Street Art, Sea Lions and Socio-Politco Q&A

Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 12, 2013

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Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, November 24, 2012

After some good times unwinding in Santiago we headed off to Valparaiso only a couple of hours west on the coast. It's a quirky kinda town that is a major freight port, major navy port but also with a town of two halves - the Cerros (hills) and the downtown. The Cerros are amazing with a maze of narrow, super steep cobblestone streets, the brightest colored houses you can imagine mixed with rickety, rusting corrugated iron 4 storey shacks that look like something from Dr Zeus. The hills are that steep that they are serviced by 100 year old ascensors (elevators) that run at about 45 degrees up the individual hills. Dotted in amongst all this colour and character is the most impressive mix of street art we have seen - this and all kinds of art are everywhere!  Kind of randomly came across a restaurante that was playing Chris Cornellīs acoustic version of Billie Jean - that is obscure at home let alone in the middle Chile.

We've spent most of our time just wandering the streets and exploring all the little nooks and alleys of this maze of a place and taking in the crazy views. That said, we have visited the cultural centre (the buildings which have been retrofitted from the city prison that was operational until the late 90s) and one of the art museums in an old German style mansion.

On our second day we were walking the street when we were stopped by two girls in their early 20's saying in broken English but with over the top passion that they want to interview us. We entertained the idea but were having second thoughts when they were saying "Not here, in one of the quieter streets..." what happened next was somewhat unexpected as we walked to one of the picturesque walkways, sat down on a step and for the next 10 minutes Jade was quizzed on her thoughts on the gap between the richest and poorest people in Australia, the comparison to Chile and what should be done about it! Somehow Jade went a little off topic and onto a monologue in womens rights....(!!!!) Paul had the job of camera man. We then had to translate what was said into writing - I think we actually did their uni assignment for them... nothing like a couple of gringos to save the day with uni deadlines looming.

We also celebrated Paul's birthday in Valpo. We started out with a trip around the harbour where we saw sea lions up close and personal - they are huge and have five females to a male (playas). Our boat also went past the navy ships, provided great views of Valparaiso as well as the huge port.  We spent most of the afternoon wandering around town and actually stumbled across a fantastic restaurant in one of the backstreets that had some of the best views of Valparaiso.  We decided to have dinner and a couple of drinks there to celebrate Paulīs birthday.  Jade managed to follow this up with surprise cup cakes back at the hostel complete with a candle to make the birthday celebration - good times!
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Marius on

This place looks awesome!

pcandjd on

It's cool for sure - the photos don't do it justice. We spent half the time re-walking around the same streets but seeing something different each time!

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