Our first major fieldtrip that we took as a group was to Valparaíso, the main port of Chile. While it's not the biggest city or port in Chile, it is the primary one. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and the proximity to the sea made it even warmer. We got to nap on the way up to the city, which was good since it was a bit too early for some of us. Once we got to Valparaíso itself, we walked around the town a bit, and then went up to the top of one of the little peak/neighborhoods. The view was incredibly gorgeous and it was a fun ride up to the top. It was interesting seeing the architectural difference between Valparaíso and Santiago. In Santiago, it's much more industrial and the contrast between old and new is much more stark. In Valparaíso, all the houses are brightly colored and the industrial architecture hasn't creeped in so much. The above picture doesn't quite do justice to the dappled cityscape of this lovely port town, but you get the general idea. It was as if someone scattered pebbles of every bright color imaginable across the landscape and houses sprang up all squished together from the pebbles. It was fun and beautiful.
While at the top taking in this view, I asked Maricarmen, the funny advisor at IES to take a picture with me. When we got ready and posed, she suddenly asked me in her quirky and endearing way, "What is your name again?" and I proceeded to tell her. The moment was captured in the cutest picture I have from my trip to date. We got to take a hike around the neighborhood on our way to our lunch place and I fell in love with the graffiti and street art. Some pieces were simple and powerful while others were complex and amazing.
The lunch we had was pretty amazing. First the brought out bread drizzled with an herbed oil. Next came a light soup that was pumpkin, curry, and ginger puree. The main dish was either fish or steak over a creamy, shrimp, and snail risotto, with a curry sauce on the side. The dessert was incredible. It was a spicy apple crumble with lucuma/dulce de leche ice cream and topped with a caramel candy. It was muy rico and delicious.
After we ate lunch, we walked down the little mountain through more colorful houses and more awesome graffiti. Next we went to Pablo Neruda's house at Isla Negra. It was a sweet house that had so many collections of crazy stuff, beautiful architecture, and intricately ascetic rooms that all had their own purpose. Neruda picked a great location with beautiful views of the ocean. His love of the sea is apparent in his house and the stories about his life and poetry. It was a peaceful place (other than all the tourists) and all the different viewpoints on the property were picturesque. I had a great day with my new friends and ended it with a beautiful sunset. I thought about many friends and family who would have LOVED both Valparaíso and Pablo Neruda's house and I wish you could have been there to see it.