Valparaiso. City of seagulls.

3 Jan

As the saying goes, One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Particularly true if you’re a seagull.

Crossing the Argentine/Chilean border during the holiday period saw us delayed 3 hours, meaning our supermarket shopping had to wait until New Years Eve – with the seagulls in full flight. Flying, fighting, pecking and pushing for everything – the last bread roll, the last packet of Lays, the last half-attractive roast chicken.

The tiny town of Valparaiso, 2 hours north of Santiago, sees hundreds of thousands descend on it every year to watch the infamous fireworks that stretch for kilometres along the coastline. It, of course, results in ridiculously inflated hostel prices. We certainly paid (or rather didn’t) for our unwillingness to partake in the highway robbery of our precious pesos and found ourselves in ‘the bird’s nest’ – a haphazard hostal of hair-clogged bathrooms, dog blankets and rooms dustier than Ben Cousins’ nose.

It did, however, bring us to a fun crew, crazy hats and glittery masks to celebrate the bringing in of 2012.

Oh, and yes, the fireworks were truly amazing (photos dont do it justice, damn streetlight…).

Our plan of heading into Sotomeyer Square to watch the live bands didn’t go ahead, much to our luck, when we arose our sore heads the next morning to the news that the seagulls in the street had set fire to cars and had to be disbursed by tear gas. Our ‘love’ of this city was already waning…

New Year’s Day saw a trip to neighbouring Vina Del Mar, checking out some impressive sandcastles on display…

And MC having a quick dip in the grubby, confetti-littered beach before coffee and a muse at the lack of service and poor food because the chef had called in sick (hmm, more likely inhaled too much of the ol’ tear gas)…

Striving to understand why Valpo is so loved by many, our final day saw us walking through the city’s UNESCO heritage-listed area. Taking an ascensor up the steep slopes, we finally found the ‘sweet spot’ and savoured the spectacular views of the brightly coloured town and boats harboured in the port…

Albeit, consumed through the lemon-coloured glasses of my pisco sours. I figured Valpo is perhaps best when viewed from a distance.

We treated ourselves to a rare dinner out, inhaling the tangy ceviche, baked scallops and tea-crusted salmon, doing our best not to lick our plates clean (ok, maybe we did)…

I do feel sorry for the residents of Valpo, a small town likely very pretty and enticing at any other time of year than NYE where it truly becomes the city of seagulls – swamped by noisy birds who do nothing except fly in, crap all over everything and leave.

Now while realising we are people likely suited to more imaginative celebrations and rapping ourselves on the knuckles for heading where everyone else goes, when all is said and done, the fireworks were worth it.

x kel

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3 Responses to “Valparaiso. City of seagulls.”

  1. father bear January 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Loved the street light, pity the fireworks took the edge off it.
    Loved the beer goggles Kelly. I’ve found them very useful over the years.
    Matt! Didn’t we teach you any manners. One must always take ones hat off when licking ones plate!
    Finally, if Valpo is the sort of place that attracts those that flock in for NYE crap all over the place then leave, remind me where it was that you spent NYE.

    Still dipping the paw in the honey pot–
    Father Bear

  2. Daniel February 28, 2012 at 3:18 am #

    Hey Guys, just catching up on where you are in the world. Yeah Valpo wasn’t the best place we visited thats for sure and we left on the 30th and even then the crowds and seagulls were beginning to muster!
    Dan and tan

    • wordsfromtheview March 9, 2012 at 1:27 am #

      Hiii! Where are you now?! Can you add me on facebook? Kelly Morzenti – one and only! We lost your blog address as it was saved to our computer which subsequently died. I want to know your tips and tricks for bolivia and peru! Hope your both happy and well. x kel

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