The second stop in our Chilean journey was the city of Valparaiso. Valparaíso is located on the Pacific coast of Central Chile. Frequently referred to as simply Valpo, it is located approximately 75 miles west of Santiago. The city is widely known for its bohemian culture, brightly colored houses, street art, and beautiful seaside views; visiting Valparaíso has less to do with touring specific sites than it is about roaming the chaotic, hilly streets, and taking in the views.
The weather was perfect for exploring the hills and neighborhoods.
Valparaíso played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan.
Valparaíso experienced rapid growth during its golden age, as a magnet for European immigrants, when the city was known by international sailors as "Little San Francisco"
The city reached more than 160,000 inhabitants in the late 19th century making it necessary to use the steep hills for more houses, mansions and even cemeteries.
A Pisco Sour was called for after a full day of walking the hills and neighborhoods
Street Art and Graffiti
Valparaiso is an art lover’s paradise. Known as one of the best street art cities in the world, its 42 hills and maze of streets are graced with works of art that seem to cover every open space imaginable. Honestly, it’s everywhere in the city. It’s on every single wall, doodled on every single door, even scrawled on every single bus. There are few surfaces left without color. It was difficult selecting the pictures for this blog there were so many we could have posted. Here are a few of our favorites.
The local government supports and promotes the street art culture, and many cafes, restaurants, and bars are happy to have artists turn their plain walls into works of art. As a result, the city is covered in world-class street art, and is a feast for the eyes. But there is no doubt, street art is a form of political and social expression.
Under the oppressive regime of Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s, all forms of political art were banned. Street art became a silent form of protest. An underground network of artists formed in the city, painting powerful messages on the walls and back streets. When doing so, they risked torture and death.
In the picture below (top left) the graffiti was either a Banksy or a copy but our guide through the neighborhood believed it was a Banksy based on the honor code of the street artists.
Cooking Class with Ines of 'Chilean Cuisine'
For a totally different experience we decide to take a Chilean cooking class. Fortunately for us the other participants did not arrive so it was a private cooking class with just Dave and I. We started off shopping for fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood at the local street markets. What an assortment of fresh foods - farm and boat to table!
Now to try our hand at cooking all this great food with the chef of Chilean Cuisine . The menu we selected was:
Time to play chef.
Click the hyperlink to schedule a class with Ines at Chilean Cuisine.