Valparaiso – it gets knocked down, it gets up again!

Walking through the main streets of the port area of #Valparaiso #Chile early one morning, it was eerily quiet and deserted, with very little traffic. This though was not the 11 September 1973, the day the military coup against the Allende government started, although perhaps it was a little like that then. This was in fact 20 April 2017, census day, when everyone was required to remain home and be counted. In 1973 they’d been required to remain home or be shot by the military & police in their streets, or bombed by the Chilean navy situated in the port & bay, with their naval guns facing the city. To this day the Chilean navy remains based in Valparaiso, with ships in the port harbour, just a warning perhaps?

The 1973 military coup was one of many knocks taken by Valparaiso over the years – another was the fact that General Augusto Pinochet, the coup leader & soon-to-be dictator, was a son of Valparaiso, born there in 1915. But as ever Valparaiso bounces back, and today is home to the Chilean Congress (since 1990 when Pinochet stepped down), a greatly recovering local economy, and maintains a strong alternative/bohemian culture alongside it’s working class & international roots. Continue reading


#potd – Seals ahoy in the port of #Valparaiso

A major surprise to be found whilst checking out the entire port/seafront area of #Valparaiso in Chile, is a colony of seals that hang around near to and on an old concrete structure near the port’s passenger terminal (map). This is close to the metro station Baron, at the bottom of Cerro Baron (Baron hill). You can while away a good few hours hanging out on the harbour wall watching the seals jumping out of the sea onto the structure with varying degrees of success, and their cranky grumpy behaviour when a new arrival makes it up onto the platform and waddles his/her way through looking for a spot to lie down. Those seals can be very grumpy & loud, no doubt they have their own ranking system or hierarchy!. Continue reading

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

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


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

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


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

The Sunday Service – an Evening of Extreme Noise 60-second Songs in Valparaiso, Chile

[Update 18 April – well that gig was a wee bit different to anything else we’ve been to these last 5 months! Gotta say though that main band Borracara where blindingly fast, loud and very tight with it, 16 songs in under 30 minutes. Go see them if you can! The event took place in what was essentially an ‘apartment’ in an old run-down colonial building in the port area – the band played in 1 room whilst the small audience watched through the doorways of 2 adjoining rooms…there was also a small bar selling cans of lager, or lager, and a loo! Great fun and herbal cake available too. We’ve even got our hearing back now].

In a potentially futile attempt to ‘resurrect’ our long gone youth, we’re nipping out to our version of ‘church’ for an evening of extreme noise and 60second songs. The venue, we believe, is somewhere in the dodgier part of the port area in #Valparaiso, #Chile, where the lights are dim and the streets reek of piss & dogshit…so just like the days of our youth! But will they let a couple of old gringos in we wonder? And is there a bar!?

The event (on FB of course) features: Borracara from Argentina (bandcamp and Utube); Manual de Combate from Santiago (see Utube), and 2 local Valpo bands – Epifania & Nosotros La Miseria (aka We the Misery). Sounds like a fun Sunday nighter eh!!!