Valparaiso - A city of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Part 1: (4/7/13 - 6/7/13)
While the three days we spent in Valparaiso are too short to truly understand the city, we got a brief glimpse into how its unique history and denizens have shaped this fascinating city. Valparaiso’s once busy port was rendered unnecessary by the construction of the Panama canal. As a result, there’s an interesting juxtaposition of european aristocratic architecture and abandoned projects that lends a somewhat schizophrenic look to the city.
But perhaps the most interesting facet of Valparaiso is how it is as much a canvas as it is a city. The streets of Valparaiso are littered with art. Graffiti is the norm here, and hardly a blank wall goes unblemished. Whether it’s with random scribblings, tags, or genuinely impressive works of art, the city is a bastion of street art that pulses with energy and life.
Besides simply wandering and taking in the streets of Valparaiso, we went on a free walking tour with Toursfortips (it was just ok) and visited most of the typical tourist destinations: Paolo Neruda’s house (ok. nice view though.), the cemetary (not the most beautiful above ground cemetary we’ve been to, but still worth a visit), the open air museum (pretty boring. random street art we found wandering the streets were much more fascinating.), the former prison turned museum (meh. barely any signs of its more interesting past.), the site of the street art festival (could have been amazing but we kept getting warned by locals that it was a dangerous area so we didn’t spend much time there), and took the ascensors (funiculars which are an important form of public transport since the city is built on a hill).
(to be continued)