Corrugated City

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Where To Stay In Santa Cruz, Colchagua Valley

I've just returned from another trip to Santa Cruz in the Colchagua Valley. I love this part of Chile. I love the countryside. I could quite happily live on a mini-farm in the middle of nowhere in the Chilean countryside. I spent most of my childhood running around in the country and the older I get, the more I miss the greenery and the less the city appeals to me.

I was down on business and pleasure on this trip, catching up with some friends who will be involved in my re-vamped consulting agency. If you are interested in investing in a vineyard in Chile, please visit Chile Investments. In the meantime, here's a run down of places to stay in Santa Cruz.


I'd suggest one of two options here. The first would be Hotel Entre Viñas (the website isn't really finished yet) in Nancagua-about a 10 minute drive from Santa Cruz. Although I haven't actually stayed in the hotel, I went to visit on my last trip to Santa Cruz as the place is owned and run by a friend's father. There are photos below. For the price, this is a really fantastic option. Rooms go for around 50,000-70,000 Pesos for a double. The house itself is really nice with lots of old family heirlooms dotted around the place (the family has lived in the area for a couple of hundred years so they've collected quite a lot over the years). The rooms are spacious and well-designed and there's a garden with a pool for the summer. Very good value.

The second option would be where I just stayed (I chose this place as it's just a couple of minutes drive from my friends). Hotel Casa de Campo is a little more expensive, ranging from 70,000-85,000 but it's definitely worth it. The rooms are beautifully designed in a new two storey construction that looks like it was built 100 years ago. The rooms are gorgeous and look out over fields towards the mountains. Hot water is provided by solar panels and the central heating system (for winter) is run from a huge wood burner (definitely more efficient and less polluting than gas of which Chile has none). The owners are also incredibly friendly and ensured we had everything we needed at all times. (Not very good) photos below.

Highly recommended.


I guess the first place that should be looked at would be the Hotel Santa Cruz. Personally I wouldn't want to stay there as it's a little too large and impersonal but it's definitely a good option. Rooms start at around 140,000 Pesos. There are a couple of good restaurants in the hotel and you can arrange all your wine tours from the reception desk. It's convenient and the hotel is really well designed.

Viña La Playa is about a 25 minute drive outside of Santa Cruz and set in the middle of the vineyard's land, surrounded by vines. A client stayed there last year and it's definitely a good place to stay. The grounds are beautiful and there's a pretty decent restaurant there as well. It's a little far away from everything for my tastes but if you want total peace and quiet then it's a good option.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Old Photo Friday

Avenida Brasil looking down towards Plaza Bellavista/Civica/Intendencia. The thin building in the middle of the photo is now where the Intendencia is situated in a truly hideous architectural kick in the knackers. Have a look here.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Esmeralda-Comings and Goings

The other day, the Esmeralda left Valpo with a cargo full of lucky new Chilean Naval Officers on a round the world jolly. They get to sail a tall ship to far-flung destinations for 9 months or so. Not a bad life...

So here is the Esmeralda arriving in Valparaiso last December (in time for New Year when it is beautifully illuminated).

And leaving again.

Friday, 13 March 2009

View from Cerro Artilleria, Old and New

It's now impossible to get this view from Cerro Artilleria- there's been quite a lot of construction since this photo was taken sometime, I'm guessing, in the 1860s or so.

If you look very closely (click on the image to enlarge), exactly half way up the very far edge of the right hand side, you can just about make out Lord Thomas Cochrane's house. A little bit in and you can see an unbuilt upon bluff (it's got a white line running down the middle of it). This is where the Palacio Barburriza was built and the hill which Ascensor Peral services...the only really flat part of Cerro Alegre-Paseo Yugoslavo. And just to the left of that is Cerro Concepcion. Or 'home' as I prefer to call it.

The best views I could find...mix the first two together to get the actual equivalent of the old photo.

