Valparaiso

I woke up late that morning and eventually dragged myself out of the hostel. Even though I was exhausted, I was really thrilled about the day ahead, I was heading to Valparaiso! I had been wanting to visit the city for such a long time, that I couldn’t believe this was finally happening.

I heard so much about the city and its history, that there was no way I would miss it during my trip in Chile. Apparently, it used to be an underground artists’ playground during the Pinochet era. The graffiti was the way to express artists’ beliefs and give people hope during those repressing times. The artists risked their lives while creating the murals, as the dictatorship banned all forms of political art and the sentence, if caught, was often death. Now, the street art there is legal, since the government decided to celebrate the freedom of expression and loads of famous artists leave their mark in this stunning city.

When I got out of the bus in Valpo, I was excited – everything from colours, smells, buildings to people were much more like what I imagined South America to be. It was hot, everyone seemed to be out and about, buying things from a variety of vendors on the streets and of course, walking around eating ice cream.

I wasn’t entirely sure where I was heading, but soon I started noticing more and more colours around me. I heard so much about Valpo’s amazing graffiti and atmosphere that I was thrilled to finally be there.

Not going to lie, going up a few of the city’s hills on a hot day sapped my energy pretty quickly. I also realised it was way past the lunchtime, so I decided to get some fuel in me first and continue my explorations afterwards.

I stopped at one of the first places I found, La Columbina, which was a great choice, since the tuna steak and risotto I had were so good I would go back to Chile just for that….

With my belly full of tasty food and one cheeky pisco sour, I continued my wander round the city. It was amazing, there was art everywhere! I nearly stepped on one of many dogs that were lying around, just because I could not get my eye off the buildings. I will share a bunch of photos with you so you can try to feel the atmosphere of this stunning place.

I was meant to meet my friend Julio in the afternoon, who was somewhere nearby on the beach, but I couldn’t get the wifi to work anywhere… It was extremely hot (at least in my memory), so after loads of wandering around the town I decided to head back to Santiago.

I headed to the bus station at around 6 and it turned out that I couldn’t get the bus back till 10pm (I had an open return). It was a mistake not to book a return bus on a Saturday – everyone was travelling. I asked around at other bus company kiosks and found a bus an hour or so later. Success!

I had no energy to continue wandering around in the heat, so I sat down on the floor in the station (like loads of other folk) and started reading a book. As I mentioned earlier, there were loads of stray dogs running around. One of them came close and sat next to me. I don’t usually pet any random dogs (I was bitten by one in the past), but this one started getting closer and closer and ended up sleeping with its head on my leg. What a cute dog!

We were the best pals for the entire time I was waiting for my bus and I was really sad to leave this cool dog in Valpo when my bus arrived. I really can’t wait for a day when I’ll be mature enough to commit to having a dog…. In the meantime, I’ll continue petting any dog that comes to me looking for love 🙂