Isn’t it funny how sometimes we get the biggest warnings for the things, cities, sites we enjoy the most in the end?
That was the case for Valparaiso, Chile. So many people warned me about this city I fell in love with at the first sight. Be careful at the bus station when you get there, thieves all over. Don’t go out at night alone… or at all. If I were you, I’d avoid the port area. Just in general, it’s a dodgy town, so you know. Even the free-tour guide told us ”we are entering a less safe area” while we were walking the street above.
Plus, at the spot in the photo, there was a big gas explosion years ago, ruining a lovely street. Oh well… I loved it anyways, the building’s skeleton gave it a sort of robust look, but some soul, too, which comes with every plot. It seemed like it’s a story, truly belonging to this city where everything seems on shaky grounds.
Luckily, I only had positive experiences, even walking around after sunset didn’t cause me any trouble, although I was never alone. All the kind words before my arrival had succeeded in making me a bit cautious, yet I felt at ease after the first few minutes. I adored just roaming around and exploring every possible street and it ended up being my favourite part of the Chile journey… At least excluding Atacama, that one is a real competitor!
I keep coming back to Valparaiso in these challenge-inspired posts and now, it is becoming clear why. It is the city where I had most fun, for sure.
I keep coming back to Valparaiso in these challenge-inspired posts and now, it is becoming clear why. It is the city where I had most fun, for sure. Good, not just decent coffee (finally!), yummy empanadas in various flavours, smoothing ice-cream during hill climbs, bumpy rides with a local bus and shaky funiculars, walk after a walk after a walk, great company, late night outings tasting pisco sours, the seaside sun, the atmosphere, the culture and last but not least all the art. Fun finds its place everywhere here, yes, but most of all on walls.
My hostel’s door and the wall on the opposite side:
A wall making fun of the neighbouring capital Santiago’s lifestyle or simply, the morning commute:
And soooooo many others.
Whether a stairway or an alley, I found that in Valparaiso, it is the narrow ones that steal most of its charm.
Whether a stairway or an alley, I found that in Valparaiso, it is the narrow ones that steal most of its charm. The colours of the painted walls just burst out of their shadows, don’t you think?
Narrow streets are always those I love photograph the most in cities, as I admire how their focus concentrates your view as well.
Sometimes you have a conversation with a certain conclusion and then the conclusion appears on the wall next to you, in the form of street art.
I found some French wisdom in the streets of Valparaiso, Chile.
”I say: to each, his own paradise. To each, his own life ideal.”
Santiago, I liked you. But it is Valparaiso who stole a couple of pieces of my heart, when Atacama already got my soul. Here, I kept thinking how all the rich leaving the town a hundred years ago made a huge favor to its streets and atmosphere. Colourful houses and lovely hills, sea, tags, graffiti, murals, energy and art everywhere, and reality? In any case, the lack of empty luxury. When it fell, the city didn’t die, things only moved from one axis to the other, left some space. Left people some space. The town breathes and lives. And one just loves the light walks, despite the tiring stairs. And one instantly feels good and comfortable here, despite all the warnings of its notoriety.
From Cerro Carcel.