on a summer day, mid-December.
Pictures: Atacama Desert | Santiago
| Torres del Paine | Easter
main port Valparaiso is a very colourful contrast to Santiago, particularly
the World Heritage Site hills of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion,
where brightly painted corrugated iron house walls compete with clever,
That's not to say the whole city is a treat for the
eyes, quite the reverse, there're plenty of hideous newer structures
spoiling what should be grand vistas from the 42 hills that comprise
the city and the port area just below the the best hills is especially
crammed with rusting metal and dull concrete.
is unique, and makes Buenos Aires' Caminito look tiny and
pathetically touristy - this is the real thing.
corrugated iron wall festooned with wiring in Cerro Alegre.
what's the story behind the technicolor iron or zinc walls?
No one seems to know for sure but the corrugated iron certainly protects
and beautifies the irregular adobe brick walls. The BugTheory is that
an entrepreneur sent a shipload of iron sheet out after an earthquake
for the usual roofing but locals found the iron also well suited for
for the colours, the pressed iron of the early years would certainly
have required paint and being a port, visiting ships would have had
leftovers after painting the insides and outsides of the vessels.
Naturally ship paint would be extremely weatherproof and often brightly
coloured - deck metal needs to be clearly visible in poor weather
conditions. Crewmen sell off a few litres of bright, weatherproof
paint here and there, and so begins Valparaiso's technicolor future...
murals in Cerro Alegre looking down towards the port.
the murals? Maybe being raised in a multicolored neighbourhood does
things to one's head that demands anarchic, external artistic expression?
Alternative theories on the Bug's desk by Monday morning please.
in action in Valparaiso.
curiosity of Valparaiso is the large number of ascensores (funicular
lifts) to help you up the city's 42 hills, but otherwise the city
is about strolling the hills rather than visiting specific sights,
though there are some grand structures around too.
Wow, Valparaiso residents certainly have an eye for colour!
Chile Naval Headquarters in Valparaiso.
most interesting structure, downtown near the port.
beaches travellers just need to hop onto the new metro and head for
the large and calm though unexciting resort of Viña del Mar,
15 minutes down the line, though the beaches are hardly useable outside
January and February.
of Viña de Mar's beaches.
one of the world's best beaches by a long shot, but the beaches are
big enough, the sand soft enough and the sun hot enough for desperate
beachgoers, even if the sea is a bit chilly. Just 9kms (5mls) from
Valparaiso and easily accessible by metro, Viña's casinos will
also empty your wallet if you choose or questionably entertain you
with their February 'International' Music Festival.
north are other less developed seaside resorts such as Reñaca,
Maitencillo and Zapallar, as well as central Chile's best seafood
restaurants in the fishing town of Concon.
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Pictures: Atacama Desert | Santiago | Torres del Paine | Easter