Sun, Feb 22th – Valparaiso, Chile
Yesterday was a blessed day at sea, and it was a great day. We had fair winds and following seas, a gift for all sailors. There was hardly a breath of air on deck as the wind and the sea matched the good ship Prinsendam’s speed of advance (SOA). We even had folks on deck sunbathing – what a difference a week makes when you are on a cruise.
On the 28th of December 1964, over 44 years ago I stood on the deck of the USS Edisto and gazed on the same hills that Barbara and I marveled at today. What a beautiful day to dock in Valparaiso Harbor, especially today when it is with the one I love. Morning light bathed the scene before us and even though it was Sunday the workers of this busiest port in the country was preparing for a full work day. Cargo ships cannot afford to take a holiday and neither can the port. Harbor tour operators were lining up to receive families for their days outing, and our provisions for the remainder of the cruise waited on the dock just alongside the ship.
By nine o’clock we were onboard the courtesy shuttle bus headed to the passenger terminal and our exit onto the streets of Valparaiso. The busses are provided free of charge to cruise passengers as a safe way to keep pedestrians and eighteen wheel cargo haulers from getting in each other’s way. Our destination today was the beachside resort city of Vina del Mar. Barbara had discovered a museum there that she dearly wanted to visit. I remembered the train, now metro, that would be our transportation there. Once we worked our way through the ticket purchasing process (Spanish only spoken here) we were “mothered” to the proper spot on the boarding platform by a couple of concerned Spanish matrons. Once on board and when they knew where the lot of us was headed, they made sure that we knew how, when, and where to exit the train – all done without a word of English. Que suerte! One surprise – doors do not open automatically at stops! Thank you ladies.
Vina del Mar was just starting to come alive with the business of Sunday as we exited the underground platform. We headed to the tourist information center for some good maps of the area and the location of the Fonck Museum. One special point of interest for Barbara was a room with archeological items from Easter Island and a look at the big fella pictured here with Barbara. Other rooms also contained artifacts from this beautiful country of Chile. As we strolled through a beautiful park with statues and fountains we were observed by the friendly “city dogs” that we have come to expect in all the cities we have visited. These canines threaten no one and apparently are not molested in return. Some do have a bum leg or so but it doesn’t seem to hamper their easy life. More likely they have encountered vehicles once to often.
After leaving the museum we figured it would be easy to retrace our steps to find the Artisans Craft Fair” that we had passed on our way to the museum – after some backtracking we finally found this covered collection of craft shops. Once again Barbara was in her element. The jewelry stone “de jour-de cruise” was Lapis Lazuli, a beautiful blue stone with random imbedded flecks of color. Barbara was successful in her search! Mission accomplished, we headed back to the ship and to our good fortune our ”train-mates” for the return was Rabbi Ruben and his wife Miriam. They have become such good friends as I have probably mentioned before. Here is a picture of them bargaining for a item of jewelry for Miriam, at a stall just outside the terminal proper. Miriam also had a successful shopping day.
Once back onboard we had lunch in the Lido and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon watching out our stateroom window at the parade of families in the harbor tour boats passing just a few yards away. Our day ended with a lovely dinner with our most entertaining table mates as we sailed out into the pacific. Our next port of call: Coquimbo, Chile just a night’s sail away…. JWC