My first impression of Valparaiso was that it was much trashier than Santiago, but once I got up to the nicer barrios, I realized why everyone talked so highly about this place. It’s a coastal port/artsy town set within hills and cobblestone streets, bohemian-style similar to San Francisco, but smaller windy streets, steeper hills and many many steps (this town is famous for its steps, especially the "Piano steps"). The Uber wasn’t even able to drop me off close to my hotel, I had to walk to it from the street since the streets were so small and curvy and my hotel was set on the other side, off the cliff with a view of the ocean. When I arrived I knew I had picked a good hotel as it was quite fancy and set on the very top of the mountain with stunning views of the town and many boats in the distance. The town was filled with colorful buildings yet it was cloudy that day, and when the sun came out for a split second and it made all vibrant colors come alive, especially the blue ocean in the background (it was a beautiful site to see). I was able to check into my room early and walked across the street to the rooftop restaurant that was crowded and ordered my first ceviche! It was so delicious, it reminded me of the one I had tried during YTT in Uvita, Costa Rica but less sweet. I relaxed and admired the views and then walked around until it got dark. I really was taken back by how many steps and graffiti there was in this town, but also didn't mind the much needed exercise as I was site seeing at the same time. I was so tired by dark so I made myself a bath (was so excited as it had been 6 months since I had taken a bath and I love taking baths) and got some wine and relaxed that night. I woke up in time for the hotel buffet breakfast and then ventured out again to explore the town. It was another cloudy day but that was alright because I was so out of breath at times, walking all the way to this one park set up really high on the hill. I got lunch at this other place near my hotel that had really yummy burgers and then saw this jewelry store set underneath the restaurant and found something for my mom while chatting with the guy from Patagonia about my travels - he was very interested in traveling solo. I called it a night and sat at the hotel for dinner, while working on my computer a bit and then made myself a bath again. The following morning I decided it was time to check out my ear as it was bothering me during the flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago, something didn’t seem right (since I had slightly perforated it in Bocas Del Toro 2.5 months prior). Thankfully the hotel receptionist was nice enough to be able to call an express clinic that came to the hotel! It was super convenient as I would have had to wait in a waiting room at a clinic and that would have taken hours. It was a little expensive ($80 for the visit/check) but I have travel insurance so I submitted a claim obviously as this happened on my trip. The express clinic came within an hour and it was a younger man and older woman who came up to my room and put a magnifying glass in my ear to look at the damage. He said there was in fact a tiny hole about .05cm and that I needed to get antibiotics and not go in the water so it can heal naturally (and that when I got back home I should go see a specialist to see if I need further assistance). I was glad to know that it could naturally heal on it's own but a little disappointed in the fact that I was planning to go sky diving in New Zealand and surfing in Australia (hoping it heals by the time I get to Australia).
Afterwards, I sat outside on my balcony as it was a sunny day and did some spa things for myself and then walked around and got the antibiotics and then sat at a coffee shop and then a bar (Beer House) right at the bottom of the hill where there was this cracked out lady bothering people. Thankfully the waiter made her leave as she sat at my table and I wouldn’t have known what to do because she was all drugged up, but tried to remain calm as I always do in situations like that. I walked around a bit more and back to my room, did some yoga, and then went to another restaurant near my hotel to eat. It was a quiet night as it was Sunday and no one was in the restaurant, but I tried the Salmon and it was really yummy with this tangy sauce and quinoa on the side. I relaxed and went to bed early that night and the next day I decided to do some planning as I hadn’t planned NZ or AU yet, so I did that for a few hours and then walked to the port/water and enjoyed the views of all the ships and then went to this place I had looked up that had this meat/corn dish that was the most delicious meal I think I had in Chile so far. Also tried this local ginger beer that was really yummy. Afterwards I was super full so I decided to move around and do some yoga and then took a relaxing bath and went to the restaurant down the street for a small prawn dinner and live music playing in the background. There were skateboarders skating loudly near my hotel some nights, music playing other nights, tourists and locals walking around. Valparaiso was a really hip and neat place and I had stayed in a wealthier barrio but glad I did because there were some real bad areas I’m sure and tons of stray dogs and trashy parts. I made friends with the receptionist at the hotel as he really helped me out with my ear and such. My last day I packed up and stored my bags and went to the same restaurant I had gone to the first day I arrived, Fauna. I ordered some coffee and then a nice salad with prosciutto, again so yummy. It was super hot and I was trying to buy some flights to NZ/AU as I ate but my laptop was getting too hot so I turned it off, checked out and then left around 3pm to meet Caro back in Santiago to go to another coastal town, known or surfing called Pichilemu for a few days.