The Ascensores (funicular railways) of #Valparaiso sure test your vertigo!

Artilleria – view from top

The ‘ascensores’ of #Valparaiso, #Chile (funicular railways, but literally translated meaning ‘escalators’) are these days more of a tourist attraction, but when first built their function was largely to move the workers up and down from Valparaiso’s main port & business area faster. Today those that remain provide a test of one’s vertigo, and nerve, and some stunning views of the city, and they are cheap too costing 100 to 300 pesos (12p to 35p) each way.

On our ‘Tours for Tips‘ excellent walking tour, we’re sure they said the first acsensor was built in 1868, and that there were once 33 of them, however other sources give figures such as 25 or less in total and the first built was in 1883 (Ascensores Concepcion – now back in operation). What is clear is that only 8 appear to remain in operation today, and some of them are regularly closed for maintenance. This website (in spanish, and not updated since 2013) gives some info on the individual ascensors – Ascensores de Valparaiso. Continue reading

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Street Art in #Chile no.4 – #Valparaiso just art

Gallery

This gallery contains 20 photos.

Back to amazing #Valparaiso ‘la ciudad pintada’ or ‘la ciudad de murales’ (the painted city or city of murals) for some more great street art. The previous post on Valparaiso art featured some of Valpo’s agit prop and more social … Continue reading

Short but very Lively – #Mayday in #Santiago Chile

Well the MayDay march in Santiago, #Chile, turned out to be much more eventful than any we’ve seen in Bristol or London the last few years! When the friendly guy we were chatting to said to us: “that’s teargas now, you need to run, the police here are very violent”, and everyone else ran, so did we (but thankfully not too far!). Policing of the march here turned out to be somewhat different to back in the UK – less containment, more full on militarised assault, and the marchers answered in kind, or got in first. As ritualised in its way as the UK marches, but much livelier!

We opted to start with the ‘alternative’ MayDay march (see previous article), not the one organised by the disgraced main CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores), and with it we stayed. We arrived near the junction of Alameda & Brazil in the centre just before 10am for what we thought was a 10am start, but as it turned out the march didn’t move off until after 11am. This gave us plenty of time to take in the bewildering array of banners, flags, colours, drumming bands, unions, political groups, campaigns, slogans, flyers…and realise our spanish just wasn’t up to working some things out at all when it came to the acronyms. Continue reading

#MayDay2017 #Santiago El Dia Internacional de Los y Las Trabajadores

#MayDay greetings on #primerodemayo #IWD2017 to one and all from Santiago in Chile, where we’ll be out and about to join one or more of the local events commemorating the struggles of workers worldwide – both before and after the Haymarket events in Chicago back in 1886. Good to see that Anarchists in Santiago (info here) and Valparaiso, the direct descendants of the ideology that so motivated the Haymarket Martyrs, have various activities planned for the day, both on the streets and more socially later. (see history of Haymarket Martyrs and this article on Lucy Parsons).

It seems here in Santiago they take the concept of May Day as a day off work (or public holiday) a bit more seriously than back in the UK, and that most workplaces will be shut (except public transport and a number of clearly identified exceptions we think). Indeed visiting a few areas of Santiago the last couple of days, including the centre, we’ve found the majority of shops & other commercial premises already closed for a long weekender. The actual ‘law’ relating the May Day & not working is given in both some media outlets and by the main official trade union organisation the CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores – see info in spanish). Continue reading

Street Art in #Chile no.3 – #Valparaiso social murals and agitprop

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This gallery contains 18 photos.

The historic port city of #Valparaiso on Chile’s central coast is called by some the ‘la ciudad pintada’ or ‘la ciudad de murales’ (painted city or city of murals), and for good reason – never before had we seen such … Continue reading

The earth moved and the house visibly shook – Monday’s 6.9 earthquake off #Valparaiso

Was that a very strong wind blowing the house? No, definitely not. The floor, walls and ceiling are moving, and we need to move too! The port city of #Valparaiso in #Chile was hit by a 6.9 earthquake around 6.38pm on Monday 24 April, and we’d never experienced anything like it.

She was downstairs starting to cook, her earthquake training from old Vancouver days kicked in, in an instant the gas was off & she stood in a doorway. Moments later she was outside.

He was upstairs watching 2 buildings that had been on fire near to the port for the last hour, causing traffic chaos. He thought it was a strong wind, but as the ceiling light fitting bounced up and down and the walls moved, he very nervously dashed down the stairs and outside too. The 2 Chileans working at the hostal were outside too, the guy was very nonchalant and said how common such events were in Chile, but the woman was much more nervous. That was a big one. She contacted her kids. The quake had struck some 35km out to sea at a depth of around 25km. Initially it was listed as being 6.5, then 6.7, then 7.1, but 6.9 seems to be the final size. That’s big enough. (see local reports & pics from La Estrella in spanish). Continue reading

#potd – Birds on the Beach in La Serena (at the Mouth of the River Elqui)

If you walk down Avenida De Aguirre some 2km to the coast from the city of La Serena (central Chile), and head north along the beach for another 25 minutes, you’ll be in for a real bird-life surprise. At the mouth of the River Elqui and on the surrounding beach you’ll find flocks of birds of numerous different types, to the extent that it’s an almost eery place to be – alone amongst so many birds.

looking south

On the occassions we went it was just us, the odd lone fisherman a little upriver, a rather windswept lone nudist, too much polluting rubbish, and a hell of a lot of birds. Initially timid, they soon ignored us (the birds that is) and regrouped all around, waiting we presume for the sea tide to bring them some fish for lunch. It was fascinating to sit quietly and just watch their movements & behaviours (note – we know sod all about birds!). Continue reading