Let’s face it, with 2,700 miles of coastline, Chile is a maritime country, and the national Armada (that’s Navy) pulls some weight. This year’s Bicentennial Celebrations included a Naval Review. Some 300 ships from Chile and 5 other countries participated, and the Air Force joined in for good measure.
Although the Parada Militar (check out images of that from last year) takes place every year, this is just the 13th Naval Review–the first took place 100 years ago to mark the Centennial Celebration. President Sebastián Piñera joined Naval Commander Admiral Eduardo González aboard the Esmeralda in Valparaíso, where the “parade” began with an air show. The ships then made the loop of the bay from Valpo (Valparaíso) to Concón.
Unfortunately we missed the air show because we badly miscalculated how many people would head to Viña. The traffic jam started several kilometers outside of town, where people had given up and gathered high in the hills to watch from the heights, but I wanted to be in the thick of things. And thick it was! Thousands of people lined the entire bay and it took a while and a bit of ingenuity to find a spot, and we finally wrangled our way down to the sand at the outlet of the Estero Marga Marga where we could see the ships as they rounded the bed around the Castillo Wulff.