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Chambers at Large in Valparaiso, Chile

Updated: Mar 21

The city of Valparaiso in Chile is a UNESCO heritage site, but is also a very busy industrial port.  Situated on the Pacific coast it is famous for its brightly coloured houses, funiculars and street art.  It  was neatly summed up in one word by a fellow traveller as ‘bohemian’, reinforced by a local café with the name Bohemio.

The front man of The Police, Sting, (aka Gordon Sumner) lived in the city for a while and I wondered if some of his songs were inspired by the paintings which adorn the walls of many buildings.

This collection of art detracts from the plethora of wires that hang in reels from poles and transverse the streets, many of which are cobbled.  The subject matter varies from portraits of the city’s famous poet laureate, Pablo Neruda, to animals and landscapes.

There is a fine line between street art and graffiti (which can also be seen), but the latter is surpassed by the talent of the artists, some of whom sell their work at stalls on the streets.  I bought a lovely photograph of the unusual cityscape from a young woman whose work was displayed on a corner with a view over the port.

The houses, whether one or two storeys, are multicoloured creating a fabulous vista of the hilly city and I had to pay attention when walking through the streets, reminding myself to stop to admire the scenery rather than trip over a step or twist my ankle on a cobblestone.

It was only when I arrived in Valparaiso was I told of the possibility of earthquakes and saw signs indicating which way to run should there be a tsunami.

However, I didn’t relish running up the steep hills and was delighted when a coach took me to the top of the town, and a short walk and a quick ride on the oldest funicular took me back down to the shore.

A trip to the local fish market, a bustling but rather pungent place, was not only frequented by tourists but by sea gulls, pelicans and sea wolves, large seals which were far more graceful in the water than on land.  I’d have spent longer watching their antics, but took a short walk along the beach to paddle in the Pacific Ocean.

The few sunny hours I spent in Valparaiso were a joy and a reminder of how a bit of paint and some innovation can brighten up the most industrious of cities.


 A town that is also a UNESCO heritage site is Sighisoara in Romania. Please click on the link to discover more.

Another town that has been transformed by good planning, brightly painted buildings and innovation is Carrick-on-Shannon, the county town of Leitrim, in Ireland.  Discover more by clicking on the link to this blog:


My trip to South America was AMAZING. Please discover more by clicking on the links:

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Wow, Julie!! What a did you decide on Chile rather than other South American countries? It looks as if you enjoyed yourself.....were you alone or with others as part of of tour? Hmmm I just noticed that you have posted some other South American blogs that I somehow missed. I'll read them after I send this out-of-date comment.


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I went with a tour. It was fantastic. There were eleven of us and we had an AMAZING time. It was cheaper going to four countries than it was to go to one from Europe! So I did a "Grand Tour" including Peru, Chile, Argentina and Braszil. Look out for future blogs, but thanks for posting and more thanks for reading.

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