The poet Pablo Neruda redefined the city with his Ode to Valparaíso, calling it “the patched bow of a small courageous ship.” Today, visitors can tour his home, known as La Sebastiana. The building is now a museum with one of the city’s finest gift shops. —Steven Bodzin
Ferrari 692, 56/(0) 32-225-6606. This appeared in the November/December 2011 issue.
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Funicular Fun in Valparaiso
We can all remember how much fun it was to ride escalators as a kid. We'd try to go up the 'down' one and down the 'up' one, until our parents told us to stop (and then we'd do it all over again when they weren't looking, but I digress.) In the coastal city of Valparaiso, it is a grown up kids' delight, as it is chuck full of very appropriately named FUNiculars. Funiculars, or ascensores as they are referred to by locals, are like mini ski lifts that provide a vital public transport link between the central city and the neighborhoods in the surrounding hills. These contraptions, while incredibly cool, are also incredibly old, with most of them coming into existence at the latter end of the 1800's. That being said, I never hesitated to hop on one and let it take me to yet another historical stop, such as La Sebastiana, the former home of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. As I rode this funicular up to La Sebastiana, I thought of Neruda's comment about his former home: [a place] 'which seems to float in the air, but that was well established in the earth.' I thought that idea captured perfectly the fun I was having on this particular ascensore on my way to Pablo's house.