The streets of Valparaiso absolutely burst with color. This hilly Chilean harbor city along the Pacific coast sizzles with brilliant street art. Ride a hundred year old funicular up to the top of the hill and wander around. We took the Ascensor Cerro Concepcion (built in 1883), one of 14 that are still in operation today. The funicular's base is near the city's clock tower, a few blocks from the train station depot in the harbor. For less than $1 US, you can spare yourself a tough walk by trundling up the hill in a creaky wooden car, powered by sturdy metal cogs that have withstood the test of time. The building walls that line the city’s streets, garage doors, steps….just about any surface are fair game for clever murals. Turn a corner and encounter a giant face of a woman with indigo lips. Or, climb a set of stairs painted like the piano keys in the Tom Hanks movie “Big”. The mural in this picture was on a random house, punctuated by little window vents. I edited the parked cars and dangling electric wires out of my photo, so this pic leaves the rest of the mural to your imagination. (Hint: there are 5 birds, a patchwork chicken plus two more real windows). Valparaiso is about a 90 minute drive from Santiago’s airport.
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Valparaiso - Street art wanderings.
Walking through the crumbling streets of Valparaiso is like walking through an ever-changing museum of street art, with impressive mosaics, murals and politically charged graffiti. Artists and university students breath fresh air into the old port city, which in its heyday was known as the Jewell of the Pacific, before the opening of the Panama Canal reduced its importance on shipping and trade routes.
Its easy to spend hours wandering through the narrow and colorful streets, alleys and stairways to admire the art and and different perspectives of the cityscape- a series of rickety funiculars carry passengers up the steep hills that dot the city. After exploring there is no better place for a refreshment than Bar Restaurant Cinzano, where you can step back into time to enjoy a cold beer and fresh seafood, in a classic Valparaiso ambiance that probably hasn't changed much in the last 100 years.