Day 10: Valparaíso, qué disparate eres

We arrived at Valparaiso by nightfall. Our Airbnb apartment had a jaws dropping view over the city, it was a beautiful start. The city lights punctuated the night, trembling like small candles. I don’t think any of our photos do it justice! We would soon find out that amazing views are bread and butter in Valparaiso. Wether you are in downtown looking at the Pacific, or in one of the ‘cerros’ looking down to the city and further into the ocean, this city will always amaze you with breathtaking views. Perhaps one of the most glorious is from Pablo Neruda’s La Sebastiana, one of the three houses that the Nobel laureate poet had in Chile (the other two are in Santiago and La Isla Negra). Standing in his office, with his desk by your side and peering through the amazing view from the window, you can almost feel inspiration coming. Neruda’s friends and colleagues used to comment on the poet’s easiness to create inspired texts. To them he would reply “it’s not inspiration, it’s my work!”

If Neruda is one of the cornerstones of Valparaiso’s culture (of the whole Chile actually!), a visit to the Unesco World Heritage ‘cerros’ Alegre and Conception is the other must do in Valparaiso. The hilly streets are beautifully decorated with splashes of colour and creativity that will make the steep climb well worth it. And if you don’t feel like climbing all the way up, you can always take one of the eight funiculars still existing in the city. If you are religious you might want to take a prayer before, as for some of these funiculars the last maintenance seems to have been done before electricity was invented, but I might be exaggerating a bit 🙂 A one day visit is clearly not enough to grasp the full intensity of Valparaiso. Every house, every corner, every street appears to hide new and exciting promises. It has however allowed us to get a glimpse of what Neruda meant with his ‘Oda a Valparaiso‘: “qué disparate eres, qué loco, puerto loco, qué cabeza con cerros, desgreñada, no acabas de peinarte, nunca tuviste tiempo de vestirte, siempre te sorprendió la vida, te despertó la muerte (…)” It is definitely a place to visit and will be saved in our best memories of this trip. Taking off to Peru now, to one of my most anticipated visits: the Machu Picchu. Talk to you soon! Jules *

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