Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The 16th day of our tour was among the busiest. We visited the fascinating coastal cities of Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, then did a laughter yoga session at a new arts center.

We awoke to the amazing view from Tosha's apartment.
This is Tosha's Mezuzah on her apartment doorpost.

Here she is touching it as we left for the day.

Before we left the resort, we visited Tosha's other apartment, which she uses as a rental. Here I am on that deck.

This is the view from this apartment.

Then we drove to Viña del Mar by a rural route. This is a team of oxen we met along the way.

The wild poppies were growing everywhere.

It was a bit foggy but we got a nice view of the coast in Viña del Mar. This name is Spanish for  "Vineyard of the Sea." It is also known locally as La Ciudad Jardín, Spanish for: "The Garden City."

A view looking the other direction.

Some scenes in Viña del Mar.

These two are police officers.

The spring buds are emerging on these trees.

A naval training school.

This condo by the shore is a prime example of how the buildings are stacked up along the hillside for maximum views of the ocean.

We stopped to get a closer look at the beach. Tosha's on her cell phone as always.

A beautiful desert flower.

Here you can see the beach and the bay of Viña del Mar.

We loved the beach!

Though it was cold, sunbathers were already enjoying this spring day.

More stacked up condos.

William looking cool on the beach.

This stray dog was keeping an eye on us.

The spring flowers, like this one, were just glorious.

Many of the apartment buildings had unusual balconies.

Balls on the beach.

I'm enjoying the flowers.

William and Tosha posing for the camera at the sushi restaurant where we had lunch.

Our sushi waiter.

Pamela and William getting ready for lunch to arrive.

Tosha and I celebrating our matching polka dots!

Pamela found this star in a store window and brought it out to have her picture with it.

More lovely spring buds on the trees.
Viña del Mar has lots of high rise buildings.

This is Chile's oldest gambing casino.

I don't know if I'd want to stand on one of these balconies for too long!

Along the coast between Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, the buildings are stacked up along the cliff overlooking the sea.

Now we are in Valparaíso, which is Spanish for "Paradise Valley." It is one of Chile's most important seaports and an increasingly vital cultural center in the hemisphere's Pacific Southwest.

Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Pacific”, Valparaíso was declared a world heritage site based upon its improvised urban design and unique architecture. In 1996, the World Monuments Fund declared Valparaíso’s unusual system of funicular elevators (highly-inclined cable cars) one of the world’s 100 most endangered historical treasures. In 1998, grassroots activists convinced the Chilean government and local authorities to apply for UNESCO world heritage status for Valparaíso. Valparaíso was declared a World Heritage Site in 2003, thanks to its historical importance, natural beauty (large number of hills surrounding a picturesque harbour), and unique architecture (particularly, a mix of 19th century styles of housing). Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valparaíso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy. Valparaíso is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Electric buses run around the city.

Graffiti is legal here and there are some truly wonderful works of art on walls and buildings throughout the city.

I think this photo best shows the urban design of  Valparaíso and how the buildings are all stacked on top of eachother on the hills.

These skater kids showed off for us.

Can you sense the steepness of these narrow roads?

Here we are getting directions. Don't try to navigate Valparaíso without a map!

More directions. We are still lost!

Finally, we arrived at the art center where we would be doing a laughter yoga session that evening. Here is Tosha with one of the arts center directors, Hemena. The two of them at "met" on Facebook and set up this whole event and were now just meeting for the first time.

This is the entrance of the arts center. The "incomplete" look of the walls is intentional and it is a really groovy look.

This is the painting studio. The painting are Claudio's. He's the other director.

This sculpture is Hemena's.

This is their dog who is sad to be stuck out in the back courtyard.

This is Claudio making us all a cup of espresso.

Here is another one of his paintings. We could not help but notice that the main figure bears a striking resemblance to Obama.

We left Tosha at the arts center to help get set up for the evening's event. William, Pamela and I went walking around Valparaíso. Here are some of the many sights we took in.

Dig this short doorway.

Our wedding picture!

The cat tried to jump out of the pen but the dog bit it's tail and I captured it all in this shot.

Pamela peeking into someone's yard.

This graffiti says "We can do anything!"

Look! It's the doors.

We rode one of the famous "funicular" elevators that makes the town so unique. Here is the wheel that runs it.

This is the view looking down.

And the view looking up.

Now we are down in Sotomayor Square.

This is the seaport.

The monument in Sotomayor Square.

The view of the whole square.

Someone else was taking this little girl's picture but she looked at my camera instead.

This is the scarf we are buying from the vendor.

A huge stump.

We loved this building on the corner.

Dancing with the graffiti!

This mural was so vibrant and beautiful.

This is the llama wool purse I bought in a boutique. 

The sales guy posed for a picture with us in front of all the pretty scarves.

This is the sign posted outside of the arts center about the session we would be leading that night.

I decided my new purse would also look good on my head!

Here Tosha and I are leading the laughter yoga session in the meditation studio.

Afterwards, we said good bye to our new friends and headed out for dinner.

This is the bar at the Italian restaurant where we dined.

William and I were still smiling after a long, full day.

And Tosha was too!

After dinner, we drove back to Tosha's beach apartment so we'd be ready to tour a winery in the area the next day.