Sunday 27 April 2014

Days 15-16: Valparaiso, hell hole or bohemian paradise?

Valparaiso bus station, 1.30pm. A taxi tout grabs us with his English and ushers us to a waiting minivan. Ten minutes later we are standing with our bags, alone and shivering in the fog on the street outside a locked up hostel.

The hostel turns out dingy and scruffy. Hmm, no matter, we've paid already and it's only two nights... we'll be fine. Well no point hanging around here, let's go see the city! We saunter down the road until it peters out into a piss-stained staircase peppered with mangy dogs. The city that presents itself to us as the foot of the stairs is no better. Tatty and scruffy we start to wonder what makes people visit this UNESCO world heritage site.

"Hey you want eat?", we avoid the restaurant touts and dive into a veggie cafe offering empenadas vegetarianas. Finally a place of tranquility we tiptoe around an argument with one another wondering why we've found ourselves here and end up burying our heads in books.

By evening, heads spinning with facts maritime garnered from the museum we ride the funicular and discover Cerro Conception. Ok, I'm beginning to get it.

A morning visit to Neruda's house at Ferrari 692, empanadas famosas and now holed up in a cafe, a glass of red, pianist playing and sorting pictures and thoughts. I'll come back to Valparaiso.

Valparaiso Panorama

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