Unknowingly, we arrived inValdivia on the Noche Valdiviana, their most important local celebration. The taxi driver who took us to the hostel told us this, as we had no idea and we hadn´t planned to be there that day! The city was incredibly busy, specially alongside the river, where lots of street venders were selling anything and everything, from jewelry to desk lamps and second hand books of Nietzsche, and other philosphers. There was also lots of street performers, from indigenous tribes from Ecuador to valdivian drummers! The sea lions that normally have a peaceful time sleeping on the jetties, only being disturbed by tourists taking photos didn´t seem unfaced by it all! We soon found out that the whole point of the celebrations were the fireworks and boat parade at midnight and that everyone (families, groups of friends, tourists) came down to the park and the riverside from the early afternoon in order to get a good view! While waiting, they passed the time throwing conffeti at each other, until we were all covered in it. And that´s what we did! When in Rome…

The next day the city looked completely different, quiet and almost empty but covered in white confetti! It was Sunday, so everything was closed! The Historical and Archaeological Museum was open so we decided to visit our first museum in Chile! Upstairs, there was a very interesting selection of Mapuche artifacts and the downstairs was a recreation of a typical german colonial house (The Lake Region of Chile has a very strong German influence). After this, to pass the time, we took to the river in a pedalo in the same river where the sea lions were basking in the sun. The night before was good fun, but overall we were a little dissapointed with Valdivia…

The crowds

Sea lions

Blanca on the pedalo

Sin saberlo, llegamos a Valdivia el dia de la Noche Valdiviana, la fiesta local mas importante. El taxista que no llevo al hostal nos lo dijo, porque no teniamos ni idea, ni habiamos planeado llegar en esa fecha! La ciudad estaba muy animada, sobre todo en la zona del rio, donde habia muchisimos vendedores ambulantes (podias encontrar literalmente, cualquier cosa!) y tanta gente que casi no se podia caminar entre ellos. Los lobos marinos, a los que normalmente solo molestan unos pocos turistas, seguian durmiendo placidamente en la orilla sin importarles el ajetreo de alrededor.  Enseguida nos enteramos de que el acto mas importante eran los fuegos artificales y la cabalgata de barcos a media noche y de que todo el mundo bajaba hasta el rio desde primera hora de la tarde para coger un sitio desde donde poder verlos bien. Mientras esperaban, se tiraban confetis a unos a otros, hasta que todo el mundo estaba completamente cubierto de confeti blanco. Nosotros hicimos lo mismo. Donde fueres….

Al dia siguiente, la c¡udad parecia otra, super tranquila y vacia pero cubierta de confeti. Decidimos vistar nuestro primer museo en Chile, el Museo Historico y Arqueologico, que incluia una seleccion de artefactos mapuche muy interesante y una reconstruccion de una casa colonial alemana. Despues, para pasar el tiempo, recorrimos el rio en un barquito de pedales, como los de El Retiro. Si, estabamos un poco aburridos. Aunque lo pasamos bien en la fiesta, al dia siguiente, domingo, no habia mucho que hacer en Valdivia.

 

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