From Patagonia to the Atacama: Valparaíso is poetry in motion (part 2 of 3)

“Valparaíso, how absurd you are…you haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you” – Pablo Neruda

This post will be short and sweet as our pit stop in Central Chile on route from Patagonia to the Atacama was brief. Upon arrival in Santiago we rented to a car to make the drive 1.5 hours to the coastal city of Valparaíso. We couldn’t have timed it more perfectly, it was New Year’s Eve and the city hosts one of the biggest fireworks displays in the world!  Back in 2007 the launching of 16,000 shots was enlisted into the Guinness Book of World Records. The 2016 celebration was a solid 30 minutes of colorful fireworks lighting up the harbor.

We arrived late in the evening, so there was little time to check out the city…it was straight to New Years celebrating!

Making the evening even more special, we were able to spend it with our friends in Colorado who traveling through Chile as well.

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The next morning we were finally able to tour the colorful urban fabric of the city snuggled into the seaside hills. Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Pacific”, Valparaíso is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its architecture and urban design. The city is a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways filled with expressive street art.

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We stayed at Palacio Astoreca in the historic district of the city.  The old home was converted to a contemporary hotel, but still maintained all of its old world character and charm. It was a pricey night, but every place in the city was due to the holiday.

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The hotel was in the heart of the famous street art area. We walked for hours, up stairs, through secret alleys, getting lost in the endless colorful expressions of the artists. The art is collection of murals covering entire building faces…

or just portions of their frontage…

alleys, seatwalls, and doorways…

Each stairway climb had its own personality…

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When the legs grow tired, ride on one the city’s funiculars, making the climb ever so much easier…

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Or stop at one of the many bars and restaurants with a view.

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Dance in the streets when you pass by a local musician…

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Stop by to meet a local artist in studio…

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Get lost along the cobblestone streets of Valparaíso…

But do remember, the sad reality of your visit. The gentrification of Valparaíso is their reality.

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Categories: Chile, TravelTags: , , , , , , , ,

angie campbell

I am an expat from the United States living in Wellington, New Zealand. My love affair with landscape, culture, and learning has led to a life filled with travel and academic institutions. Endowed with endless curiosity, I spend a great deal of time philosophizing about anything and everything, but very often pertaining to environmental issues. I should note that I am not formally trained in environmental philosophy, nor do I have the vocabulary competency to pass for someone who has. My writing is a somewhat tongue and cheek.

I am using this blog as a means to work through some of this thinking and to follow my own pathway of inquiry, while providing (hopefully) some meaningful insight of what it is like to live as an American in Aotearoa New Zealand. I am sure at some point there will be some interesting travel photos once I make the leap from iphone to fancy camera.

There is a secondary tab to the this blog spot. Reflections of the Watering Hole is an old blog I started during one of my academic stints studying the social and environmental impacts of oil and natural gas development in the Denver Julesburg Basin in the United States. While some of the information is a bit 'dated' (I started it in 2013), many of the conundrums remain relative today.

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