On April 10, 2019, I had a day off from a sailing competition near Algarrobo. My dad and I went for a day trip to Valparaíso, a coastal port city around an hour-and-a-half’s drive north-west of Chile’s capital, Santiago.
To reach Valparaíso, you drive through miles of vineyards and arrive at the city very suddenly. On the outskirts, most of the houses are red and look pretty shabby. Around the ports in the city centre, there are lots of markets selling old items. Free funiculars — elevators that run on rail tracks — take you to beautiful old parts of the city where there are no cars.
From afar, the city is vibrant with colour. Street art is painted all over every house. It looks artistic, not at all like graffiti. There are hundreds of rooftop bars everywhere with spectacular views down to the sea.
It’s hard work walking around Valparaíso because the whole city is built on steep hillsides. But it’s fun because sometimes you turn a corner and there is a slide which takes you to a lower level.
There are hundreds of stray dogs everywhere. They use the zebra crossings and somehow know when to stop at red lights. They even have their own kennels by the side of the road. It seemed to me that they are equal to the people who live in the city.
In Valparaíso, there is something new at every turn. You want to keep walking for weeks and get lost. It’s a city of colour, fun and life.