The Palacio Baburriza

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The Floridafication of Chile

Sometimes it seems that all Chile wants to do is convert itself into Florida...shiny new, crappy quality tower blocks and malls. Vina del Mar is an obvious example but the desire to show Chile as a new, dynamic and economically successful country often makes the average Chilean forget that old doesn't necessarily mean bad. This is part of the problem of Valparaiso. Instead of being proud of having such a stunningly beautiful and eclectic city in their country, many Chileans see Valparaiso as an embarrassment because it's dilapidated and crumbly. It's backward and doesn't show obvious wealth. They urge foreign visitors to go to 'beautiful' Vina instead. For many Chileans, visitors who come to Valparaiso and leave without having been robbed, raped or murdered are the lucky ones. They forget that wealth is not just monetary.

A friend recently took a taxi from the airport into Santiago. The driver asked where she lived and expressed shock when she said Valpo. Apparently, Valpo is full of thieves and pickpockets and petty criminals. 'Sounds just like Santiago', my friend said. The driver looked puzzled for a minute before replying, 'I guess you're right.'

I have one word for that news.


Late Edit: And talking about mallification, go read this entertaining piece about the disastrous opening of the hideous Westfield Centre in West London.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Wine! Grapes! Vineyards! Colchagua!

On Monday and Tuesday I went down to Santa Cruz, in the heart of the Colchagua Valley, famous for being the centre of production for some of Chile's finest red wines. It's a beautiful area of the country and I love getting away from the city from time to time.

This time, I wasn't there for wine tours but for my own work. I'm re-starting my agricultural property consulting after a sabbatical year and went down to talk to real estate agents, oenologists and other people I'll be working with. If you're interested in investing in Chile in a vineyard, fruit farm or any kind of real estate in Chile then please visit Chile Investments.

I had a great time catching up with some friends I haven't seen for over a year and the trip was pretty successful. Apart from quite literally being run off the road at 80mph by a brain dead muppet, missing a road sign by a couple of inches and being within a split second of becoming a statistic.

Having been forced to study them for my business degree, I can truthfully say that I hate statistics.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Street Art, English Style

This guy's been getting quite a lot of press much so that it was my mum who emailed me these pictures. The artist is Julian Beevor, an Englishman who uses chalk to create some pretty incredible 3D images. In all of these photos, the only real things are the people, everything else is drawn. When it rains, it all washes away.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

360 View From The Roof Of A House On Abtao, Cerro Concepcion

As you might have guessed from the title of the post, here's a series of photos forming a 360 degree view from the roof of a house on Cerro Concepcion. That's real estate in Valparaiso Chile or perhaps a house in Valparaiso Chile or perhaps a property in Valparaiso Chile or maybe just real estate in Chile and property in Chile. I'll let you decide which description you prefer. Personally, I prefer real estate in Valparaiso Chile but, hey, that's just me.

If you want to buy the house with these rather lovely views then click along to real estate in Valparaiso.

The quality of the photos isn't all that great as I only had my iphone with me but they're not too can click on them to make them bigger.

Looking out towards Viña. On completely clear days, usually only in winter, you can see all the way to the snow-capped peaks of Aconcagua and the surrounding mountains.

Looking towards the port and the naval ships...

Looking down Calle Abtao with Cerro Artilleria and Playa Ancha far off in the background

That's St Paul's Anglican church in the foreground on Calle Pilcomayo. In the background is the hideous tower block that ruins the views for many people living behind it. It does actually serve one quite useful purpose, there are no other tall buildings in the area, it's a great landmark for picking out Cerros Alegre y Concepcion from afar. You can see it in this photo from the top of Cerro La Campana. Through binoculars from there, I was able to find my house.

Just behind the house on Abtao is the Ex-Colegio Aleman, now Colegio del Mar or something like that.

Behind the school, you can see Cementerio Numero II

And here you can see Cementerio Numero I

And to finish the 360 tour, two photos of the Iglesia Luterana on Abtao.