Chile Honeymoon: Day 5 -- Chile Coast
When: Monday, October 14th, 2014
Where: From Viña del Mar, to Quinto, to Zapallar and Valparaiso
Weather: Mid-70s, sunny and beautiful
On our second day on the coast, we decided to take a drive after breakfast. We went up the coastal highway which was Chile's equivalent to California's Highway 1. First stop was the tiny town on Quinto which has this secret beach that we just happened to stumble upon. Just as I was dipping my feet in the water, a ranger came up and told me that it was dangerous to go in. Through my limited understanding of his rapid Spanish, I got that there had recently been an oil spill and that they were closing the beach. We snapped a couple pictures and headed further north on to Zapallar.
We walked down to the water and spent some time exploring the tide pools and strolling along the rocky coast. After a long, blustery stroll, we were feeling pretty hungry, so we set out in search of a restaurant.
We stumbled upon the most amazing little seafood place right on the ocean. I had the freshest and most decadent seafood soup made of clams, crab, oysters, mussels, shrimp, several kinds of fish, and crisp vegetables. It was incredible. The best part was being able to see the catch up the day hauled in from the boats behind us.
After lunch, we went and walked along yet another beach. It was warm enough to walk barefoot and sit on the sand for a while. The day was flying by and we still really wanted to check out Valparaiso, so we jumped back in the car and drove the 2 hours back south.
Valparaiso on a Monday as compared to the day before was a different world! We randomly popped into a shop called Sala Maia and it was full of handmade goods. I was so excited I wanted to buy the whole store. The woman who owned it had an amazing life story about her childhood in France, education in San Francisco, backpacking honeymoon across both Europe and South America and her eventual settlement in Chile with her husband. Her story was so inspiring to me, and the way she chased her dreams to open a shop with sustainable, handmade goods, underscored my longing to have a shop of my own.
She told us the best way to visit Valparaiso is to wander and get lost, so we did exactly that. For hours, we strolled through the narrow walkways and cobblestone streets, stopping for coffee and chocolate, and little trinkets as souvenirs. When we had exhausted ourselves, we returned to the hotel for a little rest and then headed out to downtown Viña del Mar for dinner.