Valparaiso is a colorful city laying on 43 hills. As one can imagine, the walking tours require quite a stamina.
We hired a car for a day in Santiago in order to visit Valparaiso and neighboring Viña del Mar and also to stop by at the Casablanca wineries.
After entering Valparaiso I felt as if the time had stopped. And old, green trolleybus was standing on the main street between the stalls in the local market on a Saturday morning. We were welcomed by chaos. There were a lot of colorful houses on all the hills.
The GPS in our car was not able to recognize the addresses I was introducing. I’m not a good co-pilot and if I only have a tourist map in my hand it is better not to count on me. We got lost somewhere behind the main part of Valparaíso. However thanks to that we saw a places that not every tourist sees. Where the back side of a house was fixed to the hill and the rest of the house was standing on stilts. As there are many earthquakes in Chile, how do these buildings stay still in case of an earthquake? Maybe this is the key to success?
Once we realized that the places might not be very safe, we returned to the main street and then to the city center. As it turned out in order to visit the first tourist attraction we had to climb one of the 43 hills. We were two, and one of us (and it wasn’t me) said that he will not be climbing hills in this heat. So what we did was going up there in the car with the tires squealing and the engine making strange noises. At times I thought that the car would not make it. I thought it would refuse going further up but the car did a great job and took us atop of the hill. Few times I stopped breathing and I had to close my eyes as the way up was very steep. And going down was even worst. It was one of the hardest places to go by car. To the other places we got without any problems. There are Free Walking Tours organized in Valparaiso but having seen the distances between the main tourist attraction I do admire those who did them all especially in one day. The good thing about the walking tours on the hills of Valparaiso before going to the National Park of Torres del Paine is that it is a great exercise before the hikes in the Mountains.
Valparaiso is a port city and the second largest city in Chile with 300.000 inhabitants. There are a lot of artists painting their painting on the streets.
Some love Valparaiso and others, like us, want to leave straight away after seeing the main attractions (the heat was not bearable).
If I had to describe Valparaiso in one word it would be ‘’interesting’’. In two words ‘’interesting and chaotic’’. In three words: interesting, chaotic and colorful.