The grim, grey winter days in London often leave me lank and uninspired. A look back at some my Chile photos, taken during an afternoon spent in the vibrant Valparaiso, make me want to jump on a plane and retreat to South American summer.
Chile didn’t cease to amaze me with its diversity and beauty, despite the fact that I only saw a miniscule amount of the country. The beautiful colonial architecture and urban sprawl in its capital, Santiago, had me spellbound.
My seventh day in the country, I hopped on a bus from Santiago and headed northwest to Valparaiso, one of the country’s most important seaports. Descending from the bus one and a half hours later, Valpo, as the city is known by locals, greeted me with bursts of colour and a flurry of activity.
The classic colonial architecture of Santiago’s centre and barren desert landscape of the Atacama made way in Valpo for what I can only describe as Caribbean-feeling hues: lollipop oranges juxtaposed by flamingo pinks, primary color blues popping against fierce lemon yellows. The houses looked good enough to eat, and jumbled haphazardly upon each other carelessly stacked dominoes. Comely and interesting. Me gusta.
People, shops, and cars were everywhere. There was graffiti and palm trees, and bright Chilean flags proudly displayed seemingly at every turn.
The city is known for its 26 funicular railways that navigate the cerros (hills) surrounding the city, so I rode a few cable cars up, up, and up to get startlingly clear views of the city and the port.
I spent time getting lost in the snaky streets in the hills, admired the literal and figurative vibrancy of the neighbourhoods, and made a brief stop in front of the house of the late, Noble Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, probably the one of the most famous Chileans in the world.
The people, too, were lively. This Chilean gentleman beckoned to me as I walked past, beseeching me to take his photo. People usually ask to take my photo, so although surprised by this strange occurrence, I was duly charmed and fulfilled his request.
Near the end of my afternoon in Valpo, I sauntered through the market, the greens, oranges, and yellows of the fruits tempting me to buy.
It was then time for me to jump on the bus and head back to Santiago. I let out a sigh of regret because the afternoon was over- way too short. The weather, colours, and overall vibe of the city was just right and I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I enjoyed myself immensely in Valparaiso though I had done little more than walk through the city. But sometimes that’s all you need to do to have a good time. Isn’t Valpo just lovely?
Have you ever been anywhere that you just enjoyed the look, feel, or smell of? Where? Why exactly?
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