The Colourful Streets of Valparaíso

February 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Colourful Street Art Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Navigating the streets on our way to Pablo Neruda’s house was a great introduction to the brilliant street art in Valparaíso. Another taste of Chilean culture at its best… we asked a guy stopped next to us at some lights which way to go. After telling us directions, he proceeded to usher us all the way to Neruda’s house (some 5-10mins drive away).

Tantalising the senses, numerous cafes have opened in the past couple of years as popular spots in Valparaíso have cleaned up with more tourists around.

The steep streets and cobblestones proved to be a work-out with the pram. However, with help from the assistants to lift the pram over classic old wrought iron turnstiles, we managed to ride a couple of the ascensors (old wooden cable cars). The rapid approach as the ascensor descends to the entry-point at the bottom of the hill left us wondering whether we would stop in time! Very impressive feat of engineering.

We had a couple of gringo moments too. The first when we decided to turn and walk quickly back the way we’d come when the streets started to look a little less friendly. Only to see later from a view above, six armed carabineros with bullet proof vests walking into the area.

The second was up a fairly main street, although still not that wide. I’d just seen a taxi driver tentatively navigate his way between an oncoming car that was not quite far enough over his side and a parked truck that was unloading on the other side of the narrow street. Then another delivery truck, bright orange and burly looking, roars up the road behind the taxi. Tooting his horn at the oncoming car, the truck driver jams on his brakes momentarily as he surveys the gap (beyond a point where I thought it was too late), then charges through! I remember thinking, close your mouth Kylah and stop gawking! But I had lost control of my face… until the guy in the passenger seat (who had been watching my reaction the whole time) cracked up laughing. Sheepishly I beamed a big smile back.

Running out of time, after unsuccessfully visiting a local cafe (Café Caruso) recommended by a friendly woman I met that morning, we finished our day with a bite to eat at a cafe on the gringo trail in Cerro Concepción. The food was fairly western, but tasty all the same.  The highlight was the intricately detailed murals covering the cafe walls that had apparently taken eight months to paint.

Colourful Street Art Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Colourful Street Art Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Colourful Street Art Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Colourful Street Art Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Valparaíso Asenso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Valparaíso Asenso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Colourful Streets of Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Streets of Valparaiso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Amazing mural paintings in a cafe in Cerro Concepciòn, Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com

Amazing mural in a cafe in Cerro Concepciòn, Valparaíso // www.intrepidmonkeys.com