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Day 3 in Chile - Dec 30, 2010 - Vina del Mar and Valparaiso

Day three in Chile had us headed to a four day stay in Vina del Mar, a beach resort city on the Central Coast.  We were going there for New Year's celebration and to see the beaches.  We took two vehicles, Juan Carlos' Ford pickup with all the bags in it and riding were me, Juan, Ron and Will.  In Veronica's Jeep Grand Cherokee was all the food and passengers Juan Carlos, Veronica, Coke and Rachel. It was about a two and half hour drive to Vina.  We stopped for sandwiches along the way.  Most sandwiches in Chile seem to be topped with smashed avocado, tomatoes, and mayonnaise (which is like our sour cream in the US).  Most everyone had a beef sandwich with those toppings 'El lomito italiano'.  I had a hot dog with those toppings.  Really good!  And the sandwiches are huge!  See recipe below.  The bread is something probably not as readily found here.  At least not where I live.

We had to drive through some small mountains to get to the coast.  We stopped to take some photos.  There were small farms on the hillsides and we saw animals grazing (cows and goats).  We drove through the Casablanca Valley.  Juan told me that some of the best white wine comes from grapes in this region.  Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.

We arrived at the house in Vina in the mid afternoon. We all picked out our rooms (the house was very big) and unpacked a bit.  Then we all went into the pickup truck (all eight of us) and went for a drive to Valparasio, the city adjacent to Vina, but instead of being a resort town, it is the largest port city in Chile.  It is a unique city and all built all on a hill.  There are many interesting neighborhoods and shops.  There are many old (over 100 years) lifts that take passengers from one level of the city to another.  They were a little creaky but certainly got us where we needed to go.  I took a lot of photos of the ornate graffiti in the city.  It was very cool.  We bought some souvenirs.  I bought a poncho closure pin made of copper made by a a Mapuche artist (native Chilean) for my mom.

After several hours of touring Valparaiso, we offered to take the families out to dinner.  Juan Carlos suggested an Italian restaurant called Fellini's.  We drove there and tried to get a table.  Because of the New Year's celebrations and so many people in the city, there was a couple hour wait.  We decided to wait and walked over to the Casino for a bit.  We went to watch the sunset along the boulevard.  Our meal was very nice.  Italian menus are easy for me to understand!  Lots of wine, laughing and a mixture of conversations in English and Spanish.  A great time! We got back home about midnight to go to sleep.  Tomorrow it is the New Year's Eve party!


Valparaiso


El Lomito Italiano (Chilean Fast Food):

Ingredients:
A nice round bun (about 6 inches if you can find one)
Thinly sliced beef sauteed with garlic, salt and pepper
Tomato-thinly sliced marinated in olive oil and salt
Avocado-smashed
Mayonnaise (seemed to taste more like sour cream - use what you prefer)

Build the sandwich as shown.  Make sure the bun is warm and sort of crispy.
El Lomito Italiano

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