Valparaiso, Chile, was one of our favorite cities. Once again, we lucked out with an outstanding taxi driver, Pablo, who is training to be a tour guide.
It’s a colorful city, slightly reminiscent of San Francisco, with its hilly, narrow, cobbled streets and artistic vibe.
In Valparaiso, graffiti is a venerated art form. I hope the Pow Wow folks from Honolulu are able to visit Valparaiso sometime for inspiration.
It was Valentine’s Day when we arrived in Valparaiso and Pablo took us to the flower market, where Jerry bought me beautiful roses from Jardin Eliana. In broken Spanish, Jerry learned that the Eliana family has been running the flower farm for three generations.
When Jerry handed me the flowers and gave me a kiss, there was applause all around the square. Such nice people!
My first priority was to see the late poet Pablo Neruda‘s home. He has been one of my favorite poets for years.
His home is five stories high, an architectural confection filled with passion and style. His office is on the top floor with views of the entire city. Everything has been left in place, including his typewriter and books. (Sorry, no photos were allowed inside.) It was easy to see where he got his inspiration. His foundation runs the home and gift shop seamlessly.
We visited a few colorful cemeteries, including an Anglican one filled with Scots, German and English names. Valparaiso has been heavily influenced by Europe.
And old fashioned funicular, run by a single guy, takes you up and down the hill. It’s so fun – and we shared it with a Chilean family whose toddlers were having a ball.
– Paula Rath