Friday, July 22, 2016

Cerro Concepcion - Valparaiso Chile

For about $8 round trip per person we took a very nice bus from Santiago to the Pacific coastal town of Valparaiso which is about a 1.5 hour trip.  The scenery was wonderful the entire trip!

Mountains Between Santiago and Valparaiso Chile

Those mountains outside of Santiago reminded us so much of the ones in far west Texas (Alpine, Marfa, Ft. Davis area).  The photo below was taken in Alpine.  The only difference is that Santiago is much much greener!

Twin Buttes

Back to Chile.  We passed fields and fields of grapes. 

Wait...aren't they called vineyards??

Oh well. This is just one small example.  I now have seen where my grapes come from in the winter! (Because my food should travel thousands of miles to get to me just so I can have what I want year round....)

Grape Vineyard Between Santiago and Valparaiso Chile

Valparaiso is an UNESCO World Heritage City and is where the government of Chile meets. It is one of the most important seaport city in all of South America.  It is a very interesting city to say the least.  There are two parts; the flat part closest to the ocean and then hilly part that is full of art, colorful stairs, and small winding roads (some so small that they are pedestrian only).

Valparaiso has the oldest trolleybuses in the world still in operation today.  This one is from the 1950's and was one of the first things we saw as the bus rolled into town. They do have more modern ones that look similar to the one below but most of the ones around are the older ones.

Trolley Car Valparaiso Chile

Let me explained what happened after we got off the bus.  The bus took us to the main bus station and I really hadn't planned much beyond that point.  I just figured it would all be simple and just work out.

How many times have we traveled?

How many times has it been simple and just worked out??

I should have KNOWN better than to not have some sort of plan!

I didn't even know there was public transportation in Valparaiso...that's how well I planned! 

Location services (read that GPS) does work when the phone is in airplane mode and no charges are occurred.  That has really saved us a few times from being completely lost.  We can look at Google Maps but not get directions from it. Even so, we can at least figure out where we are at.

Before this trip to Chile I found another map app called Here Maps and it works the same except you download the country you are going to before you leave and then it works just like Google Maps.  You can get walking directions, car directions, and even public transportation directions all on airplane mode.  It is great!

So here we were at the bus station with no real idea of where to go to see what we wanted to see, which was the street art.  I used my map app and discovered that it would be over a mile and a half walk to get to Plaza Sotomayor where I knew we could start our journey into the hills. I saw on some brochure that a paid tour group met there, so I knew we could start there too. But, that was a little bit further than we were prepared to walk on this day. Plus, Frankie swore we had stepped off the bus into a third world country. In other words, the bus station is not in the nicest part of town.  Valparaiso is grimy compared to Santiago, so be prepared for that if you ever go.

So we decided to get a taxi and blindly asked him to take us to the plaza.  He was so nice and was trying to tell us about things we were passing but guess what, we still don't speak Spanish!

At least we think that is what was happening...

We made it and found a place with wifi so we could do some quick research.  We got our act together and headed for the hills!

Since Valparaiso is directly on the Pacific ocean they do have to think about things like tsunamis. Also, since the city is filled with hills we saw this sign which pointed to those hills!

Tsunami Evactuation Route Sign Valparaiso Chile

We have seen hurricane evacuation signs because hurricanes do come to Texas, but a tsunami evacuation sign, now that was a first!

The hills in Valparaiso are plentiful and steep.  There are stairs all over the place to get up them, but Frankie and I are not in that kind of we were going to take the ascensor (elevator) up Cerro (hill) Concepcion.

Ascensor Cerro Concepcion Sign Valparaiso Chile

There use to be 26 of these elevators sprinkled around Valparaiso, but now there are only 8.  They were all constructed in the late 1800's and early 1900's and I am not sure but I swear they have not been upgraded since!

I never got a picture of one of the actual elevators but it was a wooden death trap box that held maybe six people at a time.  In the picture below you can see the track in the background...almost straight up!!  But hey, at least it was cheap!  45 cents up, 45 cents down.

Price to Ride Ascensor Valparaiso Chile

Getting up the hill was worth the 45 cents several times over!  Just look at the view of the Pacific ocean from the top!

View of Pacific Ocean from Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

And look at the houses in the foreground and background!

City View from Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

Close up of all the houses on a hill.

House Filled Hill Valparaiso Chile

Even closer look, just look at all the colors!

Valparaiso Chile

There is more visual feasting happening in this photo.  I wouldn't want to climb the hills but I sure love their affects!

Multi-Colored Houses Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

Here is some of the colorful steps.  These are actually some of the plainer ones, although the stray dog does add something to it!

Stray Dog on Colorful Steps Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

I am not sure how legit some of those wires are...

Electric Wires Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

As we made our way down the hill, here is just a small sampling of some of the street art we saw.  I cannot wrap my mind around how this can be accomplished it is just so fabulous!

This is someone's house!  I would LOVE that on my house!

Birds Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

This fish was seen on some random wall.

Fish Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

Ok, this one was not street art, but that is one of the cutest stray dogs!!  If I could have taken him home...

Stray Dog Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

Near the cutest stray dog ever on a hostel, was this artist's vision of the city of Valparaiso.

City Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

As we rounded a corner, this guy was just by himself strumming his guitar and singing.  He asked if we wanted any certain song, but when asked that all I can think of are songs like "Mary Had A Little Lamb" or church songs so he sang something of his picking and it was beautiful!

Really though, I just wanted a picture of the red flower doorway behind him, but oh well.

Continuing down the hill with more street art.  I am not sure what is happening here though.

Jester Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

Street art of a person reading? 


Reading Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

The detail!

Lizard Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

And even more detail!!

Spewing Art Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

These last two I saw on Pintrest before our trip and I was really hoping I would see them, but with no directions of where they were I wasn't holding my breath.  So imagine my excitement when we stumbled on this van Gogh mashup!!

Van Gogh Sunflowers Street Art Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

And even more excitement at finding the piano stairs!!

Piano Stairs Cerro Concepcion Valparaiso Chile

Frankie took that photo and he did such a good job with the sun flare and all!

This was only ONE hill of Valparaiso.  This was only ONE section of the street art on that hill!  We could probably go back for a year and never see it all!

I have another post planned on the city of Valparaiso before we head back to Santiago.  I hope you come back to read all about it!

Until then!