Dear Family & Friends,

Today is Sunday and our cruise has come to an end as we leave the ship and land in Valparaiso, Chile. We plan to spend a coupe of days here and then off to Santiago. We spent the first day walking around the downtown district. We were told in advance that the town did not have much to offer since it was just an old sea port town. From my point of view it is the best city we have visited so far! I enjoy photography and this town has the most to offer by far. First, there seem to be more old buildings here than anywhere else we have been and since it is not a “tourist” town it has fewer tourist type attractions but looks and feels much more like a genuine South American city both visually and with a bit a grittiness too. It is that exciting. It also offers one of the world’s greatest collections of graffiti I have ever seen! Graffiti from just defacing  a building, to political statements, to true art work. Nothing here that has a plain vertical surface is not painted on. Even the local garbage truck is beautifully painted.
I also enjoyed photographing the buildings here because they seem to have more grit and texture to them than any other place we had been.
The only problem photographing this city is that there are electrical wires running everywhere in the most haphazard fashion so it is impossible to get clean shots with out some wires hanging somewhere in the photo.. It seems there simply are no building codes here so wires run every which way, some hanging down so close you can touch them, others laying right on the ground across the sidewalk. There are so many wires going to each building it is almost like every wall socket in every room has it’s own separate wire running to it from the street!
Seeing this city is a work out too. It is built into the side of a mounting along the sea side so you are always either walking up or down bumpy sidewalks, or up and down stairs. There are some quaint funiculars here and there. These are cable drawn trolleys that go almost vertically up the side of the mountains. Most were built in the early 20th century and look like they have never been painted or serviced since.. Very reassuring….
Another point of interest from a historical point of view is that if you saw the movie Motorcycle Diaries ( The story of Che Guevera) when he crossed the Andes mountain range on his trusty 1937 Norton motorcycle this is the first town he went to to recover from the cold and difficulties of crossing the mountains. Many parts of the city must look just like what he saw in 1952.
Today’s blog would be well worth visiting for my photos of graffiti. I think it has given me an idea for a travel book, “The World’s Greatest Graffitti”? Seriously – you have to see it to believe it!!
Hope you enjoy looking at it.
Our hotel, old on the outside and modern on the inside..


Bonnie enjoying a mosaic park!

Interesting combination of Spanish and Northern European architecture..

Both Steve and I are addicted to our cell phones.

How and why did he park his bicycle there??

A simple and direct political statement in graffiti

What an odd old fashion sign for Chile. First the family does not look like the locals.. Second who is the father of the red head daughter? The milkman???

Here are a couple of Funiculars running up ad down the mountain sides.

Had a great lunch here overlooking the city.

Lunch overlooking the city.

A local begging for food while we ate….

Did I mention there are a LOT of stairs here??

Colorful stairs too.

Local wisdom.

Did I mention electrical wiring here is a nightmare?!?!?!

A local funicular we rode. Looks like they don’t waste money on maintenance..

Local culture..

My brother in law, Steve tells me I don’t spend enough time “composing” my photos so he suggested this photo. Is it dramatically better than my standard photos?? 🙁

More Chilean wiring… 

As good an argument for the existence of God as I have ever heard.

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