We began this day with a trip to the neighbouring port city of Valparaiso. Our first stop was at a fishing collective called "Caleta El Membrillo", where we talked with some local fishermen and fish merchants. The Chilean government allows artisanal fishermen to operate with very few restrictions from the coastline to five miles out, but these fishermen must use traditional methods and equipment.
From there we proceeded up the street and observed several monuments, as well as some of the commercial and military ships that were in port. Valparaiso is the home port of the Chilean Navy, and we were able to see the outside of the Naval Headquarters, the National Maritime Museum, as well as some colonial architecture in the same neighbourhood. Fred, our tour guide, explained some of the history of the War in the Pacific, fought between Chile and the allies of Peru and Bolivia.
From there we boarded the bus to go to Posada del Parque, a nature preserve that has a very unique blend of 5 different ecosystems on one property! After we took a guided tour of the grounds and observed the local wildlife, an authentic Chilean lunch was served, and enjoyed by all.
We then headed back to Vina del Mar, where many of us enjoyed the boardwalk, souvenir shopping, and views of the ocean. Class VII continues to be impressed by the people of Chile, and we are very much looking forward to the next day's opportunities.
- submitted by Ross M. Tschetter