Looking for tickets or info for the Get Happy Tour 2018 featuring Bowling for Soup, Army of Freshmen and The Aquabats?

This domain name was used for the Get Happy Tour back in its original run around 10 years ago, when I used to do work for BFS and AOF. However, for the past 5 years it has been used for my travel blog as I never thought we would have another Get Happy Tour and I didn't want it to go to waste.

But as a favour to two bands who have done a lot for me over the years, and so you don't miss out, ticket info is:
O2 Presale: 10am on 25 September
General Onsale: 10am on 27 September.

Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk and bowlingforsoup.com
 


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Posts Tagged ‘Viña del Mar’

My Chile travel blog is finally online

August 16th, 2016 No comments

Every time I travel it seems to take longer and longer for my travel blog to be posted online and this is definitely the case again now. Seven months to the day from the start of my memorable and highly enjoyable trip to Chile and I have finally managed to get it online.

Flower Clock, Viña del Mar

A photo of the flower clock in Viña del Mar, added to the top of this post for the purposes of my WordPress Facebook plugin.

Route to Chile

The route I took to Chile

As those who follow my travel blog, or those who just happen to have read my previous entries, will know I don’t blog live while I travel for several reasons. Usually there is the case that when I travel I tend to visit places that are off the beaten path, or in some cases off the grid completely, meaning no chance to post live but more importantly I feel that this takes your concentration away from what you are seeing and experiencing. It is my opinion that when you blog live, either daily or periodically, while things may be fresh in your memory you will experience each day in terms of what you can write about in your blog rather than in terms of new experiences.

As a result I write my blog in bullet point form and then, in collaboration with the photos that I took and the schedule for the trip, reconstruct my blog and type it up after returning. However a combination of the fact this was a trip to visit a friend, rather than an organised trip that had a schedule, and my current personal circumstances have resulted in extended delays which is a shame.

However here it is… my 2016 Chile travel blog! Just read on on this page, or navigate to the “2016 Chile” category using the site menus, to read all about this great country.

Chilean Flag

The National Flag outside La Moneda

I won’t post much about my trip in this announcement message but to cut a long story shore I loved Chile and want to return again soon. The people, the food, the culture, the way of life, the climate, the atmosphere, the prices and the experiences that I have made me fall in love with the country very quickly. Even though I only visited Santiago and two cities fairly close by I know that Chile is a county that I want to visit again soon, maybe combining Santiago with another region such as Patagonia, The Atacama or Easter Island.

The blog I have written, since there wasn’t a set itinerary and we didn’t spend the whole time rushing from place to place, is written in summary format as opposed to my usual point by point account of what happened each day but I think it gives a good overview of my experiences in Chile.

For the purposes of search engines who will pick up on this post once I publish it, key words for my blog and sights that I saw include…

  • Chile, South America, Latin America, Santiago, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, La Granja, Las Condes, Parque Forestal, Parque Metropolitana, La Moneda, Plaza de Armas, Iglesia San Francisco, Museo Violeta Parra, Cerro Santa Lucía, Costanera Centre / Center, Metro de Santiago, Plaza Baquedano, Quinta Normal, Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, 1973 Coup, Pinochet, Iberia, Empanadas

As usual there is no way I can finish with a boring list so here are a few of my favourite photos from the trip.

Pancracia

Pancracia the cat

Mote con Huesillo

Mote con Huesillo

Santiago de Chile

The steps up to Cerro Santa Lucía

Plaza de Armas, Santiago de Chile

Plaza de Armas

Iglesia San Francisco

Inside Iglesia San Francisco

La Moneda

La Moneda, the Presidential Palace

A great view of Santiago de Chile

The view from the very top of the hill at Parque Metropolitano.

I hope that you enjoy my blog from this trip. I didn’t see much of the country compared to most people who visit but as usual feel free to message me if you have any comments, corrections, random messages or want to ask anything.

Happy travels!

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Viña del Mar and powerful seas

January 24th, 2016 No comments

Today we took another day out of Santiago and busy city life to visit the coastal town of Viña del Mar, which came highly recommended by everybody from Chile that I spoke to before travelling. It was another long and exhausting day, just like Saturday when we went to Valparaíso, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Viña del Mar is close to Valparaíso, in fact when you are in one town you can see the other on the far side of the same big bay, and they also share a tram network but they have completely different atmospheres. Valparaíso, as I described in my previous blog post, is a good place to visit if you are looking to learn more about Chilean culture and history, see some street art, learn more about the Chilean government etc and Viña is the place you go if you want to take in the coastal way of life and visit the beach, although it does have museums and is the location of the world famous Viña del Mar music festival so you can take in plenty of culture there.

