|We decided to go out on a day tour away from Santiago...we headed northwest and made our way thru a couple of seriously long tunnels carved into the Andes Mountains and then into one of Chile's wine country areas in the Andes Valley north of Santiago...about 120 km's later we reached Valparaiso, a port city whose origin dates back to 1536, and which has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site. The city has a population of some 270,000 people and a unique colorful characteristic...a number of old buildings have been clad with tin and then presumably painted with the left over paint from ships that were being painted in drydock. Our first stop was at Plaza La Sebastiana, the house of the Nobel Prize winning poet, Pablo Neruda, which is located on one of the city's 45 hills, Cerro Bellavista. Most of the major streets run parallel to the shoreline in the downtown area of El Plan...the hills above downtown are connected to the lower areas by steep pathways and Valparaiso's wonders of engineering, its "ascensores" or funiculars which were built between 1883 and 1916 and are still operating today (in relatively good condition). After our visit to the area of Cerro Bellavista we made our way to a spot just above one of the ascensores and then walked six blocks, past the Art Noveau Palacio Baburizza which dates from 1916 on Paseo Yugoslavo to the top of Cerro Algre where we got on Ascensor El Peral and made our way to the bottom at Plaza Sotomayor where the Armada de Chile (Chilean Naval Academy) is located near the pier. We stopped for lunch on Muelle Prat (the pier) located at the foot of Plaza Sotomayor at Restorante Bote Salvavidas and then got back on the bus and headed further up the coast to Vina Del Mar, a busy city and beach town of 300,000 people all rolled into one. "Vina" as it is called is also known as Chile's 'Cuidad Jardin' or "Garden City" for its many gardens and parks. We stopped at Renaca Beach for a quick look and walk on the beach and then made our way past Hotel Vina Del Mar and a juggler trying to make a buck (he collected some cash from six cars when he finished and before the light changed) on our way up into the hills above Vina to make our way back to Santiago....