Wednesday 15 August 2012

Books and Hillsides in Valparaiso Chile

Valparaiso Chile is a UNESCO
World Heritage Area
This morning (14 August) we got up and headed for the underground Metro. It is our 41st wedding anniversary and we thought visiting a place with world heritage listing by UNESCO would be worthy of that.
Valparaiso was also the home of Pablo Neruda, an iconic Chilean poet who was highly lauded by the people of Chile.
We found the bus station after 8 or 9 stops on the underground. Walked up the stairs and looked across a busy highway and there it was.
The drive to Valparaiso was close to 2 hours.

Dog food sold large bulk containers. The dry dog food tossed onto the ground and gobbled up. Our dogs would
love to eat like this.

As we always do in a new location we started walking to get a feel for the city we were in. Valparaiso has enormous hillsides on the Pacific coast, with hundreds of homes scattered amongst the hills like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I have no idea how they do land allotments there.

Also all of the homes vary from excellent beautiful structures to complete dilapidation. We marvelled how we found a place that has the best views in the world on steep hillsides and they are not reserved only for the rich.

After walking through the markets of the neighbourhoods which were very busy and nosing around the shops a bit we headed back to the bus station to find a way to get to Pablo Neruda's house.

On the way we found a little book shop. It was very interesting and although I knew all the books would be in Spanish I thought I'd do a bit of Penguin hunting (just in case).  I may yet find El Penguino.
The shop owner was lovely and told me to go ahead and take photos as I liked.  He asked us if we liked books and I began taking a few photos while Tom was telling him about my 3000 books he has to live with.

 We asked if he had any books in English and he pointed to one very small shelf, not much more than half a metre long and I dutifully thumbed through it. There weren't any Penguins but I did find a very old copy of Tales of Uncle Remus (will post more on that later) by Joel Chandler Harris.  As I love those tales as much as any folklore I have ever come across I could not leave this old, cracked hardcover published in London on that unappreciated shelf in Chile. The price was exceptionally low, about $4.00 Australian so into the bag it went. Poor Tom, he carries the backpack and each time I purchase something it goes onto his back.

We found an information area near the bus station and received directions for catching the bus up the steep hillsides to Pablo Nerudo's house.  As Valparaiso is such an incredibly interesting place I will do a separate post about our visit to his house as Part II.

For today I have simply included some interesting street scenes from our walk.

At the end of the day we found our bus back to Santiago (about 90 minutes in a comfy seat) where we stopped at the shops, picked up some pasta, antipasto and a lovely large bottle of wine to take back to our apartment to toast yet another wedding anniversary.  Each year we tend to do something different but it will be hard to beat this year's celebrations.

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