Posts tagged ‘Viña’

October 18, 2011

Part 1: The Maternal Figure Visits

I know, I know. I have been bad about keeping up with y’all, but I have good reason. My (real) mom was here to visit, so I spent every moment I had with her. School and life went on hold while we acted like tourists and explored Viña and Valpo. So make yourself some tea, have a seat, and enjoy this picture time-line of our week.

We went on a walk the first night she arrived to see the lights of Valpo.

The next day we hit up all of the hot spots in Viña and Valpo, beginning with the famous flower clock.

Continuing on the coastline, we dropped in the Castillo de Wulff  to see an art exhibit.

That was the same castle with the awesome glass floors that SOME people (ahem Mom) were afraid to walk on…

Onwards to Valpo, we rode a micro all the way to the port and took a spin on an acensor.

Gravity in our favor this time, we strolled down the hill and stopped in the first church of Valpo, Iglesia de la Matriz.

It was just so exhausting walking down the cerro that we were in desperate need of some ice cream. Two scoops, waffle cone, dipped in chocolate, rolled in peanuts, to be exact.

Took a trolley through Valpo to Casa Central of la Católica where I used to have class. On our way back from the metro we came across this profile of Dad so we just had to take a picture. Just kidding! It’s a moai from Easter Island outside of Museo de Fonk.

We managed to pack quite a bit in those first two days, plus my favorite food cooked by my host mom. She was so excited to be hosting two gringas, so our plates were never empty.

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August 6, 2011

Metro, Taxi, Micro, Feet

One week of class under my belt. There’s a lot of freedom to switch classes and such all the way up to mid-September, but I don’t think I’m gonna take advantage of that opportunity. Why? My professors are easy (enough) to understand. The subject matters keep my attention. (Yes, even the grammar class…) But most of all, I have FINALLY figured out my route to get to class. This may not seem like that big of a deal to some, but I am not very accustomed to public transportation. I can count on one hand the times I’ve used a bus to get around in the States. Adding fuel to the fire there are approximately 17 different locations of my university across Viña del Mar and Valparaíso alone. Of the classes I am taking, I have two classes in Viña and three in Valpo.

Incidentally, one time I asked for directions to the campus center. I received blank stares in response because nobody understands the concept of a ‘campus’ like we have in EEUU. There isn’t one place you go to every time you have class, instead you have to jump between towns and find different buildings that are in the middle of one of these hundreds of cerros. (These ‘cerros’ or hills I will explain at another time…)

So about getting to class, I have many options. Metro, taxi, micro, feet. The metro is really clean and it is never very crowded. It is a really pretty ride when we’re not in a tunnel because it runs right along the water’s edge. The only downside is that it is quite a ways walk to the metro station and it’s kinda expensive. Taxis I really don’t take unless I’m with my mom. These taxis that we take aren’t like normal taxis; instead they are shared by four people. (I know. It sounds like it’s straight out of  Taken…) Once the driver gets four people, he will drop each person off at their respective places. Haven’t figured out the signage for that one yet though plus it’s expensive. Maybe I’ll figure it out by next week.

Ah, micros. I’m growing fonder by the day. That’s the bus system here. Once I get my student card, a ride costs a mere 120 pesos, which is 26¢ in the US. Feet never fail, except when I’m running late or it’s over two miles. That’s my limit.

I enjoy walking to both of my classes in Viña because:

  • It’s free.
  • I get to see the city
  • I can walk off all of this white bread that I’m CONSTANTLY eating four times a day.

I take two different micros to my classes in Valpo. One drops me right off in front of the building and the other puts me, well, closer than I was before I guess. I have to scale a huge hill, following a road that winds between all of these artsy houses before arriving breathless at the door of my silk screening class. The view is gorgeous though and well worth the heart attack.

Getting back is a combo of lots of walking, more micro hopping, and an occasional metro jaunt. See what I mean? I am nowhere close to experta, but the thought of changing everything up now that I kinda have it down makes me want to commit myself to the funny farm.