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Valparaiso & its wonderful graffiti, Chile

Valparaiso - You love it or hate it!
Valparaiso is Chile’s old port town, just an hour’s drive west of the capital Santiago. Having explored the wide-open spaces of Patagonia and the Atacama, we were looking forward to wandering the narrow streets of the country’s second largest city. Apparently, it is not to everyone’s taste, with its quirky atmosphere, architecture and street art, but we absolutely loved it! The city is built on forty-two hills and the walking was a little steep at times, but the unexpected stairways and ancient funicular railways help a lot and added to the fun and charm of the place.
It’s the graffiti capital of the world
The city is famous for its graffiti, which began when Chileans exiled by the right-wing Pinochet military dictatorship returned after 1990, when democracy again prevailed. The returning citizens celebrated their new freedom by literally decorating the city - with murals! From small beginnings this fascinating custom has become a serious tradition and much of the art is beautiful, high quality story telling. Many of the artists have achieved fame and fortune and you can take guided tours of the best-known works. But it is everywhere, so just take a walk, your camera and enjoy!
The trolley buses & funiculars are great too
The buses and trolley buses are everywhere too, and they seem to operate without bus stops as we know them. The trick is to pick the right bus and stand on the right corner…If you like exploring new cities, with a little adventure thrown in, then this is the place for you. Having said that, on our first day we hired a friendly, helpful guide, a native of this slightly chaotic city, who was happy to help with whatever we wanted to do. A very worthwhile investment. Our walk took us into the evening darkness and we ended up in a small market overlooking the bay and the port, brilliantly lit and bustling with the activity of centuries.
The best pizza in Chile!
We stayed in vibrant Cerro Alegro and multiple restaurants and bars were never far away. It is a long way to go for a pizza but the allegedly second-best pizza house in the world was just down the street, so we sampled that along with our fellow Chilean inhabitants and families. A lovely experience with some lovely people. And the pizza wasn’t bad either.
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