Valparaiso 3: Protests, markets, cats, dogs, funiculars, and food

October 27, 2019 • 11:30 am

I’m sitting in our hotel in Valparaiso, and out my window I can see our ship, MS Roald Amundsen, sitting at the dock. In a few hours we board, and at 6 pm we head south towards Patagonia and Antarctica. Very exciting!

Because I’ll be aboard with spotty email at best, posts from me will probably be light or nonexistent, though Matthew has kindly agreed to keep the site going with Hili dialogues. I’ll post later today reminding readers to hold off with tips and emails until the beginning of December. In the meantime, I must rush to post this before it’s anchors aweigh.

The curfew in Valparaiso (and I believe Santiago) has been lifted, so things will slowly be returning to a less disrupted state, though protests will continue. One sign of the calm is that the revolutionary slogans are being painted over:

Store grates are being reinforced with steel bars:

But signs of the revolution remain:

In a plaza several days ago, protestors were dancing, playing instruments and chanting. Somebody please translate the sign held up below by one woman:


Plaza Sotomayor with the Monument to the Heroes of Iquique, which honors, according to Wikipedia, “”the Chilean sailors who fell during the Battle of Iquique and the Battle of Punta Gruesa.”

A friendly bar in the market. As far as I can see, beer is sold only by the liter; it costs a little less than three dollars.

I was told by Google that Cristal is a good Chilean beer, so we ordered it.

Our kindly neighbor demonstrates how to squeeze lemon into the beer. (He had several in his daypack, and asked the bartender to cut one up for us.) He was very sweet.

Citrus on sale “The best”. About one US dollar for a kilo.

The Chile dogs (get it?) are treated, as are all stray animals, very kindly. Here’s one gnawing on a bone from the butcher.

The edifice of the newspaper El Mercurio de Valparaíso: the world’s oldest continuously circulating periodical, published under the same name, in Spanish language. It was founded on September 12th, 1827. The building was apparently built in 1918, but looks older. This building was set on fire on October 19. Fortunately, damage was limited to the first floor.

The first issue of the newspaper:

Here’s a two-minute video of a ride up on of the eight or so funiculars operating in Valparaiso. They date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and look their age. There are about eight of them still operating, and they’ve been declared national monuments. First, though, a photo from the outside:

From the inside:

. . . and the ride. Be sure to see the winch and cable at the end:

And the lovely old turnstile (trip cost: 300 pesos, or about 41¢).

Another “acensor” dating from 1886:

Some of the many bottles of water and trays of food that the locals leave for the cats and dogs:

Two Chile dogs; this looks like a “perro viejo”:

Almost every stray or feral dog is in good shape, and well fed. As I mentioned the other day, two of them refused to eat a piece of a meat-filled empanada! WTF?

The port and city of Valparaiso:

A neighborhood on top of a hill, with the usual colorful buildings:

. . . and a mural:

Gatos de Valparaiso, most in good shape:

Here I am fondling a lovely female (the one above), who had one green eye and one blue one:

Local cats eating the food left for them:


Master Cat!

A local held up his cat for us and told us she was named “Patty” (or “Paddy”)

Our last supper (or lunch, as there was a curfew) was at the wonderful restaurant Tres Peces.

The inside; not fancy but promising a surfeit of tasty fish dishes:

Bread and a salsa to start:

Ostiones de Tongoy a la Parmesana: five locally caught scallops served with cheese.

A complementary smoked fish appetizer, given to us for waiting patiently for a table:

Breca a la lata con papas, chorizo, y verduras. “Breca” refers to the common pandora (Pagellus erythrinus), described by Wikipedia as “a fish of the Sparidae family (sea bream)”. . . and “a popular food fish in Mediterranean countries, with delicate white flesh.” It was stewed with cream, tomatoes, potatoes, greens, and sausage, and was fantastic.

Merluza Austral frita con ensalada chilena y arroz; the species is Merluccius australis, or the Southern hake. It was a delicious fried fish, served with rice and “chilean salad”, which seems to be tomatoes and onions. All the fish was absolutely fresh, locally sourced, and scrumptious:

And finally, what must be numbered among the best (and biggest!) of desserts I’ve ever eaten, called simply “profiterol” (“creampuff”). It was big enough for two, and consisted of a pastry shell, covered with chocolate, and enclosing, from the top down, layers of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and raspberry puree. A spun-sugar crown tops it off. This was only about $6, and could match, in quality and taste, any dessert I’ve ever had in a restaurant in France.

And so we’re off in half an hour. See you whenever!

