America,  Chile,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Viña del Mar (Chile): New Year & Fireworks

To us the best fireworks of Chile! How is Valparaíso better? Let me explain: Valparaíso’s fireworks are famous because the towns next to the bay launch their fireworks at the same time, creating a nice show. It’s not one firework that we had, but nine at once! Attending it from Viña del Mar or Valparaíso is about the same thing! Viña del Mar is only 8.5km from Valparaíso, accessible by metro and bus

Part 1: Travel Diary
Part 2: Practical Tips

Part 1: Travel Diary

How to get there

We take a bus from Puerto Varas (which we leave with regrets) at 20h to arrive at 10h(más o menos) the next day in Viña del Mar. It is the best bus which we took in South America. The Pullman Bus company is in the small care, it seems that we are in a plane: a pillow and a blanket are provided, the seat is very comfortable. Movies are broadcasted but without sound, passengers wishing to watch them can plug in headphones

Day 1 :

In “I notify at the last moment” mode, we discover with surprise that the chosen hostel is 30mn walk from the bus terminal. However, since we learned how to take local buses in Castro, we feel more comfortable to take buses instead of getting on a Uber. Here too, we can stop the bus whenever we want, the ticket is still cheap: 330$CH for a trip within the city

Our King Hostel is open only 2 months a year. The rest of the year it hosts students. We chose it for its price, the lowest in Viña del Mar for New Year’s Eve: 150€ for 2 people in dormitories, 3 nights. If we stay here until January 3rd, it’s to avoid the post-party atmosphere (garbage, drunk people) of Valparaiso on January 1st

According to the owner of the hostel, the fireworks are more beautiful here in Viña del Mar than in Valparaiso because we have a better view of the bay and especially 9km of beach where we can see the fireworks without stepping on them. However, Valparaiso is known to have a big party in the street on New Year’s Eve. It’s perfect! We don’t particularly like alcoholic parties, we just want to see the fireworks. It is here that we will have the best view apparently

Even if we have been around the world for more than 6 months, there are places that make us feel more on vacation than others. And this is the case here in Viña del Mar, where you can walk along the beautiful sandy beach, look at the souvenir stores, eat homemade ice cream, and get ephemeral tattoos?

Tattoos are very popular here, even among children. JB got “tattooed” on Che :D’s face … for a week

Hotels with sea view look like castles

Here is the famous 9km long beach seen from its massive iron jetty. You can rent umbrellas, however you can’t swim today because the waves are too strong

Large ugly buildings, offering a golden retreat for the rich, border the beach

But when you look closely, you still find small houses that are too charming

We can see Valparaiso (the hyper populated hills on the left), and the Sheraton parasols (JALOUSIE mode on). It is here that we spotted a seal

The Disneyland-style flower clock, one of the city’s landmarks

In front of so much wealth and abundance, we decide to save our money in a local restaurant, where lunch costs only 4400$CH for two (6€), and not 4000$CH per dish. While we look at the menu, everyone is busy to show us the dishes lol: This is a pollo asado, this is an ensalada, pollo frito this is ahahahah It’s unpretentious, it’s good, it’s local

For dinner, we found a corner selling a very large choice of empañadas, glasses of pressed juice of one liter. We ordered an assortment of 6 empanadas without suspecting that they would be so big! It was delicious, we will come back the next days

Day 2: New Year’s Eve

My belly needs ceviche. This is the opportunity to test the Peruvian mixto ceviche, which I like very much! It promises, Peru! JB will be satisfied only with fruits, in preparation of the enormous barbecue which awaits us this evening at the inn

At 7pm, the owners of the hostel prepare a huge barbecue for all the guests. Two big pieces of 1kg take hours and hours to cook, but the result is beyond expectations. We all chat, in Spanish or English. I have a lot of trouble understanding the two girls coming from Mendoza (Argentina), they speak much faster than those I met in the lakes region. It seems that the further north you go (from Chile or Argentina), the faster people speak. But it doesn’t matter, we manage to communicate, that’s the main thing. Everyone thinks it’s so funny that I’m learning Spanish with an application on the phone

Despite the festive atmosphere, we still can’t believe that it’s December 31st. The year 2016 was an unforgettable year: the purchase of an apartment, the abandonment of our properties & careers, a trip around the world. The year 2017 promises to be even more unforgettable. Despite a more than unstable career for both of us, we have never felt so confident. Realizing that we don’t need much to live on helps a lot

At 11:15 pm, we decide to finally get moving. The inertia of the group makes that we leave the inn only at 11:45 pm, but the viewpoint is at only 5 minutes on foot. There is already full of people, and I am too small to see the fireworks. JB and I decide to separate from the group and find a perfect place just below the watchtower, standing on a small wall. We are in height, we have the view on all the bay, nobody hinders us

At midnight five, all the fireworks are launched in synch from 9 platforms installed along the bay. I’ve never seen that before! We don’t know where to look anymore. It will last 20 minutes, and the final bouquet is great!

With a smartphone, it looks like this

Actually, it’s more like this. I was speechless during the whole fireworks display

Back at the hostel, we put the music at full blast and we all dance together. We even go out in the street to dance in front of the cars which try desperately to reach the city center in spite of the traffic jams. Around 2 am, the others decide to go out and to continue the party on the beach, until 4 am. We decide to go to bed

Day 3 :

The next day, while doing his daily jogging (JB’s note: 11 km on January 1st, class!), JB will see a lot of “corpses” on the beach lol, some have planned tents, others lean on the walls to sleep ahahah

In any case, it was the most beautiful fireworks display we’ve ever seen, and it was worth all the money and effort we put in to get here

Happy New Year 2017!

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