It had been ten months since seeing Adam’s parents (10 months and 3 days, to be exact), so we were excited – really excited – to have them for a nine-day visit.
It was a week of festive, celebratory meals, sightseeing, and just hangin’ out. We had two birthdays and one anniversary during that time, too. (ok, Adam’s birthday fell two days before they arrived, but who’s counting?) I did my best to surprise my husband with a cake full of candles!
I can only speak for myself, but I’m sure we all felt similarly when los papás arrived: it was like four hearts just exploded with happiness at the same time. My face hurt from smiling. It was so great to see familiar faces and have a mom hold my hand, squeezing it from time to time in the taxi from the airport into Santiago saying wordlessly oh how I missed you, how we love you!
Just look at these two handsome folks! How lucky are we that they came so far to see us!?
We spent a day in Santiago that began with a walk up Cerro Santa Lucia and through its park, a place Adam and I have been before. Since it had just rained, the smog was all washed away and the view of the Andes was perfect! Here are Adam and me at one of the park’s many decorative fountains.
What a hill to climb! Taking a breather!
Then we went to the Museo Nacionál de Bellas Artes. The building itself is a pleasure to walk through, and I was delighted that there was an exhibit depicting nothing but scenes from Valparaíso, where we would soon be headed. It was a great way to introduce Susan and Jon the chaos, color, romance, grit, style, and form of the city we’d been living in the past five weeks.
There was also this alluring temporary installation at the museum. It’s made of nothing but shirts!
That night we went to dinner at Patio Bellavista in the ever-so-fashionable Bellavista neighborhood. We dined on delicious seafood and enjoyed a bottle of champagne to celebrate Susan and Jon’s arrival as well as our own one-year anniversary.
The celebrating hardly ends there. The next day was my birthday. And my request was to go to Dunkin’ Donuts and eat not one, but two donuts. If you’re wondering why I’d be so keen to visit an American junk food chain, well, that’s just what happens when you’re away from home for almost a year. You start missing the strangest things. So here it is!
We spent the rest of the day walking around the fair city of Santiago. Parks, water-fountains, the Plaza de Armas, and another fantastic dinner in Bellavista.
We arrived in Valparaíso and had a wonderful and welcoming dinner from our hosts, Benjamin and Javiera, as well as the former’s cousin and girlfriend. There was much toasting and merriment.
Susan and Jon stayed at a hotel just a few minutes from our house on Cerro Artillería. It was run by a kind and chatty chap named Claudio and his wife Lucrecia, who did their best to ensure our comfort. They also made Adam and me feel most welcome even though we weren’t actually staying there; so for the next several nights we enjoyed several delicious homemade meals alongside the warmth of a propane heater. Oh, and Susan and Jon’s room had a beautiful view of the port below.
Here’s Jon, just a few steps from the hotel, at one of the most scenic and popular vistas in the city.
This is one of my favorite spots in Valparaíso. You know what a joy it is to share something you love? Or an experience you love with someone you love? Well, we were so delighted to share this special spot with Adam’s parents. The port below hummed with activity. Clouds of sea birds swirled around incoming fishing boats, and Valparaíso lay in the crook of the bay like a carpet of jewels.
Cue mysterious sea mist.
The hill we all lived on, Cerro Artilleria, has a functioning ascensor that is over 100 years old. We occasionally took colectivos, or shared taxis, down the hill into town. But more often than not, we had the pleasure of descending in this impressively steep, creaking, and unusual transport.
And here’s the car itself.
There’s always something to see out the windows!
So what’s to be found at the bottom of the hill? Oh lots of things!
One day we visited Valpo’s mercado. In addition to beautiful, heaping piles of fruit and vegetables, there are several restaurants upstairs that offer delicious seafood straight from the drink.
There also happens to be a hoard of cats scavenging through the scraps. This one was a particularly difficult-to-resist feline beggar.
We also had a little peek at the port. The rainbow of fishing boats bobbing in the water behind us was dwarfed by the Seminole Princess, a humungous barge.
We took a nice little walk along the shoreline one day. The deep blue water looked mighty cold, but it was a sight to behold those waves crashing upon rocks so dramatically.
Another day, we all took the train to Viña del Mar and paid a visit to the Museo Fonck. It features one of the very few Rapa Nui (Easter Island) statues that actually lives away from Easter Island. Inside is a very impressive and rather in-depth history of the island itself.
Afterward, we enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee. This picture represents many such cups of coffee that we enjoyed together.
Back on Cerro Artilleria, we visited the Museo Naval, an imposing, white edifice that’s hard to overlook and can be spotted from many places in the city. Room after room, in chronological order, thoroughly documents Chile’s many navel battles. But by far my favorite part was a replica of the Fénix rescue capsule used to rescue the Chilean miners during the famous 2010 collapse of a copper and gold mine deep in the the Atacama Desert.
We had such a fabulous time with Adam’s parents. The visit ended all too quickly, but having them here allowed us to see Valparaíso in a new light. Rarely do we get to enjoy a city as “tourists,” frequenting museums, eating out at fancy restaurants, and sightseeing.
It was a treat to have them with us not only for the company of Mom and Dad, whom we think of and miss every day, but for feeling – even if just for a little while – like we were at home again.