365, 6: day 71

Valparaíso, Chile

We picked up our Australian friends (from the Salt Flats) this morning and drove up to Valparaíso. The whole day we all kept marveling at how it didn’t feel like Christmas eve at all, but it was really nice to have the company and made things feel at least slightly more festive. When we got to Valparaíso, we stopped at a market to pick up some Brie, crackers, salami, strawberry wafer cookies, water, and wine – I was sort of freaking out that everything would close for the holiday. We also bought some apples from a street vendor. We had a terribly failed attempt at lunch, at this weird Colombian toast cafe, before meeting up with our friends again for another walking tour. Valparaíso is the most amazing city, we had a fantastic guide, and a few dogs adopted our group and did the tour with us, stopping when we stopped and coming back to our group after chasing mopeds down the street. The entire city is so dreamy and magical – we took a funicular, looked at street art, and marveled at all of the colors and the views. After the tour, my husband and I went to church, at this amazing German immigrant Lutheran church we’d seen on our walking tour. The service was in Spanish and German?! I’ve been confusing the two languages this entire trip, for some reason, so that didn’t help, but it was so magical and wonderful. After, we went to our friends’ hostel for Christmas Even dinner, which included a bottle of wine they bought at a vineyard outside of Santiago, bolognese that was so good, and Pantone for dessert, which it turns out everyone hates. The day didn’t really feel very festive (they are waaaay less into Christmas in Chile than I’d thought they would be), but it was nice to be with other people (we’d been planning on frozen pizza, to keep my Christmas Eve pizza tradition alive, but this was nicer). One of the coolest holiday moments of the day was walking back up the hill to our Airbnb, where we could hear all of the local evening celebrations. And then we got to videochat with our families next to our fake fireplace (which projected a fire on the wall?). Merry Christmas Eve?!

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