We decided to take a different coach company today as the prices with the company we travelled with to Valparaíso, Tur Bus, were a bit more expensive to Viña for some reason. This meant leaving from a different bus terminal a few minutes walk away from the main one, but the journey time was no different. Overall, as long as you don’t take one of the ultra-cheap companies, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between coaches. Both Tur Bus and Condor had comfortable seats, with plenty of leg room, left on time and seemed efficient. Steven says there are plenty of budget coach companies who have various levels of service, punctuality, and safety so it’s probably best to stick to the bigger operators where possible.

After arriving at the bus station in Viña del Mar we headed straight to the town’s most iconic and recognisable sight, the Reloj de Flores (Flower Clock), which as its name suggests is a working clock but with a face made up entirely of flowers. Here you will find locals and tourists alike taking photos and selfies while enjoying the sun and the atmosphere, and of course we followed suit taking some photos of ourselves. This seems a good place to start if you are visiting the town by bus as it is very close to the beach, bus station and a number of shops / restaurants.

Selfie in Viña del Mar

Selfie time

Flower Clock, Viña del Mar

A photo of the flower clock later in the day when it was better weather.

The beach was our next stop. Unfortunately, there have been some storms out at sea caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon so the sea was unsafe to swim in, in fact there is a large part of the coast in the town that is completely closed off due to large waves which have been causing flooding and even overturning cars. We decided to walk north along the coast road to this area, near the casino, to take a look at the waves and while the conditions are much better than they have been in recent days they were still powerful enough to get us wet while we were watching from a high vantage point.

Watching the Pacific Ocean

Watching the seas from our “safe” vantage point

Pacific Ocean

…we got very wet

Viña del Mar Casino

The whole area near the casino was closed as the waves kept flooding it.

Since I would not be visiting Easter Island on this trip one place I definitely wanted to visit while in Viña del Mar was the Museo Fonck. This is a small museum within an old colonial house with two main sections, one dedicated to Easter Island and another dedicated to natural history, which while small is well worth a visit. Like many of the smaller museums in Latin America some knowledge of Spanish is definitely helpful, in the case of Museo Fonck they had attempted to translate a number of information boards into English but appear to have done so using an online translator so some of it I couldn’t understand and I just read the original Spanish text instead. We spent some time looking at the exhibits and learning more about the history and culture of Easter Island, and visiting has definitely renewed my interest in travelling there during a future trip.

The natural history section upstairs is fairly boring and standard but it did have a large collection of deadly spiders and various bugs, as well as a two-headed sheep, and it’s possible to waste some time here if you need to before going to your next destination. Overall I found the Easter Island exhibits, and the Easter Island statue in the grounds outside, much more interesting.

Easter Island statue

An Easter Island statue outside Museo Fonck

Easter Island culture

Learning about Easter Island culture

Two-headed sheep

The two-headed sheep

Empanadas were on the menu for lunch today, as they have been many times since I arrived in Chile. In The UK the thought of having pastry repeatedly wouldn’t seem like a good idea but they are a convenient traditional Chilean snack, generally of good quality, affordable and quick to eat. However, the main reason we chose them today was because I read online that one of the best Empanada cafes in the region was in Viña del Mar and so I wanted to try them. Overall they were nice, and they were definitely the best I have had so far on my trip, but I wouldn’t say that they were “out of this world” or any other similar catch phrase.

Viña is one of those towns where you can easily people watch and soak in the atmosphere and so we decided to rest our feet and regain our energy at the local Starbucks near the casino. Starbucks in Chile is a similar price to Starbucks the UK so by Chilean standards it’s extremely expensive, but as is the case with most international brands it is always really popular and so there has been a queue every time we have stopped at one. The atmosphere in this town is really nice and, although it is very touristy and full of gypsies, I would highly recommend a visit here if you are looking for a break by the sea for the day or a weekend. Chile has a very long coast line so there will be areas which are more pristine but Viña is very close to Santiago so is convenient if you won’t be in the region for long.

Viña del Mar, Chile

A view of Viña del Mar

Sea birds

Sea birds in a feeding frenzy after fishermen dumped loads of fish bits on a viewpoint.

Viña del Mar

The beach at Viña del Mar

We didn’t want today to be too rushed and so spent most of the rest of the day just walking around and taking in the sights before relaxing in the Quinta Vergara, home of the famous music festival that I mentioned earlier. It is a nice place to relax, go for a walk, have a picnic or just to get out of the sun and I enjoyed my time here waiting for our coach. It was definitely a lot more preferable than waiting in the coach station for an hour. There is a little train that does tours of the park so it must also be very popular with children, although most of the people there when we visited were older.

Viña del Mar

Busts of famous Chilean people in Quinta Vergara.

Yay, trains!

The little train

Tomorrow begins part two of my time in Santiago, and the final stretch before I unfortunately have to return home.

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