74 thoughts on “Valparaiso 3: Protests, markets, cats, dogs, funiculars, and food

    1. A mediocre translation would be:

      La unión hace la fuerza
      #pormi #porti #portodos #chile (I can make out the other word)
      No se trata de partidos políticos ni límites territoriales ni razas
      Se trata de nuestra calidad de vida y la del planeta que pide a gritos CONCIENCIA

      Unity is power
      #forme #foryou #foreveryone #Chile
      It’s not about political parties, territorial borders, or races
      It’s about our quality of life and the planet’s that screams (climate) CONSCIOUSNESS

      1. Pretty good. I think it says “Chile despierta” (Chile awakens). Big fan of Jerry.

        Peruvian living in Chile and formerly Chicagoan.

        1. Many signs from the Santiago protest have written “Chile Awoke” and “Enough is Enough”! The video posted by Jerry also shows someone waving a multicolored banner for, I assume Gay etc. rights. Chile (unlike Uruguay and Brasil, enacted under left tending governments) does not (yet) recognize gay marriage.

        1. Oui, et tu aussi? Too busy, but have a day off today and the sun is shining. Neighbor caught a beautiful shot of a big cougar in our woods last night, so may spend the day setting up more gamecams.

              1. Dangit- if someone wants to remind me how to properly embed, I’ve put it to flickr. Thanks!

              2. WordPress does the work

                Go to Flickr
                Click on the image so it’s the only one on screen
                Click the “Share” icon below & right of image [it’s a curved arrow]
                The URL of the image pops up in a dialogue [something like this: https: //]
                Make a comment here & publish it

                P.S. Comment needs a couple of words & then on a fresh line below [hit return] paste the URL & hit return again.

                As long as the URL is all on its own line with nothing else on that line WordPress will embed it.

                No funny characters wanted or required [as my dear old mum used to say 🙂 ]

              3. Well it doesn’t look to be embedded – but the link took me to the photo – let me know if it works for you and thanks for the help.

  1. Our union makes the force
    This is not about political parties, territorial boundaries nor races…
    This is about our quality of Life, and the planet’s, which is crying out for CONSCIENCE

    This is my aproximate translation. I didn’t write the hashtags.

    Take care, Jerry, and have a wonderful voyage. I’ll miss you but will wait patiently

  2. Another great tour and fine photos. I wonder if the funiculars have brakes of some kind in case the cable breaks.

    Happy sailing.

    1. I wondered about that too & here is my guess.
      Jerry has recorded the Ascensor Artillería funicular that runs alongside the Blue House JAC mentioned in a previous post [It’s a restaurant]

      ** There’s two cars with a capacity of 25 passengers
      ** Drive equipment is located at the top station
      ** 175 metre (574 ft) track
      ** Fares are paid at the top station
      ** The left & right car counterbalance each other
      ** The uphill end of both cars has two cable ends attached, but there are only three cables in total
      ** Only one cable shared between the two cars is necessary for function, thus I assume the other spare cable to each car is a safety feature

      ** I’ll call them the Tension cable [T] & the Haul cable [H]
      ** Each car has a H cable & a T cable that runs up the slope to the engine room where the operator sits unmoving looking down the rails.
      ** The H cable on one car goes 180 degrees around a horizontal pulley wheel & becomes the H cable for the other car i.e. the H cable is all one cable for both cars & this is the pulley/cable that drives the cars via the operator who can control the speed of rotation of the horizontal pulley. If this breaks it’s a disaster, BUT…
      ** The T cable goes approx 90 degrees around a vertical pulley & drops down a hole – I assume there’s a weight at the end & it’s free running. I’m guessing the weight on the end of that cable is more than the ‘weight’ of an empty car. This T cable is unnecessary for the day-to-day running of the cars – it’s a safety feature I think

      SEE HERE:

      In summary:
      ** The H & T cables are independent of each other [unconnected except they both connect to the cars]
      ** The two T cables are not connected to each other
      ** There is only one H cable each end connected to a car each

      If the H cable breaks the cars no longer counterbalance each other & the T cable on each car takes over. If the T cable weight is sufficiently greater than car + variable number of passengers than the car drifts uphill at a safe speed. I suppose the T cables have a brake mech each & the operator uphill engages that or it is automatic to a given top speed.

      If a T cable breaks then the counterbalanced cars are unbalanced, but nothing crazy & the operator can cope – the main H cable is safe & controlled via the pulley wheel & brake system.

      I’m NOT entirely happy with my analysis though. I can’t figure out the point of the overgrown pale yellow L-pieces between the tracks & I assume they’re a reinforcing structural feature – but they’re not well connected to anything else. Mystery.

      1. At the risk of differing with Michael –

        I’d say the ‘yellow’ rail with the rungs is a rack safety rail for emergency braking. Why else would it be there?

