Very cool Valparaiso
09.03.2013 24 °C
We changed rooms this morning so now we have a balcony looking out on to the street and in the distance the port and sea.
The weather was lovely today, so we went on a free (aside from tips) walking tour of the city, with a Where's Wally guide (stripy tshirt) We met in a square near the port and had an ice cream while we waited for the others tourists to turn up. The tour guide was a Californian girl living in Valparaiso and she took us to the port, telling us the importance of it for Valparaiso, showed us the buildings and statues in the square and took us down an old 'wealthy' streets that are now almost derelict. We even had a dog follow us for this first bit.
Because the city is built on a hill, there are ascensors (wooden elevators) everywhere but only a few now work, which is a shame as I am sure some of the older people living here struggle to get around or have to pay for taxis. You can see from the picture of the steps why you need them! We took an ascensor to the top of a hill and the view out to sea and along the coast was really pretty.
The buildings on the hills are colourful, apparently painted years ago using left overs from the ships and now the city is a unesco site it has to keep this way. I love it went seaside buildings are painted this way, it gives them real character.
I tried to take a picture of all the colourful houses on the hill above, but this cute couple caught my eye <3
The guide stopped us at the door of a man who sells alfajores - a biscuit, best described by saying its a Wagon Wheel without the marshmallow but with caramel - and we all had one for free (she must pay him later on her tips) and you could buy more if you liked.
Street art is massive here in Valparaiso and you can see it almost everywhere. We were told that people were tagging houses here (that rubbish spray painting of your name), so the homeowners have been paying street artists to create something on the side of their house instead as taggers won't spray over art out of respect. The first couple of pictures here are from the 'wealthy street', a roof from the viewpoint at the top of the ascensor and from the down the alley near the man selling alfajores, but the rest are in and around the concepcion area:
The guide also told us that Red Bull do an extreme sports event here called the Valparaiso Downhill, where people bike around the city, down ramps like below. Check it out on YouTube, it looks crazy.
We finished the tour at a bar that had more street art all around it and we drank a Pisco sour - out first in Chile - while the guide gave us lots of information about places to eat and visit. It was a good tour for 'free' and definitely worth doing if you have a free afternoon in Valparaiso.