08 October 2011

Valparaiso, Chile: A Hilly Little Town

This morning, Kim and I headed out of Santiago to Valparaiso, a nearby city, in an endeavor to broaden our Chilean horizons.  Despite missing the bus (it's fortunate that Chilean bus companies just allow you to change your ticket for another time!), we made it to Valparaiso by early afternoon, and began our exploration of this incredibly hilly city.

In addition to hills, one of the first features we noticed about Valparaiso was the extensive and low-slung power lines.  I don't know if it is because the houses are situated helter-skelter across the hillsides, or simply because most of them were built before electricity, but for someone of my height...you need to watch your head!

Because of all the hills, Valparaiso has quite a few sets of steep stairs, as you can see behind Kim and I.  We climbed several of them while looking for a museum that we wanted to visit, but somehow managed to miss all of the entrance points for the many 'elevators' (sideways trains that take you up the hills) that dot the city.

Our long walk did allow us to stumble upon some interesting places, such as this balcony, which is front patio of the Museum of Lord Cochrane.  The museum was remarkably bad (there were literally no exhibits, just a courtyard with a fountain), but at least the view of the city was great!

Another plus of walking is that we got to see things like this!  The streets of Valparaiso are adorned with beautiful murals (and in some places, mosaics), which are delightful surprises to find when you round a random corner.

Our last stop of the day was the five-story house of famed Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, who lived from 1904-1973.  The house was one of many he owned, as was built and decorated with his own unique sense of order.  Taller than most of its neighbors, the house offers stunning views of the Valparaiso Bay; unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside, so here is a nice shot of the outside.  We had a great day exploring this city, and are excited to explore its other half (the sister city of Vina del Mar) tomorrow!


grandma feldt said...

Interesting city and sunny weather is always a plus! Love ya

linda feldt said...

Looks like you and Kim took a lot in. The little side streets look so interesting. Glad you are sightseeing with someone. Miss you. Love & prayers mom