I have heard for years how cool Valparaiso, Chile is… I just had to see it for myself, and it did no disappoint!  The city is known for its street art and graffiti everywhere (I don’t think there is a building in the city that isn’t painted up in some way) and colorful buildings, it’s definitely something to see!  Unfortunately, the attention of international tourists has also attracted the attention of thieves who look to prey on those tourists, and Valparaiso is now a city you have to be extremely careful in.  When I checked in to my hotel, I made sure to ask the caretaker where the safe parts of the city were, and where I should stay away from.  She drew circles on the map of the safe places – luckily where the hotel was was a safe place – so I set out to explore the surrounding neighborhoods.  The city is just incredible.  It’s extremely hilly, kind of like San Francisco, and all these hills eventually lead down to the bay, which is teaming with boats of all sizes.  Many of the streets are cobblestone, and barely wide enough to fit a single car through, even though the streets are two way!  As I was exploring, I actually saw a car backing all the way down a hill because there was a car coming the other direction, and there was no where to pass.  I’m not sure how that person drew the unlucky straw of having to back all the way down the hill, but it seemed to have been negotiated one way or another (luckily I didn’t have to do this while I was driving around the town!).  While I was exploring around I stumbled upon this cross street, and the building in the middle reminded me of the Flat Iron building in New York City, in that it was wedged in this corner of two roads.  I actually started referring to it as the Flat Iron of Valparaiso!  

Well, after I spotted it I decided I wanted to see what it looked like in the early evening.  As I had hoped, the street lights with all the colors of the painted buildings and deep shadows made the scene extremely moody.  Exactly what I was looking for!  Well, as I was photographing, a cop drove by.  I got out of the way and waved.  A few minutes later he returned and motioned for me to come over.  The two police officers in the car couldn’t speak English, and I can’t speak Spanish, but I was able to discern from his hand motions that he felt I was in danger of some one beating me up and taking my stuff.  Understood!  I thanked them and immediately began packing up my bag as I walked hurriedly in the direction of my hotel.  Nothing like a little adventure to go along with the photos!  🙂

More from Valparaiso next week!

–Dan Thompson

Title Address Description
Cades Cove
Atahualpa 420, Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso, Chile

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