Where We Be
Viña del Mar, Chile
Viña del Mar is located only ten minutes away from
Valparaiso but the difference between the two
cities is huge. While words like "ramshackle" and
"tumbledown" are used to describe Valparaiso,
Viña is all about manicured gardens and neat,
meticulous homes. True, its downtown has grown
to the point where it feels crowded and busy, but
the heart of the town is in its side streets. Here,
lovely summer homes were built by the Santiago
elite looking for a vacation getaway by the sea.
Here all is tranquil and easy. Think rose gardens,
wrought-iron fences, fountains, and green lawns.

A few true mansions were built here too, like the
Palacio Rioja (shown below) and especially the
Quinta Vergara. If you're wondering why we have
no pictures of the latter, it's because a HUGE Latin
American pop festival is held here each year in
February and it just happens to be this week. The
park surrounding the mansion is said to be lovely,
but it was off-limits to all except ticket-holders
and even then the gates were closed until 7:30
pm. We saw teens waiting to get in as early as 1
pm, and more teens outside a Viña hotel looking
ecstatic to have their photo taken with their
favorite pop idol.
This is the Palacio Rioja, one of the mansions built by the wealthy in Santiago who located their summer homes in Viña del Mar
Robin in front of a "Moai" or giant head from Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Peaceful cathedral at the end of a busy street in Viña
I bought this Peruvian sweater at the artisan's fair in Viña and instantly wore it on this cool, overcast day
Robin is dwarfed by one of the trees in the Palacio Rioja's garden
Viña del Mar is filled with fragrant flowers
The "Moai" in front of the Fonck Museum in Viña is one of only eight in the world not located on the remote island of Rapa Nui
Viña del Mar's Plaza de Armas is a pleasant green space at the heart of the city