Valparaiso was a definite highlight of our time in Chile. It was only a 2 hour additional bus ride from Santiago. It offered the perfect mix of old and new. On the one hand you had the crumbling old buildings that were then covered in vibrant new street art. The city is broken up into a number of neighbourhoods most of which are high up in the hill tops surrounding the port. These are connected by a series of 'ascensors' or 'funicular railways' some of which are closed and beyond repair, while others are used regularly by the locals on their way to and from work.
The city hosts the world graffiti contest every September and the streets are covered in the most amazing street art. Tim's camera had never seen so much action and it was hard to tear him away from his new found love for photography. The city was soaked in an artistic and bohemian layer that we hadn't seen before in South America. A morning walking tour of the city with our 'where's wally' guide was the perfect way to see the surroundings.
Lunch took place at the local market and featured the freshest seafood caught by the boats in the harbour just metres away. Bee chose Paila Marina a steaming seafood soup with giant mussels, clams, prawns and other unidentifiable sea objects . Tim went for the slightly less adventurous Chupa de Camarones a creamy prawn based soup that melted in the mouth. Both dishes left us stuffed to the gills, a walk to the local sea lion colony perched on the shoreline was the perfect cure.
The charms of Valparaiso had certainly rubbed off on us, it was hard not to relax into the laid back pace of life here. We both knew things would be a lot busier though in Santiago the capital of Chile.