WEDNESDAY: Twenty One Things About Valparaiso

BY SUSAN SIDDELEY

Copyright is held by the author.

Valparaiso lies 120 kilometres North West of Santiago.
It was founded by a lieutenant of Diego de Almagro, the conquistador, in 1536.
When Mum visited Valparaiso, she had photograph taken standing beside a naval officer.
(When she first saw the sailors in their crisp uniforms, I thought she was going to salute.)
Valparaiso is a World Heritage Site because of its painted wooden architecture and creaky
asensores, which struggle up the hills on century old chains.
You need nerves of steel to go up the Reina Victoria and the El Peral.
The view of Valparaiso and the South Pacific from Cerro Alegre is so breath-taking
it makes me cough. Pablo Neruda’s port house, La Sebastiana, is more difficult to reach
than a poem’s soft spot.
I once sailed under the prow of a battleship in the harbour and felt utterly dwarfed.
Fish is always fresh in Valparaiso.
Valpo houses are the bravest in the world. They cling to ravine sides come mudslide, quake or
fire.
In 1972, “Have you got Valparaiso in South America?” was the best call in our family’s
Famous Cities’ card game.
Nothing rhymes with Valparaiso.
Valparaiso is arty, fishy, hilly, sandy, scary, scruffy, windy… and
I love it

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