Friday, July 16, 2010

Valdivia rundown


I stayed at the Airesbuenos Hostel, which I guess is affiliated with Hostelling International. It's awesome.
  • Off-season dorm rate is CH$8000.
    • Excellent, non-Chilean breakfast. (Oatmeal/fruit/wheat toast/real brewed coffee.)
    • Comfy beds.
    • Hot water seemed a little unreliable while breakfast was happening in the kitchen, but fine after 9am or so.
    • Awesome common areas, with a computer and reliable wireless.
    • Good kitchen you can use to cook things.

    • Café Hausmann was fine. I only had a bite of the crudo, a kind of Beef Tartar, spiced raw ground beef on toast. It was fine with the tartar sauce, but not my thing. (Remember: raw ground beef. Just so you're not surprised.) The paila de huevos was good, but since that's just eggs and toast, it's pretty hard to screw up.
    • Café Las Gringas (Chacabuco and O'Higgins, kitty-corner from McDonald's). Good espresso and a fine strudel.
    • Café del Museo (behind the Museo de Exploración) - Holy crap, this was possibly the best meal I've had in Chile. For CH$2500, I got kiwi juice, beet-carrot-celery-pepper-apple salad, creamy squash soup, corn/red pepper quiche, and gelatin with pear chunks and real whipped cream. You might skip breakfast that day, so your stomach doesn't hurt like mine did. I didn't try the coffee, but they had many varieties of actual coffee beans, so they're probably the best coffee in Valdivia.

    Wifi Spots

    Lots of random places have wireless, but like the Mac Dog fuente de soda, many are not really the kind of place you want to hang around on your laptop. Most also seem to allow smoking, which makes them not my favorite thing.
    • Café Moro (Libertad) - The archetypical Chilean salon de te: lots of smokers and awful espresso. However, they have wireless and beer in the same place, and the café helado is pretty good.
    • Cardamomo Café (Libertad) - Actually a centro de llamados (phone call center) with tables and a Nescafe machine, this has the unique combination of having wireless and being smoke-free. CH$500 for the Nescafe "cappuccino" (which is actually fairly tasty, though not a cappuccino) and you can sit around reading Lolcats for a while.
    • Café Las Gringas - See above.

    Doing Stuff

    • Fuerte Niebla is awesome, both for the views and the 400-year old ruins. Chile's war for independence was in 1810, but Valdivia wasn't integrated into the Republic until 1820, because of these fortifications and cannon batteries. The more arcane placards describing the construction techniques are also well-translated into English.
    • Museo Arquilógico - Well-done exhibits of lots of stuff from the Mapuche, Spanish, and Germans, all well-labeled in Spanish, with some stuff in English.. CH$1300 and it took me less than a half hour, but it was worth it.
    • River boat ride! I took the Bahía Patagonia, but they all travel the same route and stop in Punucapa and eat once at the only once place in Punucapa, so just pick the nicest people/best-looking boat/most convenient time. It's CH$7000, so it's not the cheapest thing to do, but you get to see some of the rivers.
    • And finally, Valdivia actually has a professional chamber orchestra, one of eight in the country, set up by a government culture program. I went and saw them do a pretty boring short piece by one of Bach's descendants, and then Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. It's a young group: out of the 20 including soloists, I think there were 3 who looked over 30.
    Valdivia: awesome. I'll be back for a day at the end of the year, before I head farther south to Chiloé and beyond.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment