Valparaiso, Chile

I’m reposting visits to some of my favourite places, today it’s Valparaiso in Chile, a city I thought was more interesting than the capital, Santiago. I was on a 105 day trip to visit the countries still on my ‘want to do’ list, (this is where the name of this blog comes from see ‘105 days’ from the menu for more about this). It was a very busy trip, visiting 14 countries, I wrote about every day of the trip and recorded the number of flights; modes of transport, as they were quite diverse; hotel stays; etc. I took these photos on a very cheap smart phone, so the quality is not always great but hopefully will give you some inspiration.

Day 37 May 24 2016

Countries 5    Hotels 15    Cars 35

Flights 10:flying time 43.47 hours

Rickshaws 4    Buses 3    Elephant 1    Boat 1

Cog-wheel train 2    Cable cars 4    Subway 4    Ferry 2

Minibus 16    Coach 2    Catamaran 1    Funicular 3

I had a beautiful start to my day today, when I sat on the balcony of my hotel room with a good coffee and watched the sun rise over the city.

After breakfast I had a walking tour of Valparaiso. My guide explained that street art is a very important part of the identity of this area of the city.  The street artists are not paid for their work, either the owner of the building approaches an artist and asks them to paint their wall or the artist can ask an owner for permission to paint their property.  There is a huge eclectic mix of styles and methods of street art, and it’s everywhere.  I’ve chosen my favourites here.  Street art can be used to make political statements and was seen as an important way of doing this during the years of the dictatorship in Chile.

The houses on these hills were originally painted bright colours because the streets didn’t have names so the residents would use the colour of their home to identify it, this practice still continues today.  Although the streets now have names, usually after the residents who lived there.

The streets are very steep and narrow, and funiculars are used by locals who don’t have cars.  The one I went on was the steepest of the ones in use, and takes one from the top of the hill into the city centre, and only cost 10p.

There are huge numbers of stray dogs here and one has to watch where one is walking as there is a lot of pooh on the pavements and roads.  They are fed and sort of cared for by the locals, kennels are provided too, the dogs just laze around on the streets, odd really.  The city centre was a bit disappointing, everywhere is covered in graffiti, gave it a grubby look.  My guide took me on a bus to go to La Sebastiana Museum, the house of Pablo Neruda, awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1971. There was music playing on the bus and my guide explained that all buses have music playing and it depends on the drivers taste as to what gets played, anything from Pink Floyd to classical.  No photos allowed inside the house, but it was very eclectic and quirky, with great views over the harbour and sea. I mooched around the area after lunch, found a guy in the street filleting a fish, very random, and that was Valparaiso done for me.

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