We bailed on Santiago as soon as morning came and caught a bus to Valparaiso. My Spanish is improving, I can now ask for bus times, tickets and cost and actually understand the responses being relayed back at 20x speed. The 1.5 hour drive drops us off here, a graffiti town.
Every building, ever corner and every street is marked – but not in a way that stereotypically makes an area seem shady or dodgy. We hit up the Valpo Street Art Walking Tour the next day and learn about the various forms of graffiti and the meanings of some of the many murals around town. Manuel, our guide, tells us that Graffiti is illegal in Valparaiso and the government isn’t happy about the ‘vandalism’ so government buildings are repainted frequently. Not surprisingly the buildings are usually tagged once the paint is dry. Manuel also tells us that many artists are often paid or given approval by owners to paint their buildings to improve their facade. He shows us a house with his mural painted out front and tells us that he asked the owner to paint it since ‘her doors were dusty’.
By the end of the tour, Daniel and I agree that this is a place we need to come back to visit, it’s just a place that draws you in and leaves you wanting more. 2 days is not enough. Lugging the camera gear has now worn Daniel out as Valparaiso is also a town of steep hills – lots of them. So much so that it is said that the women in Valparaiso have the best legs in Chile. I’m just grateful for some exercise.