Thursday, June 05, 2008

Valparaiso, Chile

Another one of our sunny days in Chile was spent in Valparaiso. South American cruises make this one of their stops and I can see why. The old section of the town is full of colorful buildings and winding steet streets with gorgeous views. We followed a walking tour out of the guide book which took us by an Anglican church. The kids are used to this. Everywhere in the world we have been, I have included old Anglican churches on our itineraries. Unfortunately, this church was closed and had razor wire on top of the wall around it. We were able to read the sign which said the church was built in 1858 but not officially recognized until 1869 because the Chilean government outlawed all denominations except for Roman Catholicism until that year. Sometimes I think we take our religious freedom for granted. The constitutional separation of state from the influence any church or denomination allows all of our diverse churches, synagogues, and mosques to exist in freedom. Our founding fathers were brilliant in the way they set this up. Let's hope it continues.

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One of the promenades along the viewpoints--up at the top.

We found a delightful place for lunch with a view of the bay. Naturally, we were the first people there but it was not long before the restaurant filled up with all sorts of folks including Americans. Sadly, somehow our order got mixed up and our waiter was moved to tables in the upstairs and we fell through the cracks. It marred what would have been a magical eating experience. It was awkward because we do not like to appear as ugly impatient Americans in our travels. Our bread, salads and appetizers came quickly and then we waited.....and waited....and waited noticing that other diners who came in after us had received their main meals. A new waiter then brought us dessert menus. Finally, it took Dave getting a little huffy and Lucas explaining in Spanish that we had never received our meal orders before anything happened. Eventually, they brought the food. Our orders were exactly correct even if they were cold. So if any of you travelers out there are planning a trip to Valparaiso or if the city is your cruise ship stop, just beware of Cafe Turri. The view is great and the food was good but the experience was disappointing to say the least!

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The "Apolo" passageway.

Valparaiso has funiculars to lift pedestrians and tourists from the bottom of the hill to the top parts like in Old Lyon, France. We, of course, preferred to take the huge number of cement steps through the colorful passageways to climb to where we wanted to go. I got a kick out of the fact that this narrow stair climb was named "Apolo."

Speaking of my puppy Apolo, a week ago I thought he was dying. Sorry, Lucas, I did not tell you. He seemed fine when we picked him up from the kennel but then a day or two later, he became completely despondent and could or would not walk. He started to dig his own doggy grave under a rhodie bush in the back yard and I started to sob. Since we have lost one Golden Retriever at age 8, and the next one at age 7, I am quite familiar with the signs of a very sick dog. I found a bottle of prednisone left over from Jebbie's last days and decided to give him some to get him through the weekend. My plan was to take him to the vet Monday or Tuesday to receive the terrible news. Well, the prednisone did the trick and I am now in the process of tapering him off of it. He still seems to be in some pain but he appears to be recovering. He is quite capable now of maneuvering the back steps but he is so stupid, he doesn't realize it. Just this morning at 7:15 AM, I was chasing him around the back yard--yes, chasing--to catch him and push him up the steps. His tail was high and wagging and he was laughing at me and had no trouble tearing around the bushes. Since trips to the vet are traumatic for him, I am just playing it by ear. We'll see.

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The end of the walking tour and Plaza Sotomayer.