Valparaiso

On another excursion from Santiago we ventured to Valparaiso, where we had tried unsuccessfully to get to on New Years eve to celebrate New Years day.
There are two parts of the city to enjoy by sea and by land
By sea you can take a boat, if you are lucky sea-lions, as we did, and enjoy the nice view and clean blue waters.

As we arrived on New Years day (not the eve) the streets were being cleaned, but it was OK.
Valparaiso is has a reputation for being one of the more dangerous city in Chile or if to be believed by some guidebooks the most.
There could be some truth as friendly Chileans we asked for directions gave us advice to watch out for our camera.
There was some sign of poverty where the person looked like to be on drugs loitering around but we never felt in danger at all. I think it is reasonably safe during the day at least.

Valparaiso is famous for its funicular or ascensores. Wikipedia says “Going to Valparaiso and not going on the ascensores (inclines) is like going to Venice and not taking a ride on a Gondola, only that the ascensores cost as little as 300 Chilean Pesos (around 60 US cents).” (as of 14/9/11)
Some ascenories lead to nice view points over the city.

The city is also famous for the Chorillana (see Chilean food). The restaurant J Cruz claims to have invented the dish so we had to try it out. The food portions were massive (too big) but nice, the interior nice and service good. Whether it is the best or not may be down to personal taste. I liked it but favoured the same dish I had in Santiago .

Chile vs. Peru – The Pisco Sour Wars
Peru and Chile both sale a high alcohol kind of grape brandy. both claim to have invented the drink and both countries has passed legislation over legislation to help protect their cultural brand.
It is perhaps Peru that is the most voracious, making both the import and sale of Chilean pisco sour illegal.
Chile is a bit more pragmatic more willing to recognise both but eager to protect what it sees as its right to product their brand.
Having not yet been to Peru I have only tasted the Chilean one (despite being Pisco sour they are slightly different in taste) and it was nice.
I am a teetotaller and so having tried this and visiting a winery in my Chile trip I probably tried more alcohol than in my life since and before. And no I didn’t get drunk or drink excessively just that there are years when I don’t drink any at all.