        Each car has two cables attached – one goes round the big horizontal pulley at the top and back down to the other car. I would say this is unpowered (looking at the thin-ness of the spokes on the big horizontal pulley) and serves to ‘balance’ the cars against each other, thus minimising the haulage power required. The other cable goes to the respective vertical pulley and, I would say, then runs down to a motor-driven drum on the floor below, one motor for each side (not a counterweight. Such a weight would require an enormously deep hole. Also, there are not enough turns of the wire around either vertical or horizontal drum to grip the wire adequately for traction).

        The windows in the floor below the terminal floor are the machinery-room windows, I think.

        I’ve been trying to Google for diagrams but I can’t find any.


        1. Re the ‘yellow’ rail, in the second video posted by Michael, you can see, swivelling on the axle of the car, a sort of longitudinal frame with a spring in it and a sprag sticking down from it – I assume in emergency the lever is lowered, the sprag engages with the rungs on the ladder, and the spring takes up the shock.


    2. And here’s an enterprising view of the under-gubbins of the same cars on the the very same ‘ascensor’ which might yield clues to the better informed than me:

      ** There’s two axles that I assume are free running
      ** The four wheels [two per axle] have a tension spring suspension for a comfortable ride
      ** There’s a bloody long single tension spring running part of the length of the under-car. I assume the H cable attaches to the uphill end of that spring & it acts to damp jerks as the system of counterbalanced cars starts & stops
      ** There’s nothing left over [that I can see] to engage with the yellow L-shape ‘rail’ in an emergency

    3. As far as brakes, that yellow rail may serve as what something automatically engages in to stop the car if it suddenly reverses direction. I have a dim memory that cog railways had something similar, but that may well be wrong.

      In any event, I suspect that the T pulley does exactly what it says, to hold tension on the cables. The cables on the cable cars in San Francisco are driven on pulleys, and those pulleys are mounted on sleds that have some mechanism (forgotten what) that pulls tension on the pulleys since the cables stretch over time. When the sled travels to the end of the track they either replace the cable, or cut a length off to shorten it and re-set the sled to the start point again. I’ve forgotten if they actually shorten it, but do remember that the whole cable gets replaced every so often.

      And now I have a third city to add to the places with funiculars that I know about without looking them up: Pittsburgh (ridden), Bergen Norway (would’ve ridden except the cloud cover was at mid-track and so there was no view to be had from the top), and now Valparaiso.

      1. They (funiculars) are all over the place. Wellington (NZ), Vladivostok, Hastings UK (2), Bridgnorth, Shropshire; Lynton, Devon (still water-powered**); Aberystwyth, Wales; Montmartre, Paris; Lauterbrunnen (now replaced with a suspended cable car); Murren-Allmendhubel – just the ones I’ve seen.
        The British ones are often called ‘cliff railways’.

        **Water-powered means there is a tank under each car, filled at the top, emptied at the bottom; the weight drags the car down pulling the other car up.


  3. I almost can’t take your food posts anymore. I consider myself pretty, um, well-eaten (? Like well-read). I’ve been lucky enough to try so many things and enjoy fine dining regularly. But you, sir, outdo me in every way, all the time, and the pictures of your food just kill me. Every time you go on a trip, you seem to find the absolute best things with which to stuff your mouth. I hope the internet makes the tasting of food pictures available one day. I am happy for you, though!

    1. Yes, that dinner looks succulent. Didn’t you say something about seafood a few months ago?
      Do you still think so?
      Like BJ I’m positively jealous!

      1. “Didn’t you say something about seafood a few months ago?”

        Wouldn’t be surprised. I do love it!

        If I had to guess, maybe I said the best seafood I’ve ever had was at Marea in NYC. Can be found in Columbus Circle.

  4. Cool frickin’ place, man. Great food, interesting public art, and even the protesting musicians seem the match of a Big Ten marching band!

  5. The lemons seem to have a green tint. I wonder if they taste the same as lemons we get here or do they have a lime tinge? I like Meyer lemons myself, but can’t get them year ’round.

    And a buck for a kilo of tangerines? Why is food so expensive in the US?

    And what a fine looking meal there at “Three Fishes”.

  6. Some countries seem more “unified” than the USA, in their kind treatment of stray animals. There it seems to be the norm, but here we have people divided on wanting to save them or kill them.

    And the ride that ends the winch and cable— my first thought was potential lawsuit, as Americans expect to be legally protected against, well, everything. And we’ll sue if we don’t get it.

  7. If you think that monstrous dessert can match the oeuvres d’haute art of France, you haven’t experienced France. Let me give you an education right here…

    Yummy looking food!

