Chile Valparaiso is a Magical Experience

 

Valparaiso-Chile-6Chile, Valparaiso If you have never been here you are missing a lot!

This South American city located about 70 miles northwest of Santiago and just a few minutes of Viña del Mar has been declared Patrimonio de la Humanidad (World Heritage Site) by UNESCO in 2003.

Valparaiso is one of the most important seaports of Chile and played a very important role at the second half of the 19th century when the ships traveling across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans thru the Straits of Magellan had to stop here. Sailors used to call it “The Little San Francisco” and “The Jewel of the Pacific” attracting a lot of European immigrants.

The city also has the oldest spanish language newspaper in continuous publication in the world “El Mercurio de Valparaiso” that started its printing in September 12th of 1827.

When you walk the streets of one of its many hills, you feel the magic, the heritage, the warm of the people, the struggle of their artists through hundreds of expressions of  graffiti, the passion of life. The trolley buses are still in daily service and the funiculars are going through some improvements.

The improvised urban design and unique architecture, the funiculares (cable cars), the trolleys, the labyrinth of streets, the alleys, the cultural heritage and the people make Valparaiso one of the places on earth that you must visit and is considered one of the 100th most endangered historical treasures by UNESCO.

It has a mild mediterranean climate resembling that of San Francisco or Santa Barbara and has the third largest population after Santiago and Concepcion. There is a large variety of restaurants, easy accommodations, a lot of tourist attractions including beautiful beaches and snow peaked mountains nearby, where you can practice all kinds of sports. The booming of the Chilean economy has inspired authorities to make a goal in the period 2013-2020 to promote more tourism in the area.

In Valparaiso, Chile, the people of the Port is call porteños, they are warm and you will feel welcome here, happy I must say, enjoying the little things in life like a walk by the artesanos (artisans shops), a good caldillo de mariscos (seafood soup) con pebre, a bottle of wine Casillero del Diablo, a trolley ride, going uphill in one of the elevadores (funiculars), sitting by the park or just talking with one of the porteños or porteñas (women of the port).

Ode to Valparaíso, by Pablo Neruda

Valparaiso,
how absurd
you are,
what a lunatic,
crazy port,
what a head –
rolling hills,
disheveled,
you never
finished combing your hair,
you’ve never
had time
to get dressed,
life has
always
surprised you,
death has awoken you,
in your nightshirt,
in your long johns,
flecked with color,
naked,
with a name
tattooed on your stomach,
wearing a hat,
the earthquake seized you,
running
crazed,
you tore apart your fingernails,
your water and stones
moved of their own accord,
the streets,
the sea,
the night,
you have been sleeping
in the earth,
tired
of your voyages,
and the land,
furious,
threw up its waves
more tempestuous
than a storm at sea,
the dust
covered your eyes,
the flames
burnt your shoes,
the firm
bankers’ houses
quaked
like wounded whales,
while above
the houses of the poor
fell
into the void
like imprisoned
birds
who, testing their wings,
fall to the earth.

Soon,
Valparaiso,
sailor,
you’ll forget
your tears,
you’ll return
to building up your houses,
painting your doors
green,
your windows
yellow,
you will transform
all of it
into a vessel,
you are
the patched prow
of a small,
brave,
ship.
The tempest is crowned
with sea foam
your ropes that sing
and the light of the ocean
makes shirts
and flags quake
in your endless swaying.

You are
a dark
star
from afar,
in the heights of the coastline
shining
and soon
you will surrender
your hidden fire,
the winding
of your mute alleys,
the confidence
of your movement,
the clarity
of your sailing.
Here is where I end it, this
ode,
Valparaiso,
small
as a discarded
undershirt,
draped
in your ragged windows
cradled in the ocean
wind,
drenched
in all
the sorrows
of your land,
receiving
the dew
of the seas, the kiss
of the broad, furious ocean.
that, with all the force it has,
striking your stones,
could not
topple you,
because on your southern chest
is tattooed
the fight,
the hope,
the solidarity
and the happiness
like anchors
that resist
the waves of the earth.

Translation by Sarah Watwood

Traveling toValparaiso like any other destination in Chile, is easy. Once you arrive to the airport, you can rent a vehicle or just come by bus, prices are dirt cheap.

So, what are you waiting for? Throw that remote control away, put your camera on the bag and head for the airport.

Chile, Valparaiso: Fun and adventure is waiting for you!   See you soon. You will find it a magical experience

Written by Edgar Soto

One Response to "Chile Valparaiso is a Magical Experience"

  1. valparaisocl   June 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

    http://www.twitter.com/Valparaiso @valparaiso

    Reply

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