I had always imagined that during my travels through South America I would find so many places that I’d be desperate to live in, so much so that it would make it hard to leave. However, all through Argentina and what I’d seen of Chile, nothing had really drawn me in – until I got to Valparaiso.
As I took a taxi from the bus station, the lower part of town looked like an absolute dump, and I was wondering what exactly it was that everyone was raving on about. But as I got closer to my hostel, and the driver took me up the hill, the walls became more decorative, and quirky, independant shops and cafes started cropping up in increasing numbers. By the time we reached the top, I was sold.
Anyone who personally knows me will be aware of my hippie tendancies, and anyone who’s been to Valparaiso will know that this town and that creative and care-free attitude go hand in hand. Plastered from corner to corner with street art, Tibetan flags, and numerous oddities made from reused junk yard miscellany, Valparaiso was somewhere that captured me from the beginning. There’s just something about a town covered in street art that makes me feel like part of a community. It’s like you’re breathing in pure creativity, inspired by every line and shape drawn on those walls and really feeling the pulse of a city.
There seemed to be so many different styles of street art here – from Banksy inspired stencil prints, to Van Gogh-esque brush techniqes, to simple sketches that make full on masterpieces. You can actually take street art tours through Valparaiso, which will give you some information on the artists that work there and the stories behind the magic.