Valparaiso is an incredibly colorful, arty, hilly, hippy city for people with strong legs. In fact, it’s probably the most colourful city I’ve ever seen and I’ve never walked such steep hills. When we arrived, we agreed that the rental car had to be parked and stay where it was. There was no way our tiny standard could handle those inclines!
Valparaiso is a port city whose importance has slowly dwindled since the opening of the Panama Canal. While it might not be the booming hub it used to be, it’s shipping legacy still lives on though through its colourful homes. Apparently, the reason behind this magnificent array of colours is that people used to strip tin from old shipping containers and use it to protect their homes from the elements.
Valparaiso is also a university town with several well know fine art faculties. This not only explains the hundreds of creative and whimsical murals which cover almost every building but probably also the lingering smell of marajuana in the air.
For everything that Valparaiso is, it’s not really a city designed for young children. Between the steep slopes, strong smell of urine and lack of parks, Nu spent a lot of time in his back pack. To blow off steam we visited the neighbouring city of Viña Del Mar, which is known as ‘the garden city’. It does have lots of parks, plenty of play structures and some very lovely beaches. We were lucky enough to catch this guy soaking in some rays on the beach. He even gave us a little wave.
The train rides to Viña del Mar were always entertaining. Without fail there is always someone performing something. We saw everything from an original rap pieces to little ukulele ballad. Our favourite though was an amazing singer and drum combo, who were so good that even the security officer who kicked them off the train applauded loudly.
We really enjoyed our time and found lots to do in our 5 days in this city. I could go on about everything we saw and did but Valparaiso is definitely better expressed in photos than words.