Valparaiso, Chile Apr 11, 2010 7:38:02 GMT
Post by ilbonito on Apr 11, 2010 7:38:02 GMT
The recent earthquakes in Chile got me to thinking about my trip there two years ago, to a wonderful town called Valparaiso. I hope it wasn't hurt in the quake. This is what it looked like then, anyway:
Valparaiso is like a weird little fairytale town. It is a fishing port built of brightly painted corrugated iron houses, on steep hills around a glistening Pacific bay. Each building is different: different colors, different shapes, mansions, shacks and church steeples, connected by winding flights of stairs and cobblestoned streets. Alleys lead to unexpected little terraces and breathtaking views. It has evolved without planning, organically, and invented its own cityscape as it went.
The houses, many of them built of (cheap) corrugated iron, were brightly painted by their owners and now the city continues this tradition of self expression with wonderful, surreal streetart and grafitti, plastered everywhere, over everything. The combination of this organic art, the history and unique architecture, and the beautiful setting around the bay won Valparaiso a (much-earned) place on the UNESCO World heritage List in 1992.
These strange devices, a cross between public elevators and trams, are known as “ascendores”. The old wooden machines creak up and down the hills that rise from the city´s port, each one covered in a labyrinthine patchwork of colored houses, red clay cliffs and bushy patches of blazing yellow wildflowers.