About 70 miles northwest of Santiago is the coastal city and major sea port, Valparaiso.
The bus ride took us through foothills, farmland, and villages as we headed west to the shores of the Southern Pacific.
When we arrived, we stopped at the first public restroom we found. And yes, you're seeing it correctly. You have to pay before you go.
Also, the Chileans (and Peruvians, for that matter) have a thing about throwing toilet paper into the toilet. There are signs everywhere telling patrons NOT to flush the paper. Instead, each stall has a small waste basket for used paper. Hmmm. Yes.
The city of Valparaiso is, in a word, enchanting. Colorful buildings huddled all along a steep hillside jutting up from the harbor.
A cab dropped us off at the harbor, and then Molly led us into a non-descript alley that had stairs off to one side. She headed up those stairs and we followed.
Up we went. And up some more. Lots of UP.
Along the way, Molly made friends with yet another Chilean cat.
And we loved the idea these folks had about where to safely store their bicycles.
Up a few more flights of stairs and I thought I would die. But then we rounded a corner and were greeted with beautiful views of the colorful hills and harbor.
And yet another sweet stray dog.
I thought, wow, wasn't that a lovely hike?
Oh but no, it was FAR from over. The next thing I knew, we were heading up again. Up streets, up sidewalks, up staircases, up alleyways.
To ease the burden of always going up (uphill, both ways!) we were treated to street art on nearly every other building. Such magnificent colors!
Ah, which way to go..... UP of course!
You can see from the photos, it was a bright, sunny day. The sky was blue, the sun shone brightly, and each house was painted brightly, even flamboyantly. It was a feast for the eyes!
This was a hilarious shot, as a garbage truck arrived when we first started shooting photos... and never left.
UP some more!
Do you believe those colors?!
I told my girls that when I get back to Maine, I want to paint our garage door JUST like this one. Somehow, I don't think it would go over very well in our low-key, rather conservative Maine neighborhood. But why not, right?
One of the city's many parks, all of which overlook the harbor.
At one point when I couldn't hold back the complaints any longer, Molly cheerfully told me that our destination was at the top of THOSE steps. Thankfully, it was a joke. Not everyone laughed. I won't say who.
We finally headed downhill - hurray! Now I could REALLY enjoy the sights without huffy and puffing and trying not to die.
Well, something about them being piano stairs just made them seem a little easier to take. :)
It was a spectacular day that for me, I will remember as my favorite day in Chile. The charming and colorful homes nestled on that steep hill, with winding roads and stairs everywhere... it was magical.
Copyright © 2014 - Paulla Estes