Published: November 15th 2008November 14th 2008
Valparaiso is a port town not too far from Santiago. It has streets running parrellel to the shoreline pressing back up against the cliffs. Residential neighborhoods with sidewinding, criss-crossing, irregular streets rise up behind the organized business district below. Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, it was one of the most important towns on the Pacific Coast. However, now it is not on the main trade routes and its importance as a port has started to decline. However, the remnants of the once great city are still present in the old ascencures (kind of a mix between elevators and escalators and gondolas) that dot the landscape carrying pedestrians up the hills, and in the architecture from that era. The houses and buildings are painted in numerous colors, largely in pastels, accentuating the nouveau architecture. The city is now more well known for the artists that inhabit the area and paint the various walls of the city with beautiful murals. It makes it difficult to tell which ones are legally placed and which ones are pieces of illegal graffiti. In a way, the city reminds me of Seattle; a port past its prime producing famous artists and plagued by cloudy,
We spent quite a bit of time walking around the streets checking out the murals (notice the 20 some photos of them!), enjoying the colorful buildings, and getting some excercise climbing up and down, up and down hills all day. It was nice, as we had been getting our fill of greasy empanadas ever since we´ve gotten into Chile; they are the cheapest food we can find and everything else, while delicious, is a bit more than we have for our budget. We did take a short break from our walking to catch Quantom of Solace, the new Bond movie set in Bolivia. We also ventured up the coast for a day to see if we could find a quieter beach area, but we failed to find anything that blew our minds besides some crab, clam, shrimp, and scallop empanadas.
I really enjoyed the city, but after three days we are moving on to Mendoza and Argentina. We only have a month and a half to get all the way through Patagonia and the Lakes District before we need to be in Buenos Aires for Christmas and Uruguay for New Years! Crazy how time flies, we
(Eric and I) are already two months into the South American trip (well, three days short, but close enough). Burton, just a fresh face on the trip, is still getting used to the travel. He is freshening up his spanish and still trying to learn the card games (Kyle´s edit on Burton´s deleted edit: after reading this Burton started a protest about how he had placed better than me each time, which I proved him wrong on, and then claimed to have won two out of three games, when we had actually played six games. And, he has consistently played before Eric, so Eric reaps the benefits of Burtons mistakes, making me get shafted. So, as I was saying, Burton has a long way to go to become sufficient at cards). (Kyle´s edit to my own edit: And he isn´t used to Eric and I complaining at one another either.)
There are more photos below