Valparaiso is a very important town, the port is one of the largest in Chile. Many goods arrive here and go then to Santiago and even over the Andes on the international route to Argentina.
For more information about this route and the Andes in general please have a look on my Portilo and Uspallata-pages
It was really great to watch all the ships. There will arrive and depart not only freight ships but also cruise ships too.
And Valparaiso is also a great starting point to make excursions to Casablanca-valley, which is one of the best wine-growing areas in Chile!
Take a small bag as the streets and hotel rooms are small. Why bring so much stuff when you can buy local products for 1/3 the price? Comfortable walking shoes if you are brave enough to not rent a car! I walked all over town and then some. My feet were hurtin' from all the walking because my shoes were worn down. Definitely bring your swimsuit and towel but the water is colder than you'd expect!
Churches and Spiritual Themes..uno
Before the unique churches of Valparaiso;I want to tell you something about Mapuche's spiritual themes.. i hope that you may understand of their spiritual beliefs before the Christianity(Christendom) in Chile.
As you know that in 1536,Don Diego de Almagra(SEEKING GOLD!!!!),in need of refuge for his troops sent Don Juan de Saavedra into the region known as the valley of Quintil.It was he was labeled throughout history as the founder and who Christened the bay with the name Valley of Paradiso(Valparaiso).
Anyone having a contact with Mapuche people,no matter how casual it may be,will easily notice the importance and presence the supernatural has over their lives,regardless of their degree of adhesion to any of the Christian churches found nowadays.
In general,the Mapuche(Indigenos)people,and very specially the Mapuche peasants,have a permanent contact with varied manifestations of the divinity throughout the day.They thank,they ask for permission or protection from "Ngunechen(The God of creation)" or other spirits,to carry out daily activities.
Everything connected with health and disease,according to the Mapuche conception,can only be understood and explained as a balance of power between the forces of good and evil.That is why anything regarding the "MACHI" (person chosen by a superior spirit to be doctor in the physical,spiritual or social dimension.) and his/her roles is so important.Even the most "urbanized" Mapuche individuals of families commend themselves to,and participate in,ceremonies presided over by the "Machi";this includes those who,in many cases,are no longer speakers of Mapudungun.
The "Ngillatun" (solemn community prayer ceremony,it takes place every two,four or six years) ceremony is performed in different places and under different circumstances,and it always attracts the devotion,and presence,of old people,adults and youth alike.All these practices and beliefs are the object of deep respect among the Mapuche,the same respect demanded from non Mapuche espectators who,more often than not,regard them as superstitions.
Ok?? now please follow me to see the Churceh of Valparaiso:)
Take the Tourbus company's 2...
Take the Tourbus company's 2 hour ride to Valparaiso from Santiago. Cost is about US$4. Comfortable and friendly, all the locals recommended this line over the others.
From the train station, it might be best to grab a taxi if you aren't sure where your destination is. After that, walk around Valparaiso and take the local buses from Valpo to Vina del Mar, the sister city on the other side of a small hill. This city can be explored for very little money.
Ride the ascensors
Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Valparaiso was the largest seaport on the Pacific coast of South America and one of the richest cities in the Americas. With this stature, the city continued to grow rapidly but the only place the new residents could live was up the hills facing long arduous climbs daily to get home from work. To alleviate this problem, a series of funiculars or ascensors were constructed to lift pedestrians from the coastal plains up the hills. At one time, there were well over 40 of these elevators scattered among the hills but as other forms of transportation evolved (buses), the need for ascensors gradually diminished and now, only 15 remain. Seek them out... they're fun to ride, you can get great views of the city as you go and they're cheap, perhaps 25 cents or less.