Ascencors, murals and poets!
Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
20Trip End Ongoing
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Nicknamed “The Jewel of the Pacific”, Valparaíso was declared a world heritage site based upon its improvised urban design and unique architecture. (Wiki)
Most of the city hangs down from cliffs which you can reach with "ascencors"- tiny cable-car-like lifts which are quite fun though too short journeys!
In 1996, the World Monuments Fund declared Valparaíso’s unusual system of funicular elevators (highly-inclined cable cars) one of the world’s 100 most endangered historical treasures. (Wiki)
The rest of the way you have to climb the colourful stairs, surrounded by urban art covered walls
At night-time, when we´re up on the roof of our b&b, seemingly up on the roof of the whole town, we slip under the cover of the stars and enjoy the view of a city of lights. It does get a bit cool in Chile (chilly in Chile! :) ) as soon as the burning hot sun sets but it´s a beautiful city!
The people are also extremely friendly again! :)
We took one day-trip to Isla Negra, a little village by the ocean where the Chilean Nobel prized poet Pablo Neruda had his favourite house. Neruda was not only a true romantic, carving the initials of his third wife, his true love and muse- Matilda- everywhere around the house, with her huge portrait always close by when he wrote, but he was on the whole an extremely interesting character and his house is a full testament to that.
"A lover of things" he called himself, his house, which is built to the likeness of half-boat, half-train, is filled with all sorts of curiosities under the sky. Neruda collected ship figure-heads, masks from all over the world, sea-equipment, sculptures, art, shells, insects, curiosities like leg-warmers, sculpted bottles etc etc. We were simply amazed.
There´s a boat on the yard where he went to sit and drink in. A bar with all his friends names engraved to the ceiling, like Federico Garcia Lorca. There´s a stable built for a carved wooden horse, in which honour he held a costume party with presents for the horse (the lucky thing still has 3 tails)
All of the rooms face the ocean which was Neruda´s great love, and have huge windows filled with the fantastic vista of the Pacific Ocean beating on the cliffs. His bedroom is even arranged so that the sun rises behind his head, and sets at his feet, all in full view. What a curious, eccentric, romantic, child-like soul of a true poet!
Walking through his house, unlike any other, and taking a glimpse at his heart, left me personally both laughing with wonder and almost moved to tears often as well, from the beauty and poetry of his soul to which the house was an extension. Intensely inspiring..
We ended the tour by having an absolutely delicious meal in the cafe at his house, his own recipes. Thank you Neruda for your continued love for this world!
We took another day-trip to the little fishing village of Horcon. A hippie village (and we seem to be drawn to those like moths to a flame), the beach is a wee stretch between cliffs, covered almost entirely with sea-shells. It was lovely to dip our feet into the cool and very clear Pacific, very pretty after the murky waters of Argentina.
All in all and despite the hassles that surround it- a really lovely few places in those few days
Sonnet IX: There where the waves shatter
There where the waves shatter on the restless rocks
the clear light bursts and enacts its rose,
and the sea-circle shrinks to a cluster of buds,
to one drop of blue salt, falling
O bright magnolia bursting in the foam,
magnetic transient whose death blooms
and vanishes--being, nothingness--forever:
broken salt, dazzling lurch of the sea.
You & I, Love, together we ratify the silence,
while the sea destroys its perpetual statues,
collapses its towers of wild speed and whiteness:
because in the weavings of those invisible fabrics,
galloping water, incessant sand,
we make the only permanent tenderness.