Wandering around Valparaiso

On December 30, 2013 by Peter

There are few things I enjoy more than wandering around interesting places, camera in hand, and Valparaiso is one of the most visually interesting places I’ve visited — paradise for curious photographers. Also, Clark and I both love trains, so we were very excited to find and ride as many funiculars as possible¬† during our brief time in Valparaiso. We set off mid-morning on December 30 with Osvaldo as driver and the excellent Walter as guide, both from A&K Chile. It didn’t take long in Valparaiso to find a funicular squeezed between some buildings and nestled into a hillside. The conductor operates the cars from the station at the top.

Funicular driver

We rode it down to the main commercial area of town.

Valparaiso funicular Something nearly as cool greeted us at the bottom. Valparaiso has a small fleet of very old trackless trolleys running around town. Walter told us that every time a public official tries to get ride of them, there is a huge public outcry and the trolleys survive. The contrast with the newer buses dashing about is cool.

Old bus, new busI prefer the old shade of green. After a quick side trip to Vina del Mar for lunch, we returned to Valparaiso and found another funicular. The old turnstiles were neat.

Old turnstile

They each had a counter (probably long since broken, unless it is reset regularly).

Funicular turnstile detail

After riding this funicular back up into one of the hillside, we had a field day wandering around the streets of Valparaiso taking pictures of the colorful houses and street scenes.

Valparaiso newspaperman

There is lots of graffiti in Valparaiso, but it is more artful than what you find in a lot of cities.

Valparaiso graffiti

The hillsides make everything look dramatic.

Hillside houses of Valparaiso

Osvaldo drove us along a ridge through some of the more interesting neighborhoods.

The hills of Valparaiso

And then we headed back through Chilean wine country to Santiago.

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