Art plays a significant role in the historic hills of Valparaíso, Chile. From the minute we arrived, the vibrant cityscape appealed to our Bohemian mindset.Walking from the bus station to our hostel, and as fans of murals, we couldn’t wait to unload our packs and set out exploring our new surroundings.
Unlike the murals in Cuenca, there is a real mix of styles here, from graffiti to deliberate pieces. The artistry here is freer, cutting-edge, at times raffish, and no surface is exempt; wood and corrugated metal fences, building facades, garage doors, retaining walls, even park slides and garbage cans succumb to the artists’ brush.
The profusion of urban art is everywhere and kept us busy snapping pictures.
Here and there, murals and flowers mingle, creating a kaleidoscope of colour.
Before the building of the Panama Canal in 1914, Valparaíso was the major seaport in Latin America. Today the modern port is still an important Chilean shipping point. From Prat Pier, we watched the activity of the big ships loading cranes and the bustle of the many tour boats.
Then we walked back into the hills.
Gordon was pleased with the neighbourhood beer store. The sandwich board outside loosely translates to: “Beer is the proof that God exists and that he wants us to be happy.” — Not your typical liquor store.
On our third day, we venture to the neighbouring city of Viña del Mar, a 15-minute distance away on a metro that follows the seaside. From the station, we strolled towards the ocean passing busy shopping streets and trendy restaurants. Various modern condominiums line the waterfront; a clean and uninspiring setting.
We didn’t find much worthwhile to photograph. A perfect place for retirees and the affluent who are looking for a modern beach lifestyle of nothingtodo-ness. The high point of our jaunt to Viña was the performance of musicians and buskers on the metro.
We returned to the cerros; the dynamic hills of the city to get lost in the crazy maze of alleys and stairways, in search of more urban art.
After another day of continuous surprises in the port city, this mural enticed us to come in, relax and enjoy some vino.‘Valpo’, as it’s affectionately known by the locals is one of our new all-time favourite cities.