Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ascensor envy

So this morning I took the bus to Valparaiso. Catching the crowded metro was fun with all my luggage... but given it cost only 460 pesos (a bit over a dollar Australian) in peak hour, I´m not one to complain. I love metro systems! I love riding them in every city I go to. It reminds me of what we don´t have in Sydney. So anyhow, once I got to Pajaritos I pretty much got straight onto a bus for Valparaiso. The trip goes right through the Casablanca wine region, and takes about an hour to get there.

The minute I got to Valpo I knew I was going to love it. Everything is so brightly coloured, and all day long catching the ricketty ascensors has been like dicing with death. They don´t feel safe. But I am assured they are!

I´m staying on Cerro Bellavista, which is just down the hill from Pablo Neruda´s house, La Sebastiana. Neruda is a bit of a wacky poet who wrote odes to ordinary things like the chair, the table and ´things´ in general. The house was uniquely decorated (including an awesome bar) along with fabulous views over Valparaiso. I also visited Ceero Alegre, Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Atilleria (to add to the dicing with death). The ascensors are also pretty cheap, the equivalent of about 60-70 cents to go either up or down, though the value is certainly in the up leg.

The thing you do notice about Valparaiso is the dogs. They are everywhere you look. Mostly strays I think but they certainly give the city a bit of character. Plus the people are friendly and helpful - and willing to put up with my dodgy español, without automatically lapsing into english.

All in all a great spot!

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