I did an organized trip from Santiago, which was probably a mistake. The tour advertised walks around the most famous parts of town, plus driving to around the upper parts and visiting several viewpoints. But, since we had to wait around for a few people to show up then search for a toilet and have lunch, in the end there wasn’t much time left for Valparaiso.

The little of Valparaiso that I did see, made me want to explore more in depth.. Maybe another time. Valparaiso is famous for its street art and for its steep roads. The former made me regret taking a driven tour, the latter certainly made me appreciate the car. If one wants to walk around the city, but avoid the steep roads there are plenty of cable cars to use. Ironically those cars were built to be plane, so they look quite experimental, with one end being on high stilts while the other end sits on the ground. For just a few pesos they’ll take you up or down.

Valparaiso has a long german tradition which shows itself in the German churches, German construction styles and the “Bomba Germania”, which isn’t a German bomb, but rather the German firefighters who were founded back in the 19th century here. Their fire trucks also still say Feuerwehr and have the little German eagle on the side. But Valparaiso clearly has other influences as well. There are anglican churches built by the English. There’s an Italian square with four statues representing the different seasons, which were donated by the Italian state.

There’s Spanish, Dutch, and so on and so on. Everyone seems to lay claim to some part of Valparaiso. And finally there’s something that reminded me a lot of home:

But since the city is so separated into the different hill sides, it’s not like there’s a lot of dispute. Everyone seems to have their own little mountain top and is satisfied with that. The thing that unifies the city then are the graffiti which are present everywhere.. The story goes that the artist will ring your door bell and explain to you the idea he has for your boring white wall and if you like it, he’ll paint it.. If you don’t, he moves on and another day another person may come with a new proposal. Quite different from graffiti on his side of the pond.


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