Valparaiso, Chile

After a few weeks of work and study in the country home of our friends, we have packed a couple of bags and headed to Valparaiso. Valparaiso is one of the largest cities in Chile after Santiago. It is located 120 kilometers northwest of Santiago on the Pacific coast. Before the opening of the Panama Canal, Valparaiso was a major Pacific port for ships crossing the Straits of Magellan. There are a lot of buildings dating back to the 19th century. They make me stop and imagine what they were like in their prime. The cobblestone roads that still exist most likely once carried horses and carts.
I’d love to wax poetic and go on and on about the city that we have just started to explore. However, I know that lessens the odds of me actually getting this post completed and published!
We will be in Valparaiso for almost a week. We should have time see and do plenty.

To the end and back on the 510

Our plan was to take a bus to the trolley station then transfer to another bus to our first destination. We missed the trolley station and discussed if we should get out and walk back. Having only instant coffee that morning, a consensus was not reached before we were far enough away that the decision was made for us. It turns out the 510 bus goes pretty far before it comes back the other way. Thankfully the driver didn’t just boot us off or charge us twice when he reached the end of the route. As a result we were behind schedule, but we did see the loading docks and more of the city than we expected.

Museo La Sebastiana

On our first day we visited La Sebastiana, the Valparaiso home of Pablo Neruda. You may recall in October we visited La Chascona, his former home in Santiago (now a museum). He had a penchant for naming his homes and other things. He liked to suggest titles for the works of his author friends.
At La Sebastiana, Sydney and Lucas both recorded video for their YouTube vlogs. After they publish them on YouTube, I’ll make sure they put links to their video productions on this blog.
This home was as interesting as the other one we visited. Each room was cozy, interestingly decorated, and usually had a quirk or two. Neruda was rather particular about the kind of house we was looking for. He asked his friends to look for a house, with a few conditions.
It can’t be located too high or too low. It should be solitary but not in excess. With neighbors hopefully invisible. They shouldn’t be seen or heard. Original, but not uncomfortable. With many wings, but strong. Neither too big or too small. Far from everything, but close to public transport. Independent, but close to commerce. Besides it has to be very cheap.
Given all that, they managed to find a place he liked. It was a home that had been started for Sebastian Collado, but he passed away before it was finished. Abandoned for ten years, the price was right. When it was complete, Neruda named it La Sebastiana in honor of the original owner.

Cerro Concepción and Plaza Sotomayor

After visiting Neruda’s home we hopped back on a bus and headed over to Cerro Concepción. It is a historic district that has lots of cool-looking buildings. We found a nice coffee shop and wandered the streets a bit. I hope we can make it back and join the walking tour to learn more about the history of the neighborhood.
Down the hill from Concepción is Plaza Sotomayor. The Chilean Navy has an impressive building at the east end of the plaza. At the west end is a large monument dedicated to heroes and martyrs of (post-Colombian) Chilean history.