    1. sanguinelee:

      “If you think that monstrous dessert can match the oeuvres d’haute art of France, you haven’t experienced France…”

      LOL. A great way to attract Jerry’s attention, who has put up a few posts over the last ten years of his Parisian gustatory dabblings 🙂

    2. Umm. . . I’ve eaten often and well in France: I’ve had the three big “chariots des desserts” at Le Troisgros, and dessert at the Taillevent. I’ve had many profiteroles and babas au rhum, and pastries at Angelina and in many fancy pastry shops. I can say that I’ve eaten almost every dessert and pastry available, so I’m not sure I need your “education.” And I stand firm in my assertion that the profiterole “could match, in quality and taste, any dessert I’ve ever had in a restaurant in France.”

      Have you had this particular profiterole, or are you asserting that there is NO WAY it could be the equal of a top-tier French pastry?

      1. I’m sorry, I intentionally left my post a bit cryptic. 🙂 Throwing a bit of sarcasm of responses you got in the past by “experts”.

        Love your travel posts.

  8. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing the pictures. The food looks amazing and I’m glad to see the dogs and cats have plenty to eat.
    Have a great trip!

  9. Great looking grub! My son has a dog almost identical to the sweet orange “lug” near the bottom. Lloyd was rescued from an Indian reservation in northern BC. Looks like a giant fox with an incredibly thick tail.

  10. Great looking grub! My son has a dog almost identical to the sweet orange “lug” near the bottom. Lloyd was rescued from an Indian reservation in northern BC. Looks like a giant fox with an incredibly thick tail.

  11. Great looking grub! My son has a dog almost identical to the sweet orange “lug” near the bottom. Lloyd was rescued from an Indian reservation in northern BC. Looks like a giant fox with an incredibly thick tail.

  12. “MS Roald Amundsen”
    So it is the Norwegian line Hurtigruten (unless two ships can have the same name), an outfit that has been in business for about 150 years IIRC.
    I recently went to Svalbard, (AKA Spitsbergen, though that’s the largest of Svalbard’s several islands, and also was the name of our ship). If this cruise proceeds the same way as ours, one can follow the ship in real time via one of Hurtigruten’s pages.
    The MS Roald Amundsen is brand new, and in some sense a bit mysterious to me as a “unique electric hybrid”. I had thought that most modern large ships have propellers driven by electric motors, the motors having electricity supplied by the diesel engines. Maybe not.
    Hurtigruten were really good, but pricey. No stupid entertainment, just lectures mainly. There was even an expedition guy on ours in the Arctic who has a geographical feature in the Antarctic named after him.

    1. The Norwegian Hurtigruten cruise line is indeed around 130 years old & your vessel is Jerry’s vessel. This is MS Roald Amundsen’s first visit to the southern fjords of the west coast of South America & its first visit to the South Polar Ocean & the Antarctic Peninsular.

      SEE THIS POST & particularly my comments under that post for more details of the above & the meaning of “hybrid” in respect to MS Roald Amundsen.
      But, essentially you have it right – all ship systems where possible are electrically powered including the heavy stuff such as the thrusters [props] & the winches. The four Rolls Royce diesel engines are there only to produce electricity which is directly put to service or partly/entirely goes to battery storage for use later. The two stern thrusters & the two side thrusters [one each side pointing sideways near the bow] are Permanent Magnet [brushless] motors that each drive a prop. The rear two props can swivel in the horizontal plane through 360 degrees.

      The diesels can run the thrusters in real time via electricity or the diesels can be be doing something else [or nothing] while the props run on battery [half hour capacity at full bore]. Because the diesels are not physically connected to the props it’s easy to run any number of the four diesels to keep each one at its optimal load efficiency to run all ship systems. There’s a RR computer system on board that figures out the best engine speeds & loadings – this flexibility more than makes up for electrical conversion losses [given that there’s a saving in losses found in mechanical shaft-driven props due to the extra space & weight required, inflexibility, linkage friction etc etc].

      1. Thanks, Michael, for alerting me to that earlier post and all the interesting comments. Embarrassingly, I’d missed it completely, so what I asked above concerning the ship was redundant. Even the commercial video was quite interesting, esp. comparing to MS Spitsbergen.

        Actually, the back and forth re auto hybrids was interesting there as well. I dumped my regular cars 2 years ago and opted for a couple of plug-in hybrids which are great. They’ve done around 73% and 94% pure electric, with the former doing the longer trips. Ontario is now pretty good for clean generation.

        Maybe you said it there, and I’m no engineer at all, but I’d guess these ships cannot do anything much in the way of ‘brake regeneration’–I’d assume letting propellers ‘run backwards’, when cutting the speed, would produce almost nothing, the energy all going into trivially warming the world’s oceans by (10 to the -99) degrees, rather than the reverse rotation generating anything useful for the batteries.

        1. That’s right – the Permanent Magnet motor is not employed in the reverse manner [as a dynamo/generator to charge the battery &/or to brake the prop].

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