Tag Archives: Valparaiso

10 December 2019:
Valparaiso, Chile:
The Clock with No Hands

By Corey Sandler

Viking Sun was one of the largest structures in town on our visit to Valparaiso, the Valley of Paradise. The town was lively and happy to see us, although signs of recent civil disturbances were there to remind us of recent parlous times.

Viking Sun at the dock, seen from Valparaiso’s Sotomayor Square. The central statue commemorates what Chile considers its greatest military achievement, the War of the Pacific, the defeat of Peru and Bolivia in the Atacama Desert east of 1879-1883. Peru lost its southernmost territory to Chile…and with that came massive deposits of copper that today is part of the backbone of modern Chile. Bolivia, which allied with the losing side, lost its only outlet to the sea. The war is long over, but the three countries remain somewhat short of cordial in relations, or at least in their view of history.
The famed Floral Clock of Viña del Mar is currently a clock with no hands in the midst of Chile’s season of social and political protests, mostly in the big cities of Santiago and Valparaiso. The mostly young protestors object to economic conditions that tilt in favor of the very rich, alleged corruption that favors officials in the government, and other problems in a country with a still-fragile democracy.
A tough way to earn a living: street buskers juggle, dance, and perform acrobatics at intersections.
At the eclectic Fonck Museum in Valparaiso stands one of only three Easter Island moai located away from the remote island. Easter Island is today part of Chile, although it is about 2,000 miles or 3,000 kilometers to the west in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean.

All content copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

9 December 2019 to 4 January 2020:
Valparaiso, Chile to Los Angeles:
Crossing the Equator on America’s West Coast

By Corey Sandler

We flew south all through the night from New York to Santiago, Chile. We left the wintry East Coast of the United States and landed in summery South America.

Viking’s Viking Sun will spend the next 28 days heading northwest and then north, calling at ports in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and then San Diego and Los Angeles in the United States.

This is just one month in a record-setting eight-month-long World Cruise. We will cross the Equator as we sail along the appropriately named nation of Ecuador. In fact, across the eight months of this cruise, this ship will cross the Equator four times heading south then north then south then north again. A hearty few dozen guests will be aboard for the entire journey, while others will partake of various segments.

I’ll be posting photos and comments here throughout this cruise. I hope you’ll join me here.

31 October 2017:
Valparaiso, Chile:
A Steep Climb to Paradise

By Corey Sandler

Valparaiso gets it name from Old Spanish, the Valley of Paradise.

It would be easy to make a weak joke about Paradise Lost, or Paradise in Shambles…because the city of today is not exactly how many would describe a perfect, idyllic place.

But Valparaiso does have its charms, not the least of which is an exuberant embrace of color and art and resilience.

Valparaiso. All photos by Corey Sandler

The city is built into something on the order of 42 distinct hills, most of them rising very steeply from the waterfront.

Today Valparaiso celebrates its history of diversity, its colorful buildings, and the many murals created by graffiti artists on the streets, alleys, and stairways.

It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, for slightly unusual reasons, its “improvised urban design and unique architecture.”

And before that, in 1996, the World Monuments Fund, a non-government non-profit, declared Valparaíso’s unusual system of funicular lifts one of the world’s 100 most endangered historical treasures, in the company of Venice, the Nineveh and Nimrud Palaces of Iraq, and the Taj Mahal.

One of them is a steam-powered elevator to paradise.

Today I went with a group of guests on a trip up into the hills to visit the beautiful El Cuadro vineyard and winery.

On our way there, we passed by the Fonck Museum in Vina del Mar and paid homage to a Moai, one of the great stone figures from Easter Island, part of Chile 1,200 miles to the west.


For those guests leaving us here in Valparaiso, safe travels until we meet again. Arrivederci.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.


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