Moai statue.
Before boarding our ship we took a brief driving tour around Valparaiso, clean town , with an impressive Hero’s monument.
The day we passed through they had an outdoor market in session.
We were now ready to board out floating hotel