How the Streets of Valparaíso, Chile Illuminate its Essence

Harmonious Colors

The colors here seem to complete the harmonious life the people of Valparaíso lead. Every building seems to match the next coincidentally.

The sunlight highlights the beautiful architecture you are able to see from the streets. Locals say they never get sick of the bright colored buildings because they look different at all times of day.

ISA student Eva Hart wears her backpack in front. After all, we are in a city ridden with city slickers.

As you get closer to these colorful structures, you see the livelihood of the people first hand. Renovation isn’t very common in the hills, so it’s easy to see what these buildings have weathered.

ISA student Elliott Jacobsen poses in front a building the color of shirt, an easy task to complete in these streets. Behind him you can see overgrown plants from a resident in the hill, this along with vivid paint is a common sighting in these streets.

It seems to me that everyone here has a similar vision for their street. I’m nearly convinced this neighborhood, in particular, had a mandatory meeting to discuss and coordinate their color choices. Despite my beliefs, these color differences present an opportunity for local artists to make their work with the existing colors of their surroundings. Any open wall, stairway, sidewalk, or elevated edge is fair game! Graffiti is legal, and street art undoubtedly has the support of the people.

While aimlessly scrolling through the beautiful streets, we spotted Casa Cuatro Vientos, and had to pop in. A group of us enjoyed lunch at this nearly cliff hanging hotel restaurant. It had a perfect overlook of the city and you hear street music playing in distance. At most times during the day you’re able to find either solo artists, or full 7 person bands posted outside a beautiful mural jamming for pedestrian tips. I admired all the plant life that this elevated restaurant had; on top of running a restaurant and managing a hotel the employees dedicate additional time to maintain a decent sized garden.

The stark contrast between the white of this boat-shaped building and the sky reminded me the ocean wasn’t far away. You must walk up the slanted streets and look downward at some point you are destined to see the sparkling blue ocean water.

The view down a street directly behind the large mural that reads “sin miedo” (pictured first). I imagine if ever the artist got frustrated, he/she turned around to admire the beauty of the streets, and smell the distant ocean salt.

The people of the streets are worth watching, admiring, and interviewing. The way they live is slow, the way they interact is enchanting, and the way they present their actions is with passion. They are artists who dress funny, and colorfully. Some wear shoes that are nearly falling apart, but they will never take for granted the gratitude they feel to be able to call these colorful streets home.

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