Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Valpo, Where Artists and Dogs Run Free

Valpo is one of the most fascinating cities I've been to.  It's a mix of artists, cafes, hills, street dogs and grit.  When you explore the cerros or hills, you stumble upon European style cafes, boutiques, funky galleries and B&Bs.  Like Santiago, it's not uncommon to have a little four legged tour guide to accompany you on your journey. You can't help but be charmed by the city.

At the same time, there's also an air of danger and many warn to hold onto your purse tightly and don't venture alone up the hills at night - especially as a gringa.  Despite these warnings the heart of the city is in the steep hills.  One of the  most beloved areas is Cerro Alegre - I mean how could you not like a happy hill?  Valpo almost feels like a city of opposites with its mint chip green, smurf blue and cherry red houses nestled among deserted, run down buildings.  Even the dogs, although cute, could use a good bath.

This leads to me to one of the coolest things, in my humble opinion, about Valpo.  In most places graffiti is frowned upon but it's the exact opposite here.  Everywhere you look, there are giant murals with everything imagineable ranging from cute to political.  Here are few that caught my eye and a couple shots around town:

Familia de Owls   
Gato Garage Door
Valpo in Valpo
View from atop a B&B - The owner happened to be from AZ!

View up the hills

My Two Lovely Friends in Cerro Alegre

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