Valparaiso was a really beautiful town, nestled along the hilly coastline much like Wellington. To get to your hostel, you climbed through winding alleyways to greater heights, and better and better views, the area around us filled with street art and small cafes.
I met up with two friends from my time in Florianopolis there, and we reunited over several card games, delicious, albeit unhealthy meals (chorillana, a Chilean fast food, is onions, meat and egg piled on top of a boat load of fries – a bit like a Halal Snack Pack without the sauces) and graffiti tours.
A highlight of my time in Valparaiso was my visit to Neruda’s house there – high up on a hill overlooking the harbour and outfitted with the most eclectic but beautiful furniture. The house is built in several layers, and the tour guides you from the bottom of the house, slowly working your way up until you reach the ultimate level, Neruda’s bedroom, with a brilliant view of oceanic expanse. It was amazing to be able too see the type of person he was – I think you can learn so much about a person through their house. I reckon Neruda was really sociable, if a little odd.
I was also in Florianopolis for the huge Chilean earthquake. I was shocked at how causally people took it there – a 7.1 at home would have been completely destructive – but the old house we were staying in wasn’t damaged at all, although the windows were bending at one point. It was hilarious to be with my two British friends, who were utterly quaking after experiencing nothing so much as a quiver before.