South America > Valparaiso

The first major disappointment of the trip (although mostly affecting the female part of the two man crew) happened while embarking the bus to Valparaiso. I had looked very much forward to this trip due to the impressive scenery, and had booked tickets well in advance, to be certain to get the second floor front seats with the panoramic view. I was expecting to sit glued to the window for 8 hours straight.
Imagine my face when the bus arrived with a huge commercial sticker covering the top window! I was as disappointed as a 5 year old who just dropped its ice cream in the sand.
It’s a mesh, but it is not even close to being the same as without and makes it impossible to take photos.

At least they haven’t covered up the side windows (yet), so we were still able to be amazed by the towering mountains and the landscape changes from lush green land to gold and barren hills. It was cool.

The bus was delayed 2 hours because of road works, which meant we were late for the check-in time for our hostal. We were already making plans on where to look for another hostal and stressing about it, but, as we were about to find out, the people of Hostal Destino Bellavista are simply amazing, and thus one of the daughters of the owner was waiting for us at the hostal when we arrived.  Such a relief!
The hostal is a house with only a handful of rooms. It has great facilities and is very clean and comfortable to be in. But what makes it special is the owner Patricia who always radiates happiness. She takes a genuine interest in the guests which is the primary reason, that the hostal feels more like a home than any other hostel we have ever stayed at.
She ended up feeling like a second mother checking in on us every day to hear about our experiences and making sure that everything was ok –even telling me that I should wear socks when walking around the house so as to not get cold.

So we were off to a pretty good start and walking around the city of Valparaiso lifted the mood even more. The city spreads from the harbor area up on and over the surrounding hills. The land in the hills is free to claim, you don’t have to buy it of the government. Poor people thus take a small lot of the hill for themselves and build a house of whatever they can get their hands off, mostly tin plates and old pieces of wood. The houses are close, small and almost stumbling over each other. This way the city slowly spreads randomly almost like a plant. The houses are then slowly improved and years down the line the government moves in and facilitates water and electricity.
The randomness of the city is a major part in the special atmosphere there. With all the different colors and architectural styles or non-styles. The old tram busses and the ascensores (special elevators that take you up the hill and saves people the walk up the enormous amount of stairs in the city) adds a retro touch to it.
The industrial harbor is the most important one in Chile with a constant swarm of huge freight ships anchored around the harbor. But there are also small fishing boats and there are even sea lions living in the middle of the harbor on the remnants of an old tugboat!
It really is difficult not to fall for the charm of it all.

A strange juxtaposistion of architure. It looks like the new glass part was juist slapped on top of an old building.

This tree house is not much different from the houses bulit in the top parts of the hills. 

One of the ascensores  that are still in function.

Typical eletrician work in  Valparaiso.

Club Social - museum, bar and restaurant. A place where even the chilien guest take touristy photos.

Chorillanos a classic meal which is served everywhere in Valpo.

If you ever go to Valpo do pay a visit to the churros lady in Pz. Victoria! Because you're worth it!

Cumbia is everywhere in Valpo! You hear it from taxis, from shops and peoples homes. Even the military performs it - here in honor of the international womans day?!? 

But yet again the main attraction for us was the walls! I don’t think we have ever been to a place more covered with paint. Most are done legally and many are not related to graffiti but to more established artforms. But there are lots of graffiti as well from both local and international artists. The amount of artworks in the streets has become a sort of trademark for the city - you can even take guided tours.



L' Outsider


Saile & Seth


CharquiPunk, LaRovocDeMadera, Inti



With all the stories we have heard about the positive attitude of the people of Valparaiso towards graffiti.
We went out to paint with great anticipation. With a google translated text explaining why and a sketchbook to show what we wanted to paint. Never once in all of our time there did we get a no! We even got sort of paid a few times! The first day we painted close to the hostel, and the guy inside the house came by with beer. Patricia came by and asked us to paint something inside the hostel as well. We did so, and as a thank you we had a nice dinner with her and her family in a bar/restaurant typical of Valparaiso.

At our Hostel. A BIG thank you for everything Patricia and your family! See you next time in Valporaiso.

Another day we painted a side of a shop selling stuff for cars. People were very interested and stopped to talk to the owner whenever he was outside, inspecting the progress. At the end, he gave us a bottle of champagne!

 It took two local Valpo citicens and approximately 10 min to confirm the order of the colors of the chilean flag! 

Shop owner with his dog and friends on the right.

Thank you so much Manuel Vargaz!

The mechanics on the next street had seen our work and wanted us to paint a house next to where they worked. We came back the following day and started working. Suddenly a guy came out of the house and obviously did not want us to paint there. We were pretty confused as we had just gotten permission of the mechanics, but decided to stop. One of the mechanics then started an argument with the guy who didn’t want us to paint with us in the middle of it all and both pulled out what seemed to be leasing contracts. It was off course flattering that someone would put so much energy into having us paint the wall, but it was a little distressing as he would not stop talking, even when explained that we had no idea what he was saying.
This “tug-of-war” could go on all day so we asked to paint the opposite wall instead and they gave us the go, which settled the argument.

Big up to Marc-Anthony and Luis 
It is like nobody ever told the citizens of Valparaiso that graffiti is a bad thing, so they just all think is great. Reasons for appreciating big paintings could also be to cover up the amount of tags and to get a free layer of paint, but it actually feels like these are minor reasons. They seem to be almost proud to have it on their building.
It is quite amazing to see and experience this place, and we would both like to come back as soon as possible

Painting with End - thank you for a good day!


Last minuttes in Valpo...

A final thing to mention about Valpo is the dogs. If you love them you will enjoy this city, if you don’t like them or are afraid of them stay far far away!  There is roughly 1 dog per 10 citizens of Valparaiso which totals to about 25.000 dogs!  And yes you have to look quite closely to avopid steppig in the dog piles, but we don’t care! It is worth it! The citizens feed them, resulting in quite happy and extremely calm dogs. And they are clever too! They know that green light = go and not just from watching the movements of the people around! They are cool and cute and most of them not too dirty to pet.
Show them the faintest sign of attention and they will come to you, show them the slightest affection and they will love you. Continue to show them both and you have yourself a loyal travel companion who will follow you everywhere.

Just chillin...

Our best friend for a day - we call him Ernst. We had to give up on shopping groceries as he persistently followed us inside the supermarket inspite of being kicked uot several times by a guard. But it was well worth it.  It broke our hearts a little bit to have to ignore him until he found some new friends as we couldn't bring him with us inside the hostel.