Thursday, April 4, 2013

Churros con Chocolate, Alfajores, dulce de leche, Neruda... so many things in Valparaiso!

So many things to do and see in Valparaiso! And to learn! First I learned that in Chile cappuccino coffee is a strange coffee drink with whipped cream on top, and if you want something similar to an Italian cappuccino or flat white you need to ask for a cafe cortado (and hope for the best). Sometime the cortado seems to be a filter coffee with some frothy milk on top, and other times it is good like a NZ flat white (the closest thing to an Italian cappuccino). In this place (in the photo) it was good, really good coffee, and chocolate! But unfortunately the churros were too hard (fried too much? Or twice???) but I am not doing reviews of specific places in this post, so no names of cafes or restaurants. This is just a general advice for foreign tourists to Valparaiso: have an open mind about coffee! And churros. I think that we were just served the "tourists with kids" treatment here, old churros, too bad as it was the first Spanish-speaking-country-churro-experience for my kids, and it was truly ruined. But we will try again! One last note about churros: here they were served with dulce de leche for dipping. Talk about sweetness!!

But you need the energy to walk up and down the streets and stairs of Valparaiso (there are ascensores - a bit like cable cars, but you still have to walk a lot!). I think that it was really good for my legs!

Even the dogs have pretty colourful houses, or at least, some of the dogs. There seem to be many street dogs, but they don't appear to be dangerous.

A good way to visit Valparaiso for English speaking visitors is with Tours 4 Tips, where a non-professional but enthusiastic guide dressed like Wally will take you on a three hours walking tour. Tours are at 10am or 3pm, and the best part for me was to knock at the door of Don Sergio to eat an alfajor. At the end of the tour they also offer you a Pisco (that was strong!) and you pay with a tip, i.e. as much as you think the tour was worth (or as much as you can afford!).

Fresh alfajores, with the dulce de leche still soft, from Don Sergio

But you certainly don't need a tour just to see how colorful is Valparaiso! Painted walls, doors and windows, graffiti and street art...

I have a good collection of photos of doors and windows for my Pinterest boards now!

A must in Valparaiso, and a pilgrimage for me: poet Pablo Neruda had three houses, and one was here in Valparaiso, it is called La Sebastiana, now a museum. Unfortunately photos are not allowed inside, but it was great to see all the personal objects, art and things that Neruda collected, quite eclectic and very interesting, I recommend a visit!

A final recommendation is for our hotel, Hotel Acontraluz, a boutique hotel in a great position, with no TV (there is wifi) lots of books, communal areas, fruit and refreshments all day long, lovely breakfasts, and charming rooms. We had 3 nights there and it was a real relaxing holiday.

Yesterday I had 4910 page visit, my record for a day, probably most came from Mountain View, screening through all my posts, but I was happy anyway, also because I have little time for blogging now that I am traveling. Anyway, if you were one of my visitor too, thank you!! Also, for the month of March I had well over 90,000 page visits, that was a record too!

Photos  by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. Quanti bei luoghi ti capita di visitare . . . mi piacciono molto le foto delle porte e dei graffiti, ciao Flavia!

  2. Che bei posti Alessandra e quell'hotel è davvero affascinante e di grande relax.,! Goditi la vacanza , mia cara!

  3. Amica mia.. non mi dire così... Neruda è il mio poeta preferito, con la Dickinson!!! <3 <3 Mamma mia.. mi hai fatto luccicare gli occhi con questo post! Quel racconto sul cappuccino mi ha affascinata e inquietata. :D Ti abbraccio stella! Un beso y una dulce noche! ;)

    1. Davvero? Allora siamo in due, anche se forse non so se scegliere fra Neruda e Baudelaire...

  4. What lovely and adorable post Alessandra, and the pictures are awesome!!Hope you are enjoying where you are, send huggs to all of you, was lovely meet you, I sent you a mail!xo

    1. Great to meet you too Gloria, will need to post Arantxa pictures soon!

  5. Awesome! I made sure I bought some manjar or dulce de leche home as they have so many choices at the supermarket!! They are a sweet tooth nation for sure! Loving your photos Alessandra.

  6. A great month for the blog Alessandra! And your trip looks amazing :)


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