Having just polished off a bottle of Chilean white wine with Tom I may be a touch over enthusiastic but Valparaiso is unbelievable. Of course, theives roam the streets but what streets! A series of magical hills rise steeply from the sea, the houses are painted ladies of the night, tattered, glowing with far too much make up, wall art abounds. Small B&Bs like the one where we are staying have tiny signs, restaurants less, so that passers-by have to search carefully for an entrance. But fresh fish, hot bread, salads, artisan ice creams, a soft bed and a great bottle of wine all hide here, for a price. This lady gives nothing away but her looks.
The poet Pablo Neruda has written about this city, “Valparaiso,/how absurd/you are…you haven’t / combed your hair,/ you never/ had / time to get dressed,/ life/ has always/ surprised you.”
Tomorrow we walk through the city, Tom with his stick ( my camera monopod) and me with my camera. Tonight we used his iphone for night shots. The B&B where we are staying is run by a super Chilean whose wife is five months pregnant with twin girls? Sound familiar, Alice and Mary? Our rental car is parked on the street in front of the house, hope it makes it through the two nights.
Our last day in Santa Cruz was bitter sweet, we found an incredible museum devoted to the collections of the arms dealer. He really has an eye for art and obviously the money to buy it. The drive through wine and arid mountains was interesting. Did you know that premier wines come from vineyards on hillsides where the grapes are stressed into producing the most flavorful fruit. Maybe Valparaiso being on steep hills produces a more exciting and flavorful city.