Valdivia has plenty of attractions to hold visitors' interests for a few days. Set along the Rios Valdivia and Calle Calle, this university city boasts a variety of museums, restaurants, shopping centres and historical landmarks. We were, of course, drawn to its foodie fare. Like most towns in this part of Chile, German immigration has had a huge impact on the flavour of the area.
Step One: Find Chocolate
We noticed several chocolate shops in town, most of them congregated near the Plaza de la Républica along Vicente Pérez Rosales. The large shopfront of Entrelagos drew us into a confectionary wonderland. In one corner a staffer scooped gelato into sundae cups. In the same room was the production facility where a woman prepared handmade creations in the shapes of ducks, horses and trains. We had a look and then made our way to the counter where a young woman dressed in a pretty traditional costume filled a box with our selections. We chose a variety of individual chocolates but cakes and pastries were available as well. They were delicious!
Step Two: Eat Lunch
John had his eye on an interesting place called SchopDog since we noticed it the day before so we headed there for lunch. Decorated like a Chileno version of T.G.I.Friday's with vintage 50's American movie posters on the walls and plenty of jukebox sass, it became clear very quickly that everything in this place was designed to go well with beer. We ordered a combo platter and a pitcher of the national beer, Escudo, which came with half a dozen baked cheese empanadas. While the food wasn't great, the beer was cold and we enjoyed watching the wide variety of locals patronising the restaurant. At one point we were joined at nearby tables by a group of uniformed school-girls, a businessman, a very young couple with a newborn and a trio of quite serious university students. It seems there is something for everybody at SchopDog.
Step Three: Afternoon Entertainment at the Feria Fluvial
Some fellow travellers had told us about the sea lions that patronise the fish and vegetable market on the riverside and it was time for us to watch someone else eat for a change. Sure enough, a small crowd was gathered at the edge of the market watching the sea lions. The bigger animals dominated the best spots, defending their positions while the other ones swam along the water hoping for throws with some distance.
We got some great video of this huge sea lion catching fish. A fearless fellow joins him about half-way through the video for his fair share.
In our next post, we visit the resort area of Niebla for some hearty market fare and a visit to two of the region's craft breweries.