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Valparaiso's Canvas

sunny 23 °C

As a youngster, James romanticized about life aboard the merchant sailing ships in the 1800s - before the age of steam and the Panama canal. It was a time when ports such as Valparaiso, Iquique and Guayquil were thronged by hundreds of four-masters plying between South America and the colonial powerhouses of Europe. The docks of Valparaiso are virtually abandoned today, but the city is as vibrant and fascinating as it has been since its re-birth following total destruction by the Spanish in 1866. The Spanish destroyed Valparaiso in revenge for the Chileans supporting the Peruvians in their fight for independence - but enough of the history; here's a snapshot of Valparaiso today...
Valparaiso is one of the most colourful cities in the world, (for our friends at home – imagine Chemanius on LSD)...
Almost every building in the upper part of the city has some form of adornment...
The artwork makes great scenery for the many musicians and entertainers who work the streets..
And everyone loves becoming a piece of the art...
Art is everywhere in Valparaiso; on houses and buildings, on doorways and steps and, of course, for sale in almost every shop. Meet artist Alberto Lagos in his studio in Valparaiso...
Alberto doesn't paint. He produces ancient-looking photographic prints by using a technique known as Gum Bichromate that was developed in the 1840s.
Valparaiso is a vertical city where hundreds of flights of steps and antique funicular railways crawl up and down the mountainsides. The buildings cling perilously to the steep slopes and sprawl into the many deep gorges that emanate from the harbour...
Until last year Valparaiso was a major stopping-off place for cruise ships, but a strike by dockworkers backfired when half the cruise lines moved their operations to the port of San Antonio a hundred kilometres south. Valparaiso is still busy at present because it is the mid-summer holiday season in South America and it is the end of Carnaval.

We are staying in the old city of Valparaiso, but just around the bay is the modern resort of Vina del Mar. There are no colourful murals here: just a solid wall of concrete highrises and a seafront promenade jammed with touts toting touristy knick-knacks and knock-offs – not our scene...
Now for last week's question. The cost of a 3 course lunch with salad bar and coffee in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was exactly $4.52 Cdn each. Tom was almost correct and wins a $4.52 lunch in Canada, (a coffee and a biscuit if he's lucky). However, we are now in Chile and today's lunch of just a mixed salad and a drink cost $21.00 Cdn. each.
Our South Pacific days are coming to an end so here's one last look at the colourful scenes in Valparaiso before we head inland to Santiago and then south to Tierra del Fuego and the Great Southern Ocean...

Posted by Hawkson 13:03 Archived in Chile

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Looks Amazing!!!!

by Ian Hawkins

What a creative place. Did you buy any of the prints by Alberto Lagos. It must have been tempting.

by Sue Fitzwison

Just got power after 15 hours and these colourful pictures lift the spirit.

by Janet

Ditto to Janet's comments. Lovely to see the colourful art but the snow and blue sky was pretty beautiful as well. Good to have the power back, as usual. After the heat and mugginess of Mexico, I am okay with the weather at home.

by Joyce

Glad you are having fun. Did you get to the Easter Island exhibit in the museum in Vina del Mar, or did you just see seaside stroll...I got the most fabulous earrings in the local market there too, for all of $2 - I see the prices have sure changed since we were there!

by Keith and Heeln

Wow. I won. That’s great. Last thing I won was a 50/50 draw at a Chamber Music concert. You can imagine how much that was! Love the murals. Only Melbourne’s allies come close. Looks like a fabulous destination. I’ll make a note.

by Tom

Fantastic pictures. It reminds us of the great times we had there.

by keithandhelen

Amazing pictures on the salt flats. Following you closely. Love Amanda x

by Amanda

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