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Valparaiso is a port town, about 1 & 1/2 hours from Santiago. The name used to trip me up in Spanish class, that combined “ai” sound, so I had to come and visit it 😉

It’s a beautiful place just by location, however the town is really amazing for other reasons! (See pretty bay/ocean pictures in separate post.)

Sorry this city I took thousands of pictures, so I have to share them!!

Ok, let’s be honest, Valparaiso, you are f’n amazing (edited there as some are reading this blog to their kiddies) In the words of Pablo Neruda, Chile’s Nobel laureate, “Valparaíso, how absurd you are… you haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you”

Valparaiso is a vibrant, ramshackle, breathtaking (literally and figuratively), artist driven city, it’s as if the artists designed and built the city around whatever form the hills took, ignoring any sort of engineering or civic planning advice. It hugs the hills around the bay, climbing, climbing, surrounding those hills at angles that don’t seem possible, teetering ever briefly but never quite falling. Oh and those artists also had an aversion to any type of right angle or grid type block. Or straight lines or level ground.

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I mentioned colorful right?

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Closest thing to a straight line

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Though not really straight…

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Hidden courtyards

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Art is everywhere, on stairs leading to those hidden courtyards

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Residents are able get from street level to next level via a series of funiculars or “ascensors” that were built in the 1800’s and still function today. Alternatively, there are free stairs galore to get to all levels as well, leading me to believe you have to be in amazing shape to live at the top…that’s where the literally breathtaking part came in because those suckers are steep!

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Ascensors coming down

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Ascensor going up, looking out the back window

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Some are almost vertical climbs… And they make some rickety random noises

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These were relatively mild stairs in terms of steepness, and just because it’s something functional doesn’t mean it should be beautiful. On Beethoven street the stairs were painted like a piano keyboard, but those pictures are on my Sony Camera- anyone know how to get that wifi setting to acknowledge my iPhone so I can transfer pics?

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And in terms of beautiful, the graffiti murals are amazing in this city, I could have taken hundreds of pictures of the murals (I will have a separate post just for the murals because they are that amazing)

This was another breathtaking view, I took the shot tighter to focus on the mural, but the ocean is in the background, just gorgeous.

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I just wandered around and stumbled into this cafe. You can’t get the scale of this door by this picture, but I had to duck down to enter and we all know how tall I am.

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Cafe con Gràcias en Cerro Concepción was the cutest cafe/bar/artist hub that you can find. I chatted with the owner/artist (in Spanish!) while he was making bracelets and was able to understand about 90% of what he was saying (he was quite kind and spoke slowed down Chilean Spanish) and more importantly, he understood what I was saying 🙂

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His bracelets were pretty cool, so I have a new souvenir

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