Valparaiso is for Artists - Adventures on the Chilean coast

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Over Christmas we went to Valparaiso where we met up with our good friends Sara and Dustin. This video shows us riding the Ascensor Concepcion down into the main financial district of historic downtown.

We had a great time in this town, but I think that to really appreciate it you have to have a bit of an "artist's eye." The town is a bit of a "Monet". The town can mostly be split into three sections: the historic downtown, the hills, and the rest of town.

Historic downtown is still mostly beautiful old buildings but they clearly have 100 years of exhaust and wear on them. The city also got electricity in a pretty haphazard way which means that ever view is criss-crossed with power lines.

The hills are covered in buildings with great colors and the warbling geography means that construction and integration of buildings must be done in a creative and adaptive manner. Knowing that the city is in earthquake territory made me nervous for what will happen when the next quake comes, but that is part of life, I guess.

On the flat part of the city and outside of the historic area you'll still see some historic buildings, but many have been torn down and replaced by more modern facilities. None of the new buildings are really amazing in any way.

There's enormous variety; one structure to the next may be gorgeous and well kept or it may be an empty building filled with stray dogs (and dog shit) or it may be anywhere on the continuum in between.

Pablo Neruda's House

Pablo's house was a big attraction for us - to some extent it "made" the trip.

We walked there from our hotel (hour long walk) which tested everyone's faith in my map-finding ways but we found it. When we were 3 blocks away we saw all these tourist buses and people selling trinkets. Obvious sign we were on the right track.

Pablo is pretty special to Nikki and therefor to me. We used some of his poetry at our wedding and Nikki sneaks it into her paintings all the time. You can see a little excitement in her face here I think - was it for me or for Pablo's house?

But how could I blame her? In addition to being a great poet Pablo knew how to build houses (and womanize). This great "sailboat on a hillside" was amazing, starting with the flowers outside

Unfortunately we couldn't take photos inside so you'll have to settle for this shot of Greg pretending to be sitting for a Glamour Shot. That one's going to be real special.

In the garden below Pablo's house is this funny bench. Poor Dustin had to sit on the reject side while Nikki and Sara enjoyed the conversation side. It was really cool and reminded us that we want to build some gaudi-esque tile covered stuff whenever we get our "permanent" house.

Valparaiso and Vina del Mar

One thing we didn't really know before getting there is that Valparaiso (gritty port city) and Vina Del Mar (posh beach-side resort town) are basically the same town. I'm sure if you told them that they'd kill you, but it's a 10 minute (30 cent) bus or train ride to get between them.

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